Monday, January 1, 1996

The Mantas Tribe of the Lenape

When Europeans arrived in what is now Burlington in the 1600's, they found the area inhabited by the Mantas, or "Leaping Frogs," tribe of the Lenape. The tribe referred to the riverfront land where the City now stands as "Techichohocki," or "Oldest planted land."

During the years that the European presence was limited to a trading post on Burlington Island, relations were sometimes strained, but in 1676, the West Jersey Proprietors negotiated with the Mantas and other nearby Lenape tribes to formally purchase the land where Burlington City stands and the surrounding area.

Ockanickon, Chief of the Mantas at the time, befriended the Quakers who arrived the next year, and was frequently involved in their discussions and councils. His participation was doubtless helpful in ensuring that relations between the tribe and the English settlers remained pleasant.

Ockanickon died in 1681, and though he never converted to Quakerism, is buried near a huge sycamore just behind the Burlington Meeting House on High Street. A boulder near the tree bears his mark, and a metal plate with his last words: "Be plain and fair to all, both Indian and Christian, as I have been."
Related reading:
The Lenape Indians
ISBN 079101665X - Amazon
The Lenape or Delaware Indians
ISBN 0935137017 - Amazon
William Penn's Own Account of the Lenni Lenape or Delawre Indians
ISBN 0912608137 - Amazon

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