Indian Hannah

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Hannah Freeman
BornCirca 1730
Died1802
Chester County, Pennsylvania
Resting placeCemetery of the Chester County Poorhouse, site of old Embreeville State Hospital
Other namesIndian Hannah
Known forSelling brooms and woven baskets; last Lenape in Chester County, Pennsylvania

Indian Hannah (Mrs. Hannah Freeman) (1730–1802) was supposedly the last of the Lenni-Lenape Indians (or Delawares) in Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA.[1][2][3]

She was born around 1730 in southern Chester County. She moved about the region, at times living in New Jersey, perhaps having a common law Indian husband named Andrew Freeman. She was known throughout the region, wandering with her two dogs Elmun and Putmoe selling brooms and woven baskets. In her later years she lived in the newly constructed Chester County Poorhouse where she died and was the first to be buried in its graveyard.

The declaration that Hannah was "the only person of that description [Lenape] left" in the area was made shortly before her death, when her neighbors committed her into the local poorhouse. It opened up land for acquisition Hannah Freeman had legal claim to without breaking with William Penn's promise "that the lands belonged to her people until the last one had abandoned them." [4]

A road is named after her ("Indian Hannah Road") in Newlin Township, Pennsylvania, and there are two memorial markers for her in Chester County, near Embreeville, Pennsylvania.

Hannah Freeman also preserved a bean traditionally grown by her Lenape people as part of the Three Sisters companion planting technique.[5] The bean is named 'Indian Hannah' in her honor, and is sold by Appalachian Heirloom Plant Farm in Ohio.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Futhey, John Smith & Gilbert Cope (1881). History of Chester County, Pennsylvania: with genealogical and biographical sketches, Volume 1. Philadelphia: F.S.Hickman. p. 423.
  2. ^ Weslager, Clinton Alfred (1953). Red Men on the Brandywine. Hambleton Co. p. 102.
  3. ^ MacElree, Wilmer (1909). Along the western Brandywine. West Chester, PA: F.S.Hickman. pp. 103–110.
  4. ^ Marsh, Dawn (2014). A Lenape Among The Quakers: The Life of Hannah Freeman. Lincoln & London: University of Nebraska Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-8032-4840-3.
  5. ^ Weaver, William Woys. Seed Varieties for Your Native American Garden. Mother Earth News, February/March 2013
  6. ^ "Native American Bean Seed". Appalachian Heirloom Plant Farm.

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