Netawatwees

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Netawatwees
Netahutquemaled, Netodwehement, or Netautwhalemund
Lenape chief of the Turtle subtribe leader
Succeeded by White Eyes
Personal details
Born c. 1686
Probably Delaware River valley
Died 1776
Children Son Bemino (John Killbuck Sr.), grandson Gelelemend (John Killbuck Jr.)

Netawatwees (c. 1686–1776) was a Delaware (Lenape) chief of the Unami, or Turtle, subtribe. His name, meaning "skilled advisor," is spelled in a variety of ways in colonial records. Depending on the language of the recorder, it was transliterated as Netawatwees, Netahutquemaled, Netodwehement, and Netautwhalemund. In English, he was known as the Newcomer.

During the French and Indian War, he led his band to present-day Ohio and the confluence of the Tuscarawas River with the Muskingum River, where he was chief of the village Gekelukpechink. Later he moved with the Lenape to the village of Coshocton, a center of their settlement on the Tuscarawas. He signed the Fort Pitt treaty with Continental/United States forces, allying with the rebels and hoping to gain a Native American state in the new nation.

Biography[edit]

Netawatwees was probably born in the lower Delaware River Valley around 1686.[1] He was part of the Unami-speaking Lenape, the southern part of this coastal people whose territory extended to the lower Hudson River, western Long Island, and Connecticut. When he was young, he moved west with his family and tribe to escape encroachment from European-American colonists. In July 1758, he was living in a Delaware Indian settlement at the mouth of Beaver Creek, a tributary of the Ohio River below Pittsburgh. Records identify him as "ye great man of the Unami nation."

Netawatwees moved to Ohio with other migrant Delaware during the French and Indian War (1754–63). He favored alliances with the English in that conflict, which was part of the Seven Years' War between England and France in Europe.[1] He established a village near present-day Cuyahoga Falls.

From there, he moved to the Tuscarawas, a tributary of the Muskingum, where he became chieftain of the Delaware town called Gekelukpechink, meaning "still water." This town, which became known as Newcomer's Town, was on the north bank of the Tuscarawas on the eastern outskirts of present-day Newcomerstown. The Great Council met here until the Delaware population was consolidated at nearby Coshocton.

Although Netawatwees never converted to Christianity, he was influenced by the Moravian missionaries. Infirm in his old age, he was succeeded by White Eyes in 1776. His dying word on October 31, 1776, implored the Delaware to give up their native practices and follow the teachings of the Moravian pastors.

Family[edit]

Netawatwees married and he and his wife had a family together. Their son Bemino (John Killbuck Sr.) became a renowned war leader allied with the French during the French and Indian War. His grandson was Gelelemend (1737–1811), or John Killbuck Jr., a Delaware chief active during the American Revolutionary War.

References[edit]