Photographs (left to right): Chipmunk, Rush, New York; William Smith College, Adirondacks, New York; Wall Sunflower, Rush, New York

Wampum Belt Archive



Nanticokes, Conestoga, Shawnee

Govenor Evans


Beauchamp report 1898

Reproduction by Richard D Hamell

April 30, 2020


Original Size:

21 Rows. Length not given - large belt


Length: 32 inches. Width: 10.5 inches. Length w/fringe: 64 inches.


Columns: 189. Rows: 21. Total Beads: 4,008 beads. (includes 39 sets 1/2 beads).


Warp: Deer leather. Weft: Artificial sinew.


The many migrations and general mixing up of tribes makes it exceedingly difficult to describe this period. I have succeeded, in a measure, in untangling the matter east of the Alleghenies, and have made some progress west, but the work goes slow, on account of the scarcity of data. I have ascertain‘ed the exact date at which the Nanticokes became tributary, in 1680.* at which time they were presented with a large wampum belt, 21 rows wide, with three black hands wrought in it (Beauchamp. 1898).


Gallup-Diaz, I. and G, Plank (2019)

The year before, Nanticokes, Conestogas, and Shawnee had journeyed to Philadelphia requesting a meeting with Governor Evens and his officials, Conestoga sachem Andaggyjunguagh laid in front of Evens “a very large Wampum Belt of 21 Rowes,” white with thee black hands. Wampum was also an indispensable sacred object believed to have the power to carry crucial messages to enemies and strangers, to end blood feuds, and to heal pain caused by death. The meaning of this belt, he explained, was that it had been send by the Onondagas as “a pledge of peace” to the Nanticokes, when the Iroquois made them “tributaries.” Fearing eminent danger, the Nanticokes readied their “pledge of peace” before heading to Conestoga. Once in Philadelphia they revealed that they had left an identical belt at Conestoga and were planning to leave this one in Philadelphia thus obligating Pennsylvania to present it to the Five nations when they arrived. The surprised governor convened a meeting of his officials spending considerable time that day and the next trying to figure out “what might be intended by the Indians leaving that Belt” in town. Although Pennsylvania balked, the belt remained in Philadelphia.

Now at the calumet council of 1707, the Nanticoke brought twenty belts of wampum to take to the five Nations, and their uneasiness had not dissipated. Once encouraged by the governor, the Conestoga sachems did an unusual thing. They ordered their interpreter to speak to the Nanticokes in English:

“Your are going to the Oanondagoes; be sure keep on your way; many may tell you several things to fright you, and that they are great men, and you will be killed. Yet keep on your way and believe them not, for you will find the King of the five nations a very great one, and as good a king amongst the Indians.”

The firm, unyielding tone of the interpreter clearly communicated how the Nanticokes should act on their journey north. In the world of Native diplomacy, the Nanticokes were demonstrably trust objects with “wonderful powers” which symbolized peace and provided safety.



Beauchamp, W. M. 1898. Wampum used in council and as currency. The American Antiquanrian. Vol. XX. No.1. , January and February.

Gallup-Diaz, I. and G, Plank. 2019. Quakers and Native Americans. Koninklije Brill Publ.