Teedyuscung Biography ~ Delaware

Published on February 8, 2011 by Carol

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Teedyuscung (1700–1763) was known as King of the Delawares. He worked to establish a permanent Lenape (Delaware) home in eastern Pennsylvania in the Lehigh, Susquehanna and Delaware River valleys. Teedyuscung participated in the Treaty of Easton which resulted in the loss of any Lenape claims to all lands in Pennsylvania. Following the treaty the Lenape were forced to live under the control of the Iroquois in the Wyoming Valley near modern day Wilkes-Barre. Teedyuscung was murdered by arsonists on April 19, 1763 as he reportedly lay asleep as his cabin burned around him. This marked the beginning of the end of the Lenape presence in Pennsylvania. Teedyuscung’s son Chief Bull conducted a raid on the Wyoming Valley that was part of a greater Indian uprising that resulted in the Lenape being forced to move west of the Appalachian Mountains by the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

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Early life

Teedyuscung, whose name means “as far as the wood’s edge”, was born circa 1700 near Trenton, New Jersey. He was raised among a group of Lenape who were acculturated to the ways of the colonists by the time he reached adulthood. Teedyuscung and his family wore European-style clothing and used other European goods in their daily lives. Many of them had converted to Christianity and spoke English. Liquor introduced by traders deeply affected the rest of Teedyuscung’s life. The Lenape were driven out of the Trenton area by 1730 and Teedyuscung migrated with his wife and son to a piece of land located near the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers in what is now Northampton County, Pennsylvania.

Leadership of the Lenape

After Teedyuscung moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, he came in contact with fellow Lenape who had not become accustomed to the ways of the colonial settlers. These Lenape still practiced many of the ceremonies and rituals of their ancestors. Teedyuscung became a spokesman for the Lenape who were forced to negotiate with the government of Colonial Pennsylvania.

The Lenape lost most of the Lehigh Valley following the Walking Purchase of 1737. Teedyuscung remained with his fellow Lenape until 1749 or 1750 when joined the Moravian Church at Lehighton. He did not remain with the Moravians for long. His biographer, Anthony Wallace, wrote,
Teedyuscung was of two minds, as far as white people were concerned, and what satisfied one offended the other. He was driven to identify himself with the Europeans by an acute sense of his insecurity and inferiority as a member of the broken Delaware society. But this same anxious sense of shame produced a belligerent, stubborn denial of the authority of the very people he admired.

Teedyuscung left the Moravian settlement in 1754 and settled farther north in the Wyoming Valley.[2] It was while living among other displaced Indians that Teedyuscung would declare himself “King of the Delawares” and assume a vital role in the negotiations between the Natives of Pennsylvania and the colonial government in Philadelphia.

Source: Wikipedia

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