The Herald Bulletin

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September 5, 2009

In History: Legacy of Chief Anderson

He was born along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania near a river ferry called Anderson’s Ferry, now Marietta, Penn.

His father, a man of Swedish ancestry named John Anderson, operated the ferry. John was known among the Delaware Indians residing in the area as an honest man; one well loved by the Delaware people.

John married the daughter of the great Delaware Chief Netewatwees (Net a wat wees). Unfortunately, history failed to record her name. To this union was born a son, a half-breed, who was given the Delaware name Kikthawenund (Kik tha we nund).

Loosely translated the name means, creaking boughs. His father gave him the English name, William Anderson. The year of his birth was not recorded, but I estimate it to be the mid-1750s.

The Delaware were divided into three sub-tribes or clans called the Unamis, Unalachtgo and Minsi. Each had its own dialect of the Delaware language and was known by an animal name, Turtle, Turkey and Wolf which was the emblematic totem for the clan. William Anderson was a member of the Unalachtgo, or Turkey clan by virtue of his mother’s affiliation.

Chief Anderson’s house

Several moves brought him to the Ohio Territory where in the early 1790’s the Delaware, along with many other tribes, were at war with the United States over settlers moving onto their lands. Peace was finally negotiated with the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. Anderson, who was by then Chief of the Turkey clan, was one of 14 Delaware chiefs whose mark appears on this famous treaty.

Forced by treaty to leave Ohio, Chief Anderson moved to what is now the city of Anderson, Ind. His son, Sarcoxie who was born in 1784, recalled moving to the White River when he was 14 years old, and thus establishing Chief Anderson’s arrival here in 1798.

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