To: The Editor, Nimham Times Nov. 20, 2,000
From: Gil CryingHawk Tarbox
Nimham Mountain Singers
Drums Along The Muh-he-can-ni-tuck

In your last issue of the Nimharn Times I tried to make a point regarding the spelling of Daniel Nimham's name. I tried to make it short and not a history lesson. I guess by not bringing out a few facts left myself open for attacked by the Author, the present day Ninham family, the elders, and the publisher of the book, Ninham The Forgotten Hero.

I would like to say that I do know that the Wappinger Indians were called the people of the Muh-he-con-neok, Ever Flowing. The Wappingers at the time of the arrival of the Boat people encompassed lands of present day Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess County's. Yes, I did have some typo's in my last letter, one being Lieut. Col. Simcoe's name. Ms. Bowman's name was spelled Bownen is a how does it feel typo, for that I apologize.

I understand that the present day name of the Nimham descendants is Ninham and go back more than 3 generations. The thing is we are not talking about 3 generations, we are talking 7 or 8 generations. I also recognize the fact that there were many different ears hearing that very strange tongue of the Mohican people and many different spellings came from this. I also recognize that before the Boat people came to these shores, there was no written language. However we are not talking 391 years past we are talking 240 years of European influence on our people. Many of our people had learned how to read and write, and been convinced to follow the Christian way.

This brings me to Stockbridge Massachusetts. This was established as a Christian town of two tribes of the Housatnice River Indians. The Umpachenee and the Kaunaurneek both of Mohican nation. This was a safe haven for many native peoples in that period of time, even though many native people in Stockbridge would follow the spirit of the keg more than the spirit of the book. This practice would go so far as to make many native people forget the teachings of their elders. They must always respect all living things.) Chief Daniel Nimham and his brother took their family's to Stockbridge in 1756 so he could lead a war party of 400 warriors to the north to fight in the French and Indian war under Sr William Johnson. It was at this time the Wappingers were considered Stockbridge Indians. Before this, Chief Daniel Nimham and his Family's clan lived in peace in their land of the Wiccopee. ( place of nut tree's) at the bend of the Fishkill Creek, in present day Fishkill.

There is a book that consist of many words written from Catharyna Brett's diary. (Catharyna Brett A Portrait of A Colonial Business Woman By Henry Cassidy.) Dutchess County Historical Society. In her words it Tells how she inherited her land from her father, Francis Rombout., some 85,000 Acres. Living on this land on the bend of the Fishkill Creek she talks about an old Indian she called Old Nimham, his son Daniel and the Nimham clan. She talks about her going to the village and her children befriended Daniel's two children, Abraham and David. Madam Brett personally knew the Nimham family for 67 years. Daniel would teach her boys the way of the forest and the Brett children would teach Daniel how to read and write. He him self would write his own name on many documents in the court systems of New York and in Europe. I would have to believe her words over someone else. He later turned on Madam Brett in his quest of getting his peoples land back. .

When word reached Stockbridge Massachusetts, Abraham Nimham was the first of his family to enlist in the Continental army. He was made a Captain and in charge of all the Indians in hisregiment. He was at the siege of Boston for a few days before his father Daniel joined him. Abraham was sent to Canada to talk to the Saint Frances Indians (Caughnawages) to fight with the colonists or stay neutral. They chose the later. Abraham in 1777 went to Philadelphia to address the Continual Congress for blankets and clothing for his people in order for them to survive the winter. The point I am trying to make here is that we should not over look Abrahams contribution in the fight for our liberty . We are all in agreement about Daniel's Heroics at the Battle of Cortlandt's Ridge.

On page 7 of the Nimham times, the block praised the book, The Mohican and their Land, 1609-1730, The author, Shirley W. Dunn, on page 56, quotes a sworn statement by David Nimham, however she apparently transcribes with a different spelling of his name from the book The History of Dutchess County In her later book, The Mohican World 1680-1750, the author quotes the name, Daniel Nimham as the Chief Sachem of the Wappingers. So again this casts a shadow of confusion to the correct spelling of his name.

I have always respected the elders of every nation. They are the teachers of our ways, they keep alive our traditions through stories, I have to say this in this case. They do not walk here among the tall people or the rock people of this land here in Putnam and Dutchess Counties. They no longer work the lands here as I have. They do not go and set in the forests here They no longer do ceremonies here. They do not listen to the voices in the wind. This is the real reason I have started this campaign in the first place. What we all and the present day Ninham family should consider is this. When a school child begins to study the history of this part of the country and they see all the books that Chief Nimham's name is spelled with an M, and all the plaques through out the three counties with his name spelled with an M, and then they read the book by Mrs Bowman's book, Ninham the Forgotten Hero. What are we telling the children!

There are people here in Putnam County that do go into our schools and tell the story of Daniel Nimham, as so does our drum. For the record, we The Nimham Mountain Singers will continue to use the M, the way Daniel Nimham did, and the way the spirits of the wind here in the Wiccopee wish us to.

Gil CryingHawk Tarbox Lead singer of the Nimham Mountain Singers.

cc: The editor of The Nimham Times
Muh-he-con-neew Press


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Wednesday, January 5, 2005