The Old Newarkers

by Charles McGrath

Click on photo to enlarge:

I have mentioned several times that Chief Parroo in the late 1600's lived in Orange Park. I'm certain that he walked the old Indian trail past my house in Vailsburg many times. I believe that when Newark was settled there were only around two thousand Indians in New Jersey. In 1758 the "first" Indian reservation in the United States was established in New Jersey. Around 200 Indians moved to this reservation located in Indian Mills which is in Burlington County. It was a 3,004 acres which is a little bit bigger than South Mountain Reservation in Essex County.

These Indians stayed there until 1801 and then they moved to other States.

In the late 1970's I attended a symposium on the Lenni Lenape Indians at Seton Hall University. I met a very lovely Native American by the name of Nora Thompson Dean. She lived with remnants of her people in Oklahoma. She was a full blooded Lenni Lenape and the last to be fluent in their language. I took the above picture of her more than 25 years ago.

Click here to read a letter that she sent me 20 years ago pertaining to making me a pair of moccasins. She never made me those moccasins because shortly after writing this letter she died.

This Thanksgiving when we enjoy the day with our family let us not forget "The Old Newarkers'

Nora Thompson Dean & The Lenape Language


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