Caption: Meeting the Piscataway depicts the first settlers to explore the interior of Loudoun County in 1699. Painting by William Woodward.
"The Conoy or Piscataway Indians were closely related to the Delaware and Nanticoke tribes. They originally inhabited the Piscataway Creek in Southern Maryland but were forced to move to the Potomac region because of constant attacks by the Susquehannocks. In 1701, they attended a treaty signing with William Penn and moved into Pennsylvania under the protection of the Iroquois nation, becoming members of the "Covenant Chain."
The Covenant Chain was a trade and military alliance between the Iroquois and the non-Iroquoian speaking tribes conquered by the former. The conquered tribes had no vote or direct representation in the Iroquoian Council and all relations with the Europeans were handled by the Iroquois.
In return the Iroquois agreed to protect the members from intertribal warfare. The Canoy settled along the southern Susquehanna River in a region once occupied by the Susquehannock. Once in Pennsylvania, they continued to spread northward and established a town in 1718 at the mouth of the Conoy Creek.
The tribe continued to move and finally settled on an island at the mouth of the Juniata River.
The culture of the Conoy or Piscataway Indians was said to resemble that of the Powhatan Indians of Virginia. They lived in communal houses which consisted of oval wigwams of poles, covered with mats or bark. The women of the tribe made pottery and baskets, while the men made dug-out canoes and carried the bows and arrows.
They grew corn, pumpkins, and tobacco. Their dress consisted of a breech cloth for the men and a short deerskin apron for the women.
The Piscataway were known for their kind, un-warlike disposition and were remembered as being very tall and muscular." ~~From the Pennsylvania Department of State Internet website
Events for the Tribe
1640 Father Andrew White Bapitizes the High Chief and his family
1662 Maryland set aside land as a reservation
Allies with the Maryland colonists in wars against the Susquehannocks 1642-52 / 1664-66 against the Seneca.
1680 Piscataway had to flee to Zachia Swamp because of Senca-Susquehannock raids
1685 the Maryland assembly signed a peace treaty binging an end to the “Indian Wars” in southern Maryland
1697 principal chiefs and tribal members abandoned their villages and moved into the backwoods of Virginia
1704 – 1765 moved North into Pa. And N.Y. under the protection of the Iroquois
1793 appear in records at a tribal council in Detroit
Major Tribal Leaders:
Tayac Kittamaquund “ Big Beaver” or Kittamaquindi – 1640 Bapitized by Father Andrew White
Chief Turkey Tayac and family members work to preserve the Piscataway legacy and culture
Mervin A. Savoy is the Tribal Chairwoman of the Piscataway Conoy of Maryland
“Eastern Woodland American Indian Conference”. The National Park Service. “Tribal Chairwoman Mervin A. Savoy”. www.nps.gov=
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Hopkins, Natalie. “Resurgent Piscataway Tribe Seeks Recognition, Respect”. Washington Post. 10 October 1999, ppM11. www.elibrary.com=
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Knight, Kevin. “Piscataway Indians”. The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. XII. Archives of Maryland. www.newadvent.org=
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“The Conoy”. Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania. www.dep.stat.pa.us=
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The Piscataway Indian Museum. Southern Maryland On-Line. www.somd.com=
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The Piscataway Nation and Tayac Territory. “The legacy of Chief Turkey Tayac”. www.piscatawaynation.org=