Chief Tamanend

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I featured a post on the parishes of Louisiana shortly after we moved to Lousiana.   As mentioned in the post parishes are what most states term “counties”.  In researching I was particularly interested in the parish where we live, St. Tammany.  Since all of the parishes I have read about are named after bonafide Christian saints, recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, I questioned the name never having heard of a saint with that name.  What I found was very interesting.


St. Tammany parish is named after Chief Tamanend.  He lived in what is now known as the Philadelphia area and was chief of the  Lenni-Lenape nation.  He and other leaders of this group met with other leaders of the new Pennsylvania colony in the early 1680’s.  William Penn and Chief Tamanend signed several agreements to protect both of their groups and insure peaceful coexistence. The chief is known for having said the settlers and his people would “live in peace as long as the waters run in the rivers and creeks and as long as the stars and moon endure.” These words can be found on the statue of Tamanend that still stands in Philadelphia.

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The chief became a folk legend after his death in 1701.  He became known as “King Tammany”, “Saint Tammany”, and the “Patron Saint of America”.  Tammany societies and festivals sprang up all over the area and spread throughout the land.  Today this man of peace continues to be celebrated.  I don’t think he ever traveled to the parish that bears his name, in fact, I am sure he didn’t.  But I like to think that our area bears the name of a man so important to the beginning of our nation’s history.  A man of peace and a place of peace….it just seems right.

One Response

  1. Judith Says:

    Et cum spiritu tuo…and with your spirit.
    Love your research Melissa.

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