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Stories of New Jersey
The Story Of The Discovery Of Scheyichbi
The Aborigines of New Jersey. (Period, prior to 1600)

By Frank R. Stockton

Originally published in 1896
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

We do not hear that these two great tribes of early Indians interfered with each other; but when the Lenni-Lenape investigated the other side of the Mississippi, they found there still another nation, powerful, numerous, and warlike. These were called the Alligewi, from which we have derived the name Allegheny. At first the latter tribe was inclined to allow the Lenape to pass the river; but after a time, finding that the newcomers were so numerous, they fell upon them and drove them back.

But the Indians at that remote period must have been as doggedly determined to move eastward as are our pioneers to move westward ; and they were not to be stopped by rivers, mountains, or savage enemies. The Lenape were not strong enough to fight the Alligewi by themselves, and so they formed an alliance with the Mengwe; and these two nations together made war upon the Alligewi, and in the course of time overcame them, and drove them entirely from their country.

After years, or perhaps centuries (for there are no definite statements of time in these Indian traditions), the Mengwe and the Lenape, who had been living together in the country of the Alligewi, separated; and the Mengwe emigrated to the lands near the Great Lakes, while the Lenape slowly continued their progress eastward.

They crossed the Alleghanies, and discovered a great river, which they called Susquehanna, and then they moved on until they came to the Delaware. This grand stream pleased them so much, that they gave it a name of honor, and called it the Lenape-wihittuck, or "The River of the Lenape." Then they crossed the river and discovered New Jersey.

Here they found a pleasant climate, plenty of game, and no human inhabitants whatever. They therefore appropriated it as their own, and gave it the name of Scheyichbi; and any one who endeavors to pronounce this name will be likely to feel glad that it was afterwards changed by the white settlers.

Before this first discovery of New Jersey, the Lenni-Lenape had settled themselves in the beautiful and fertile country about the Susquehanna and the west shore of the Delaware, and here established their right to their name, which signifies "original people;" and if their stories are correct, they certainly are the original inhabitants of this region, and they discovered New Jersey from the west, and took rightful possession of it


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