Stiles' Notes on the Quinnipiac of East Haven, Derby Indians, and Western Niantic

benáwmakéeh, hobbomaukh,1 “devil”2  East Haven Indian language

James Mawehu (Meēh-yéuh), sachem of the East Haven Indians, died about 1745 at Cheshire.  His son, James Mawehu died at Derby 1758.

Three hundred Indian men in arms assembled in East Haven at a grand Council.  East Haven began to be settled by English in the year of our Lord 1681 and 1682.  Mr. Hemingway began to preach there 1704, formed into a parish 1707 with about and not above twenty-five families.  Ordained.

Eliza Moheage’s wigwam at Niantic, an oval or ellipsis 17 ½ by twelve feet.  Sachems’ wigwams, it is said, used to be double, with two fireplaces and smoke holes atop.

Cataloguing:    497

  • 1. The Quinnipiac of East Haven, Connecticut spoke the Quiripi language. While hobbamock and cheepi and their variants are found in a number of Native southern New England languages, other words for the devil, mamitukku and mattatcashet, appear in Quiripi. Ives Goddard, “Eastern Algonquian Languages,” in Bruce G. Trigger, ed. Handbook of North American Indians: Northeast (Government Printing Office, 1978), 72. Blair A. Rudes, “Resurrecting Wampano (Quiripi) from the Dead: Phonological Preliminaries,” Anthropological Linguistics 39 (Spring 1997)” 29, 38.
  • 2. As Simmons explains, “the principal deity who appeared to humans in visions and dreams was Hobbamock (Abbomacho), know also as Cheepi (Chepi, Chepian), whose name was related to words for death, the deceased, and the cold northeast wind.” Early English chroniclers (John Smith, John Josselyn, William Wood, and Edward Winslow) were quick to make a connection to the devil in Christian tradition and the Western European concept of evil. James Hammond Trumbull, Natick Dictionary (Government Printing Office, 1903), 3, 27. William S. Simmons, Spirit of the New England Tribes: Indian History and Folklore (University Press of New England, 1986), 39.