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daniel nimham

Daniel Nimham

Sachem Daniel Nimham (1726- 1778) was the last sachem of the Wappinger People of the Hudson River Valley.

Most historians suggest Daniel Nimham was born in the Fishkill Creek Region near the Town of Wiccopee New York. It is very possible Daniel learned to speak English from his continental neighbors and may have taken part in the French- Indian War. He was made sachem of the Wappinger People around 1760 following two Nimham sachems before him. Land grabbers had taken tribal ancestral lands in eastern New York during the French-Indian War and relocated many of the native people (the woman and children) to Stockbridge, Mass. while the men were fighting the war. Daniel took the matter to court to reclaim the stolen lands back for his people, and even traveled to England in 1766 to plead his case before King George. Unfortunately his case was dropped when he returned back in the colonies and he soon after volunteered to fight for the continental side during the American Revolution, more than likely assuming that if they fought well in the revolution a new American government would see fit to give back some of their lands. Daniel's son Abraham (1745 - 1778) became the captain of a company of Indian scouts serving with the Continental Army, a confederacy of Mohicans, Wappingers, Munsee and other local tribes. It is noted that Daniel "faithfully served in the army as a soldier at Cambridge...In 1775 ".

Daniel, Abraham and a large group of the Stockbridge Warriors died at the Battle of Kingsbridge in the Bronx, NY on August 31, 1778. The Stockbridge were surrounded by British, Hessian Soldiers and Calvary under the command of Lt. Colonel Simcoe. They were among some of America's first Veterans to pay the ultimate sacrifice for the new nation. Mohican Sachem Hendrick Aupaumut and others of the tribe petitioned the General Court for compensation for the losses at the Bronx Massacre, dated September 22, 1778. "Our young men have been employed in the present War against the common Enemy and many have lately fell in Battle. Their Widows are now left to care of themselves and their children; without help from their Husbands, who at this season of the year provided for their families by hunting. We Indians depend on hunting to cloath ourselves and families. But when we get Skins we know not where to go to trade for Cloathing. We are not able to make any ourselves our Way of living is very different from our English Breathren. And by this We the Subscribers in behalf of our Tribe now earnestly pray you to consider our circumstances, and open your hearts, by providing such way by which we may be inable to procure some coarse cloathing perticularly Blankets."

By the early 1800's many of the local native people from Stockbridge had joined the Oneida Nation in New York, eventually journeying west to Ontario and Wisconsin.

This sculptural tribute to Daniel Nimham symbolizes his duel roll as a dedicated sachem for his people in court and an American Hero on the battlefield. The sculpture depicts Nimham holding deeds in one hand and a musket in the other. This depiction was created in 2004 and shows Nimham in traditional Indian clothing.

It may not be apparent at first glance, however a lot of research has gone into this model throughout the years and Keropian's research continues today with the focus of creating not only a fitting monumental tribute to an American Hero but a historically accurate depiction of this man of which there has been no descriptions or images found. His research has taken him to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, contacting descendants, speaking with historians and researching numerous articles, books and papers. Keropian has said that much of the depiction of Nimham has come to him by pure spiritual inspiration, and the fact that when he purchased his home just down the street from the mountain named after the Sachem it may not have been just a coincidence. The work is currently being enlarged to three-feet in height and will likely be modified to some degree due to current research.

Several towns in the Hudson Valley have voiced their interest in funding a monumental size statue for their town dedicated to this all but forgotten hero.

We welcome your comments and interest in the project, so feel free to contact us. The 10" high statue is available in bonded bronze (cold cast), part of the cost of the statue will go toward the making of a life-size or larger monument to Nimham.

For each sizable donation of $5000 or more toward the monumental statue, you will receive a 10" high Nimham Statue in bronze (hot cast) with a limited edition of 50.

Contact us with questions and to make a donation.

 

Here is a digital rendering of the sculpture at approximately twelve feet as it might appear at the Kent Town Center across from the Lake Carmel Fire Department. Please note that Mr. Keropian also created the Maltese Cross on the Lake Carmel Fire Department.

If you would like to see what the Nimham Monument would look like in your town contact us an we can put together a digital rendering for you.

nimham

Below you will find some more information and research about the project. Keropian explains how he came to create this particular vision of Daniel Nimham.

"When I was asked to come up with a depiction of Nimham who has no known images or description of what he looked like, I started researching the numerous physical descriptions of the Wappinger Indians in the history books. Many describe them as taller than the colonists and British soldiers. In 1766, the London Chronicle describes the Nimham group of four chiefs as tall and strong, one being "six and a half feet without shoes...dressed in the Indian manner". There is nothing specific about Daniel's features, height or hair style. However please note there is mention of their clothing being Indian in nature, so one can assume that at this point Daniel and the Mahican Chiefs were not wearing the linen trousers and shirts witnessed by the Hessian Soldier at the Battle of Kingsbridge in 1778. While researching the height issue, I felt if I could find some physical evidence of this it would aid in my construction of sculptural tribute. This quest eventually led me to a collection of about 15,000 Native American Crania at the Smithsonian Institute in DC, at which I spent a whole day measuring, photographing and comparing these skulls with other native skulls found throughout North America. In conclusion, it was quite evident that the basic crania structures of the natives in the northeast were uniquely different than their brothers in the west and other locations in North America. The crania samples from New Jersey (Delaware / Lanape) were slightly taller and with a more squared - off European frontal structure. The distance between the zygomatic bones for example were not as wide on the New Jersey crania as they were with my example of a skull from South Dakota. The height of the skull would suggest the NJ skeletons would be slightly taller if I use the same human canon of proportions. However this study consisted of only one day of comparing about twelve crania, and I don't assume that all natives in the northeast were taller than their counter parts in the west. But it did show me that it was quite possible that they were in fact taller and their skulls of a slightly different structure.


I also relied on an intuitive and spiritual inspiration to create my likeness of Daniel Nimham, basically keeping a freed mind when creating my depiction. I spent some time researching the genealogy of the Nimham's and contacting the Oneidas in Wisconsin, New York and S. Ontario. I added information about the sculpture project hoping to gather any information, interest and possibly some images of Nimham's descendants, and in July of 2005, I received the following letter from a descendant.

[Shekoli Mr. Keropian

My name is Matt Ireland, I am a member of the Oneida Nation in the Wolf Clan. I am a direct descendant of Daniel Nimham. Apparently, Daniel's son Abraham fathered a child named Henry. Henry was made an Oneida chief in 1804... Dorothy is my father's mother, and my next door neighbour. I've shown your sculpture to her and her sisters as well as a few other descendants of Daniel Nimham. The common theme they all agree on is: " He looks like a Ninham...Especially the nose".

Up until 1902, there was a fellow here named Gustus Ninham [Daniel's great grandson]. He was the father of Zach Ninham. Gus and Zach were noted to be tall men. Zach himself was 6' in his stocking feet. Zach may not have been quite as tall as Gustus, but 'tall' was a word that our family used to describe him.

You may have noticed that the Oneidas don't use the "M" when referring to the Nimham Family. Our language (which was spoken by the majority of our people until about 1965) does not have any phonemics to support the "m" sound. It is possible to add it at the end, but in medial use, it's very difficult. That's likely why we somehow gravitated to the use of the "Ninham" spelling.

So in the end, from my family to you. You've done a great job. Right down to the Oneida style moccasins and broad bow...Again, thank you very much for sharing your work and pictures with us. We are all very curious about how it's coming along, and some would like to be there for the unveiling.

With Kind Regards,

Matt Ireland]

In 2009, Mr. Ireland sent me an image of Zach Ninham. The image bears a striking resemblance to my sculptural depiction of Daniel, and it will guide me toward an even better likeness for the larger sculpture."

Below is an image of the bronze plaque which is mounted on the Wappinger Monument in Putnam County Veteran's Park, Town of Kent, New York.

 

nimham plaque

 

Recent proposal of the Daniel Nimham Statue before the Town of Fishkill, NY

 

 

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