Wampum Sentence Examples
Wampum was employed most in New England, but it was common elsewhere.
Wampum was of two colours, dark purple and white, of cylindrical form, averaging a quarter of an inch in length, and about half that in diameter.
A strand of wampum, consisting of purple and white shell-beads or a belt woven with figures formed by beads of different colours, operated on the principle of associating a particular fact with a particular string or figure, thus giving a serial arrangement to the facts as well as fidelity to the memory.
The term wampum or wampum-peage was apparently applied to the beads only when strung or woven together.
Dark wampum, which was made from a "hard shell" clam (Venus mercenaria), popularly called quahang or quahog, a corruption of the Indian name, was the most valuable.
White wampum was made from the shell of whelks, either from the common whelk (Buccinum undatum), or from that of Pyrula canaliculata and Pyrula carica.
In the trading between whites and Indians, wampum so completely took the place of ordinary coin that its value was fixed by legal enactment, three to a penny and five shillings a fathom.
Connecticut received wampum for taxes in 1637 at four a penny.
Wampum was also used for personal adornment, and belts were made by embroidering wampum upon strips of deerskin.
In 1630 the Dutch West India Company granted the island to Michael Pauw as a part of his patroonship of Pavonia, and it was bought at this time from the Indians for "some duffels, kettles, axes, hoes, wampum, drilling awls, jew's harps, and divers other small wares"; but before Pauw had established a settlement upon it he sold his title back to the company.Advertisement
By the Dutch settlers of New York it was called seawan or zeewand, and roenoke in Virginia, and perhaps farther south, for shell-money was also known in the Carolinas, but whether the roenoke of the Virginian Indians was made from the same species of shell as wampum is not clear.
Thus where six wampum went to the penny, the fathom consisted of 360 beads; but where four made a penny, as under the Massachusetts standard of 1640, then the fathom counted 240.
Wampum also served a mnemonic use as a tribal history or record.
Cylindrical shell-beads similar to the wampum of the Atlantic coast Indians were made to some extent by the Indians of the west coast.
There was no restriction on the manufacture of wampum, and it was made by the whites as well as the Indians.Advertisement
The market was soon flooded with carelessly made and inferior wampum, but it continued to be circulated in the remote districts of New England through the 17th century, and even into the beginning of the 18th.
The animals were decorated with wampum and strangled, and then the sins of the people were transferred to them; then the remains were burned and the ashes gathered up, taken through the village and sprinkled before every house.
They bought practically all of what is now Essex county from the Indians for "fifty double hands of powder, one hundred bars of lead, twenty axes, twenty coats, ten guns, twenty pistols, ten kettles, ten swords, four blankets, four barrels of beer, ten pairs of breeches, fifty knives, twenty horses, eighteen hundred and fifty fathoms of wampum, six ankers of liquor (or something equivalent), and three troopers' coats."
When discovered by Europeans Staten Island was occupied by the Aquehonga Indians, a branch of the Raritans, and several Indian burying-grounds, places where wampum was manufactured, and many Indian relics, including a stone head with human features, have been found here.