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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Meet the American who was revered as the 'patron saint' until he was canceled: Lenni Lenape chief Tammany

The founding of the United States was shaped by inspirational figures authoring remarkable tales long since forgotten — or since erased. 

Tamanend is one of them.

More commonly called King Tammany, or Saint Tammany, he was a 17th-century Lenni Lenape (Delaware) chief who found a friend in ally in English Quaker William Penn — who settled the region in 1682. 


“Tamanend … played a prominent role in the establishment of peaceful relations among the Native American tribes and the English settlers who established Pennsylvania,” reports DelawareTribe.org, the official website of the Delaware tribe of Indians.

“This is King Tammany’s Day … The People here have sainted him and keep his day.” — John Adams

“It was as important a day as the Fourth of July,” wrote Nichols. 

Penn and Tamanend

British statesman William Penn (1644-1718) (in dark coat) accepts a belt from Tamanend (1628-1698), chief of the Lenni-Lenape Indians, as part of the treaty in which Penn purchased a section of land for the Pennsylvania Colony, Kensington, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1682. (Stock Montage/Getty Images)

“While the army held its celebrations on May 12, one Philadelphia Tammany society, at least, celebrated on May 1.”

The “men spent the day in mirth and jollity … in honor of King Tammany,” an aide to George Washington wrote from Valley Forge in May 1778. 

Valley Forge

George Washington meets with Marquis Lafayette at Valley Forge, winter 1777-78. After the brutal winter of death, disease and hunger, Washington’s men at Valley Forge joyously celebrated King Tammany Day in May 1778.  (Painting by Alonzo Chappel/Getty Images)

The first original American opera, “Tammany: the Indian Chief,” was performed at John Street Theater in Manhattan in 1794. 

Tammany appears in James Fenimore Cooper’s classic 1826 American novel, “The Last of the Mohicans.”

“Soon other troops caught the zeal for Saint Tamanend until at last the whole American army had adopted the chief as its patron saint.”

Another Tammany statue enjoys a place of prestige across from Philadelphia City Hall — the edifice itself topped by the image of Tamanend’s English brother Penn.

Tammany also serves as a silent sentinel to the heroes of Gettysburg. 

Gettysburg Monument

The 42 New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment was commonly known as The Tammany Regiment, in honor of the Lenni Lenape chief who helped inspire the birth of the new nation. Tammany’s image adorns the battlefield monument at Gettysburg, where the 42nd New York Volunteers fought bravely during the Civil War. (Library of Congress/public domain)

New York’s 42nd Volunteer Infantry Regiment — the Tammany Regiment — fought heroically on the infamous Pennsylvania battlefield upon which the course of American history turned.

“This institution shall be called and known by the name of ‘Tammany Society, or Columbian Order,’” reads one Tammany Society Constitution of 1790.

“It shall connect in the indissoluble bonds of Patriots Friendship, American Brethren of known attachment to the Political Rights of Human Nature, and the Liberties of this Country.”

Yes, Tammany, like Columbia in an earlier United States, was viewed as a personification of the ideal of human liberty.


It was through James Gaffney, a Democrat operative from Tammany Hall in New York City, that the image of King Tammany entered American professional sports. 

He purchased the Boston Rustlers of the baseball’s National League in 1912. 

The Atlanta Braves, bowing to pressure from a nation that had forgotten its history, removed the image inspired by King Tammany from their uniforms in 1989. 

The Patron Saint of America had become the victim of cancel culture for the first time. But not the last time.

Under attack in later years 

Businessman George Preston Marshall brought the National Football League to Boston in 1932. 

But Marshall’s deal at Braves Field lasted only one year. He moved the team to nearby Fenway Park the following year — home of the American League Boston Red Sox

The Braves team needed a new name. Boston Red Sox. Boston Redskins. It was simple as that. 

The new name honored tradition, history and patriotism — and was consistent with his existing red color scheme, while paying tribute to the host organization. 

The Boston Redskins played at the home of the Boston Red Sox from 1933 to 1936. Marshall moved the franchise to Washington D.C. in 1937. The name Redskins and the proud Tammany logo went with him. 

Marshall died in 1969. The team freshened its logo in 1971. 

The new version was designed by Blackfeet native Walter “Blackie” Wetzel — with input and approval from Native American groups. 

The Redskins bowed to pressure from a public that no longer cared about or knew about the nation’s rich multicultural heritage. 

The organization ditched the proud image inspired by King Tammany.

The team that took the field for nearly 80 years in celebration of the Patron Saint of America was renamed the generic Washington Commanders in 2022.

Marshall, dead and unable to defend himself, was labeled a racist in the process to rewrite history. 

Indigenous people were only victims and Europeans were only rapacious invaders in this new version of history, crafted most notably by influential Marxist historian Howard Zinn. 

His simplistic narrative has since been popularized and proselytized by zealots in academia.

“Zinn falsified the history of natives,” Mary Grabar, the author of “Debunking Howard Zinn,” told Fox News Digital.


“He was a fiction writer, not a historian,” said Grabar, a fellow with the Alexander Hamilton Institute in Clinton, New York. 

Zinn does not mention Tammany in his influential 1980 attack on American history, “The People’s History of the United States.” 

The real historical narrative of King Tammany appears too complex and nuanced to fit the modern cancel-culture narrative.

King Tammany and NFL logo

King Tammany, left, as he appears in an early 19th-century portrait by Fritz Bade in the 1938 book, “The Tammany Legend” by Joseph White Norwood. On right, logo of the former Washington Redskins, now the Washington Commanders, of the NFL. The Redskins imagery and logo were originally inspired by King Tammany in the 1930s.  (Public Domain/Getty Images)

In reality, a Lenni Lenape chief shaped 200 years of American history — and was celebrated as the Patron Saint of the new nation.

King Tammany has since been forgotten at best, purposely erased at worst. 

“The American ideals of human right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ spring chiefly from original American sources and were developed on American soil for untold centuries before Europeans arrived on this continent,” historian and biographer of early Americans Joseph White Norwood wrote in his 1938 book “The Tammany Legend.”


“These ideals are therefore so distinctively native to the soil that they should be known as the first Americans knew them, by a name that completely symbolizes them. This name is Tamanend.”

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