Delaware Water Gap

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The Indian name of this beautiful region, Minisink, “the water is gone,” agrees with the belief of geologists that a lake once existed behind the Blue Ridge, and that it burst its way through the hills at this point. Similar results were produced by a cataclysm on the Connecticut at Mount Holyoke, on the Lehigh at Mauch Chunk, and Runaway Pond, New Hampshire, got its name by a like performance. The aborigines, whatever may be said against them, enjoyed natural beauty, and their habitations were often made in this delightful region, their councils being attended by chief Tamanend, or Tammany, a Delaware, whose wisdom and virtues were such as to raise him to the place of patron saint of America. The notorious Tammany Society of New York is named for him. When this chief became old and feeble his tribe abandoned him in a hut at New Britain, Pennsylvania, and there he tried to kill himself by stabbing, but failing in that, he flung burning leaves over himself, and so perished. He was buried where he died. It was a princess of his tribe that gave the name of Lover’s Leap to a cliff on Mount Tammany, by leaping from it to her death, because her love for a young European was not reciprocated.

There is a silver-mine somewhere on the opposite mountain of Minsi, the knowledge of its location having perished with the death of a recluse, who coined the metal he took from it into valuable though illegal dollars, going townward every winter to squander his earnings. During the Revolution “Oran the Hawk,” a Tory and renegade, was vexatious to the people of Delaware Valley, and a detachment of colonial troops was sent in pursuit of him. They overtook him at the Gap and chased him up the slopes of Tammany, though he checked their progress by rolling stones among them. One rock struck a trooper, crushed him, and bore him down to the base of a cliff, his blood smearing it in his descent. But though he seemed to have eluded his pursuers, Oran was shot in several places during his flight, and when at last he cast himself into a thicket, to rest and get breath, it was never to rise again. His bones, cracked by bullets and gnawed by beasts, were found there when the leaves fell.

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