Recently Discovered Heritage


I recently found out that I am a descendant of Catoneras and Cornelius Jensen Van Texel (Van Tassel). I was curious to know if you possibly had any other information or reference material that could help me more accurately pinpoint that part of the lineage. I recently contacted Marilyn Maxfield King who is a descendant of Wyandanch and there are many conflicting stories and many do not even associate Catoneras with Wyandanch stating he was too old to father her etc. and that she was not associated with the Montaukett but rather the Matinecock. I would really like to know my Native American roots as would my brother who is the expert on the Van Tassel history and has it traced back to 1620.

I was adopted as a baby and recently discovered my actual lineage so this is very exciting to me. This is not an attempt to pursue for personal gain or celebrity of any kind. This is wonderful history and I am so glad I am part of it. If you have any information I would appreciate hearing from you my home email is .

Thank you so much for your time.


About Jerry

Currently a Security Professional, retired US Navy, and former Police Officer. Married with three children. Currently living in Florida but wish I was back up north. Adopted as a baby but have recently located my birth mother and found out that I have a brother, who is also the family historian. Through several conversations with him he has verified our lineage back to the 1620's and that I am a decendant of Cantoneras and Cornielius Van (Texel)Tassel and I am very anxious to verify my lineage with the Montauk Tribe. Very angry to read of all the controversy surrounding the rightful claims of the Montauk. If someone could contact me about verification requirements, I would be honored to be counted among the current proud Montauk Tribe.
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156 Responses to Recently Discovered Heritage

  1. admin says:

    There are many references to Catoneras being the daughter of Wyandanch. Some historical records refer to Wyandanch as only having one daughter, Quashawam, who became Grand Sachem of the Montauk after Wyandanch’s death. The Easthampton Library has a document dated in 1663 Quashawam Treaty. This treaty, negotiated between the Montauk and Shinnecock, and overseen by the Easthamptoners is signed by Quashawam, Grand Sachem of the Montauk. Therefore, the big question: Was Wyandanch’s daughter, Quashawam, the Grand Sachem living in Montauk or Catoneras, married to Cornelius Jensen Van Texel, living on Eaton’s Neck?

    Van Tassel/Van Texel geneaology sites all identify Catoneras as the daughter of Wyandanch. For example:
    Catoneras, the daughter of Wyandance and his wife married Cornelius Jensen VAN TEXEL abt.1624. Catoneras claimed the ownership of that portion of Long Island, situated along the North Shore, or sound, abt. Eatons Neck in Suffolk County. She died shortly after her father in 1659 or 1660.

    Adding to the controversy is the ownership of Eatons Neck itself. The book, Faded Laurels, The History of Eaton’s Neck and Asharoken by Edward A. E. Carr, describes the history of Eaton’s Neck from 1639 through 1720. *download it here* It describes the purchase of Eaton’s Neck from Raseokan, Sagamore of the Matinnecock. It never mentions Catoneras, or Dutch ownership of Eaton’s Neck.

    Some books claim that Wyandanch granted the land from Huntington east to Smithtown to Lion Gardiner as a gift for “rescuing” his kidnapped daughter. For example, in the book, Historic sketches of the Romer, Van Tassel and allied families, and tales of the neutral Ground John Lockwood Romer, 1917, he writes, “…Wyandance died in 1659, leaving a wife, Wuch-i-kit-tau-but and two children, one son named Weon-com-bone and a daughter Catoneras, wife of Jan Cornelius Van Texsel. It was that daughter that Lion Gardiner had ransomed from captivity…”

    During this era the English were consolidating their seizures of Long Island territories and steering Long Island “history” as they saw fit. The “story” of Lion Gardiner obtaining all that land from a “grateful” Wyandanch are one of those subjects that the Matouwac Research Center will be investigating in depth.

    In summary, since some historic records indicate that Wyandanch only had two children, a son and a daughter, what must be determined is was that daughter, Catoneras, who lived on Eaton’s neck and was kidnapped and later ransomed, or was she Quashawam who inherited leadership of the Montauks after Wyandanch’s death? Is Catoneras and Quashawam the same person? Or, did Wyandanch actually have two daughters, Quashawan AND Catoneras. Obviously, Catoneras and the Van Texel lineage is an interesting and somewhat controversial subject that is worthy of research and debate. This website welcomes some more opinions on this subject.

  2. Jerry Sipes says:

    I too have found many conflicting stories regarding Cateronas. One of the most recent connection possibilities for her to the Montaukett Nation is that she may actually be the daughter of Wyandanch’s brother, Poggacut(sp?). This is simply because Catoneras is being shown in some documentation that she is actually older (born in the early 1600′s) than Wyandanch (born in the early 1620′s) which would most definitely cause a conflict as it would be difficult to father a child before you were born…lol. A connection to Poggacut would still make the connection to the Montaukett although I was not given a date of birth for Poggacut or much other information him at all. Unfortunately the documentation that my brother has is that of the Van Texel’s (Van Tassel’s) only and I doubt would reflect much of the Montaukett heritage except going forward from the marriage to Catoneras. But I do know through conversations with my brother that Cornelius Van Texel is my 9th great-grandfather which would make Catoneras my 9th great-grandmother. I would also like to see some further documentation as well. I have been in touch with through the website with the geneaologist, which is where I got the possibility that Catoneras was possibly the daugher of Poggacut. The other strong possibility is that she was in fact Matinecock, but it was indicated to me that all of the neighboring tribes were interrelated during that timeframe anyway. The general concensus from what I am seeing is that whatever the connection is, the Montaukett Tribe’s opinion at this time is to acknowledge Catoneras as Montaukett. Is there any documentation that has been seen or is known of that would infact more accurately link her with the Matinecock? If so, I haven’t seen really anything to that effect. One other thing of note, how were births out of wedlock viewed at the time? Could one have fathered a child in the same tribe or a neighboring tribe and because of the implications involved have been documented differently or not at all? I dont want to seem disrespectful or cause any argument over the possibility but it could be a reason for some of the gaps of information other than information lost over the time from then to present. After all, 400 years is alot to keep up on.

  3. John Rogers says:

    I’m another of the numerous descendants of Catoneras and Cornelius Jensen Van Texel. While searching for more information I ran across the following article, which may also be of interest to you:

    Best wishes,

    John Rogers

    • admin says:

      John, thanks for this very informative contribution to the Catoneras debate. This article will certainly be added to the reference section on the Matouwac Research Center website. As you may know, it is our contention that much of the history written by colonials in reference to Long Island’s indigenous people were “his” story – and as such, many claims – especially those by the Gardiners – deserve a new scrutiny from a different perspective. The kidnapping by the Naragansett of one of Wyandanch’s daughters is one of those stories that could have been fabricated to support the political motives of the colonials. The Naragansett were certainly considered a “thorn in the side” of Lion Gardiner – and as such, we suspect he would not have anything positive to say about them. His famous report about the plot by the Naragansett Sachem to attack and destroy the Easthamptoners, which was “foiled” by a loyal Wyandanch, is another of these Gardiner reports that deserves re-investigation.

      However, whether the ‘kidnap’ story was true or not, there is no reason to doubt the existence of Catoneras, or the fact that she had children sired by Cornelis Van Tassel. Even if she was not in fact a daughter of Wyandanch, in all likelihood she would have been related to the Montaukett, sine the bloodlines of Long Island natives, especially the offspring of Sachems, were highly inter-mixed at that time.

  4. mike hine says:

    thank you for finding my bloodline to catoneras to be satisfactory its the first time in 63 years of life that i feel i really belong here! you new montaukett brother michael r. hine jr

  5. Dale "White Thunder Brow says:

    I have recently been added to the Montaukett Tribal roll, and I am looking to meet more Montaukett people. I am deeply involved in Indian Culture and Spirituality, and have been for most of my life. I grew up, and currently live in Saskatchewan Canada, so I have practiced Plains Cree Culture. I would like to see the Culture of “OUR” Nation, the Montaukett revived. I am a Northern Traditional Dancer as well as drummer/singer. I am on Facebook, as “Whitethunder Montauk” and my email address for Facebook (only) is . My regular email address is I am also on skype. I would like to get to know as many Montaukett as possible, so please feel free to add me on Facebook, or send me an email. Hope to meet you all soon.

    Dale “White Thunder” Brown

  6. Denise Hoffman says:

    I am also a decedent of the Catoneras and Cornelius Jensen Van Tassel lineage. I have been trying for years to verify a connection to Wyandanch because the dates never seemed to match up. I would be very grateful if any of you could forward me any new information on the subject.

  7. Jerry Sipes says:

    Aho! The great quest for my Grandmother Catoneras continues for me . My curiosity still abounds on Catoneras possibly being “Heather Flower” and the actual daughter of Wyandance and Wuchikittaubut. I contiued my research some of the articles and references mentioned above that refer to Wyandanch as only having one Daughter and one Son. It is pretty much a given that Quashawam, became Grand Sachem of the Montauk after Wyandanch’s death which seems to be validated by the Quashawam Treaty negotiated between the Montaukett and Shinnecock. Which would make Quashawam “Heather Flower.”

    So my further quest has taken me to the next question in my mind that, Is there also a possibility that Catoneras could have used two different names and was that a common practice to use multiple names? Or, the theory that Wyandance had two daughters and no son and this would make sense because to my knowledge Catoneras was only loosely recognized as a Sachem by the Colonials. The sense that I get and please correct me if I am wrong, is that the references I am hearing about Catoneras is more like that of a Princess, which could mean in the “Royal Family” sense she would have been second in line to Quashawam (Heather Flower). Also, on the other subject of a son, is there any merit to the theory that historically royal lineages around the world may have required that the Chief, King, etc. (in this case, Wyandance) must have a son and therefore Wyandance may have had Catoneras’ birth recorded as a son in order to preserve the order of things, or am I miles off on this point?

    Still looking for answers. Will be seing my brother in a few weeks to clear up my Montaukett connection and get it in print so I can officially joing the Montaukett Tribal Roll. Cannot wait to attend my first Tribal Function. If there is anything I can do to assist lost native spirits to find thier way home. Shoot me an email. Will be more than glad to help. Would also like some guidance of finding tribal surnames possibly in my area to reach out to to see if they have any connections to the Long Island area and help them find their way as well. There is strength in numbers and strength in unity. We will succeed.

    • admin says:

      Hakame Jerry

      Catoneras is a controversial issue because the primary references come only from Van Tassel family-published sources. If you have any independent confirmation of her existence, please share it with us. As you’ve correctly pointed out, Wyandanch did have a daughter named Quashawam who became Sachem after his death. Wyandanch did have a son named Wiancombone. Quashawam may indeed be “Heather Flower” as the Algonquian word kpipskwáhsawe, “flower of the woods” is very similar. The Montaukett historian/author Donna Barron wrote a book, Long Island Indians and their New England Ancestors where she references Catoneras as being the daughter of the Mattinecock Sachem Asharoken. This might make more sense considering Catoneras supposedly came from the Eaton’s Neck area of Huntington. However, the modern Montaukett don’t necessarily recognize the “colonial” artificial divisions of aboriginal Long Islanders into the so-called “thirteen tribes.” Therefore, Catoneras, coming from Matouwac territory, would be considered a tribal member. In any case, please fill out an application form for tribal membership (you will receive the form by email). The tribal Genealogical Advisor has already approved memberships based on Catoneras descent.

      • Jerry Sipes says:

        Another twist. After recenlty meeting with my brother I have copies of the lineage that will allow me entrance into the tribal role which I am really ecited about. There was also a statement (albeit colonial in nature) that Catoneras only became known as Catoneras after her marriage into the Van Texel lineage. Is it possible that she took/used a different name after being married? Not sure if it was common for our ancestors to change names like that. Also thank you for the reference material for the Donna Barron book. I will definitely track that down and have a look.

        • maureen cunningham says:

          Just obtained and read the Donna Baron book. Lot of great information only adding to the Catoneras mystery. I too am related through the Van Texel(or Van Tassels). Have found the name Wuchikittawbut associated with Catoneras. In the same article it said that she my be from the Matinecock tribe and be the daughter of one of their sachems. The mystery continues.

          • admin says:

            Maureen “The Mystery Continues” is a very apt commentary. Unfortunately, the real “truth” of Long Island indigenous history has yet to be told. Who Catoneras actually was – is one of those mysteries we are keenly interested in.

        • debradee says:

          I read somewhere that Cantoneras was the Spanish name given to her when she was baptized in Spain so her marriage could be recognized as legitimate to Cornelius.

          • Jerome Sipes says:

            I have never heard that Catoneras travelled outside the country. Where is that documented? I would be interested in reading about that for sure.


      • Niki Prysock says:

        Can I really apply to be part of the tribe as a 9th great-grand daughter? Wow, that would be great! I’ve always felt drawn to the native american culture and was so thrilled to find I had an ancester with that heritage. I see that this thread it quite old, I hope I hear back from you with the form for application. Thanks Hakame Jerry

        • Jerry says:

          Hi Niki, Your lineage will in fact allow you entrance into the tribal roles. The best bet is to gather all your documentation, lineage, birth certificates, etc in advance. When you have the documentation you can visit and there is a request form that you can fill out and an application etc will be sent to you. Make copies of everything you have (do not send originals) fill out the application form and send it off to the Matouac Research Center and it will be evaluated. I would not send a fee until you receive confirmtion that your documentation is satisfactory, but that would be up to you. You will also need a passport style photograph to send with the application for your membership card. Be as complete in your documentation as possible. I know I sent way too much, but better too much than not enough. I included all family records, information from the database of the Mormon Church which is a good resource and the old Sleepy Hollow Church records as well. Since the tribal Geneaologist has seen these records many, many times I am sure, it would help if you would hilite or outline your specific lineage on a seperate document for ease of viewing. You can also reach out on Facebook for assistance as well, we have a Montaukett Facebook Page that you can become a member of and there will be several people available to help you in your endeavors. I know it well well worth it for me.


  8. Jerry Sipes says:

    Hakame! I think the most important thing to remember is that the lineage is being recognized by the Montaukett people and that Catoneras did play a role in the Montaukett history. The only thing in question as I have discussed here is that fact of who her father was, the thing that is not been disputed is that fact that she was native american and part of the indiginous tribes of Long Island. I guess the bottom line for me is that whether you are Montaukett, Matinecock, or Shinnecock, we are all family and that is the most important piece. I have chosen to align with the Montaukett Tribe largely because the members I have spoken to are very accepting and tend to take you at face value. Also the fact that the Montaukett are merely seeking validation as a people and the return of native land and not just seeking the money, as some have indicated in various articles, that would result from a casino is a very honorable undertaking that I would be proud to assist with in anyway possible. I cannot wait for the application process to be over so that I may officially call myself Montaukett. Will be sending this week.

  9. NEAL PAYNE says:

    i recently (yesterday ) found that i too am a descendent of Catoneras. Now I know why my sister and certain cousins look to be Native American , and some of us look to be Dutch.We have heard of connections from relatives since passed, and thought it was a Seneca connection ,being from western , New York. Now it all makes sense. If you can shed some light on how to be added to tribal role and other information I would appreciate it. We are having a family reunion in late August.

    • Jerry Sipes says:

      Hakame Neal

      Welcome to the site and welcome to the great debate. I have information I could send you albeit specific to my research if you have an email you could post. There are a few others you could also reach out to as well, some are on this thread Dale “Whitethunder Montauk” Brown is a good source of information. Of course the site admin’s are great. If you have facebook you can also join a couple of Montaukett related pages that can help you on your way as well. Once you can show lineage etc it is a process of filling out an application paying the fee and submitting it to the research center, the geneaologist, and Chief Pharaoh for approval.

  10. Sonia Brown says:

    Wow. I have only recently begun looking into family ancestry on the Van Tassel side and had no idea it would lead me to this page! I am fascinated. I believe Catoneras would have been my 8th great grandmother. I look forward to sharing this with my sisters and doing some more research.

  11. mike hine says:

    if catoneras was not a montauk indian than why is she burried in the montauk indian burial grounds?

    • admin says:

      Hakame NightEagle

      I assume you found this information on Although we know Nelson Carey very well, his reference to who is actually buried in the Montauk Cemetary at Indian Field (see the photo on his website) is not exactly “well researched.” For example, Catoneras supposedly died in 1660, The Montaukett graves at Indian Field indicate individual burials with headstones in the Christian manner. Such burials were not the Algonquian way and did not occur for the Montaukett people until well into the colonial occupation and after their conversion to Christian ways by Mohegan Samson Occum – at least 75 years after the death of Cantoneras. Actually, the only really identifiable gravestone left at that site is Chief Pharaoh’s great grand-uncle Stephen “Talkhouse” Pharaoh who was buried there in 1879 – ironically the same year the territory was stolen.

      • mike nighteagle hine says:

        iam not trying to be smart but in the same token you dont know that for shure and niether one of us can prove it any differant! me for example would rather believe that she is burried there so i may honor her for she was my 11th great grandmother! other wise she must have vanished into thin air!

        • admin says:

          The burial sites of probably 99% of all Montaukett ancestors who died in early colonial times haven’t been located or identified. This doesn’t mean that we can’t honor them. As a matter of fact, we know of several locations where Montauketts are buried that have not even been documented. Many were buried in East Hampton at a place called Pantigo between 1650 – 1750. A 1917 excavation confirmed this. However, the occupants of these graves were not identified, since these were not “Christian” burials (headstones, etc.). If you want to believe that Cantoneras is buried at the Indian Field grave site that didn’t even exist during her lifetime, that’s up to you. We, on the other hand, are on a quest to correct the history of Long Island’s indigenous inhabitants. To do this, we must not look at our history entirely through a colonial lens. To accomplish this, we will question all documents about Long Island natives penned by the European colonizers, especially the Memoirs of Lion (Lyin’) Gardiner, which is the root source of much of Long Island’s early colonial history. One example relating to Cantoneras, is his story of Heather Flower, an Indian princess. being captured by the evil Naragansett, then rescued by the heroic Lion Gardiner, who then accepts a gift of thousands of acres of Long Island territory from a grateful Chief Wyandanch. This sounds good by European “fairy story” standards. There are many such stories about gallant heroes rescuing captured princesses and receiving treasures from a grateful king. However, this is not consistent with the ways of Northeast Woodland people who didn’t even have a concept of “land ownership.” This, and other “fairy” stories have been the “accepted” truth for hundreds of years and no-one thought to question them before. We are questioning them now.

          • mike nighteagle hine says:

            just curious where did the remains of our ancestors go after they were desecrated!

          • admin says:

            This is a great question. The Natural History Museum of New York held Montaukett remains and artifacts for many years. They returned them in the 1990′s and they were subsequently re-buried ceremoniously at Fort Hill on Montauk Point.

          • mike nighteagle hine says:

            well iam not sure but i feel that this entire statement is a attack on my intelligence as a montauk!

  12. mike hine says:

    why remove my reply just because you dont agree with it! that is not unity!

    • admin says:

      This website is hosted as a resource for Montaukett members to sound off about any topic that interests them. Therefore, no comment from a Montaukett member will ever be removed from this site – regardless of whether that comment is agreed to or not as long as it is not obscene or used as a personal attack, etc. I’m not sure which comment you are referring to – but there are no deleted comments posted by you on this server.

  13. Jerry Sipes says:

    Hakame! I am not meaning any disrespect to the lineage of Catoneras by saying that she is not Montaukett. It’s just that the only accounts of her being Montaukett are and the daughter of Wyandanch are almost always contained in Colonial accounts and documentation. There could be several scenarios as to how she came into contact with the Montaukett Tribe. There is direct correlation as the administrators have pointed out of her being from the Eaton’s Neck area which would put her in Matinecock Territory. I am also saying she is not directly connected with the Montaukett Tribe either. As it has been explained to me on different occasions that all indiginous tribes of that area shared the same blood lines and were interrelated and that the native american people did not recognize the so called ‘divison’ of tribes imposed by the colonials. Which tells me that we all share in this wonderful heritage and are welcomed as family regardless of a label of Montaukett, Shinnecock, or Matinecock. What has not been disputed is that Catoneras is part of that heritage, and I am proud to be part of her legacy.

    • mike nighteagle hine says:

      then how did i get admitance into the tribe and if you disprove this then do i get thrown out with it?

      • mike nighteagle hine says:

        supposedly- reportedly-there could be- all these words are is speculation!

        • admin says:

          That’s funny. History by its definition is speculation. No-one can really say for certain what happened on Long Island over the last 400 years. However, there are things that can be taken for granted. One is that Indians were not given Christian burials in the 1660′s. Hence, there were no headstones that identified exactly who was in a particular grave. So websites claiming to be able to identify graves from that period are definitely speculating. Another factor is Huntington, where Cantoneras was born was over 70 Miles from Montauk Point – not a big deal today – but a huge travel in the 1600′s. There is no record of Cantoneras ever living in East Hampton or Montauk Point, so we will have to speculate as to how she managed to be buried there.

          • mike nighteagle hine says:

            no its called ********* i think we need to go back to our roots and ask grandfather for guidence instead of thinking like a colonial!

          • mike nighteagle hine says:

            also i dont know even who iam talking to but from the bottom of my heart i send many blessings to you and our great nation of montaukett indians!

          • admin says:

            You are talking to the moderator of this website. Mike it seems like you are taking things to heart and coming to some erroneous conclusions. Let me try to clarify the nation’s position regarding Cantoneras descendants, We accept applications from Van Tassel descendants – and we have been very liberal in dealing with the genealogies submitted. However, when you claim to be a direct descendant of Wyandanch (as Chief Pharaoh is) you are claiming to be part of the Royal lineage of the Montaukett. I hope you can appreciate that the genealogical threshold to establish the position of being a Montaukett royal family member is much higher that what is required for general membership. At this point, no Van Tassel-based applicant has provided definitive proof that Wyandanch is in fact the father of Cantoneras. We have conducted extensive independent research and found that this reference originated from one Van Tassel family document published in 1911 and of course the various Van tassel genealogy websites. However, we cannot find any official records (e.g. from the Town of East Hampton or the town of Huntington) that confirms that Wyandanch had more than one daughter. Her name was Quashawam (which coincidentally can be translated loosely as Heather Flower). She lived in Montauk Point and ascended to Grand Sachem after Wyandanch’s death. There are plenty of records including signed treaties that prove Quashawam’s existence. We have not found any independent documents that prove Cantonera’s existence. If you have such documents you can cite them here. This thread is a search for such answers. We have found references that state Cantoneras was in fact the daughter of Asharoken who was a Mattinecock Sachem. This is compelling because Eaton’s Neck, where Cantoneras was supposed to be born, is well within Mattinecock territory. If we were sticklers, we would disallow Van Tassel membership because of their Mattinecock (not Montaukett) heritage. However, we decided that since Montaukett Sachems were historically grand Sachem of all Long Island Indians, our rolls should reflect this. There are in fact currently many members of Mattinicock descent holding Montaukett cards. I hope you are not offended by the degree explicitness. We are very serious about Montaukett/Matouwac history and welcome all who want to contribute to expanding our common knowledge.

      • admin says:


        No one has questioned the existence of Cantoneras. There is no real proof that she was actually a daughter of Wyandanch, but this does not disqualify or negate her Long Island native heritage or subsequently the legitimacy of your lineage. Van Tassel descendants are welcome to join the nation, because they are descendants of a Long Island Native who was part of the Montaukett/Matouwac nation. This was explained in an earlier post within this thread, and Jerry Sipes also reierated it.

        • mike nighteagle hine says:

          has jerry been given his tribal membership if so welcome brother!

          • admin says:

            We are still waiting for Jerry’s application. I’m not sure what he’s doing about this.

          • mike nighteagle hine says:

            you also stated that this site was for tribal members to sound off! just where does jerry fit in!

          • admin says:

            This blog site is provided as a resource for Montaukett members to sound off, but that doesn’t mean participation is restricted to members only. All participants interested in the Montaukett are welcome. BTW, Jerry will receive his card as soon as he submits his paperwork.

        • Jerry Sipes says:

          Apparently by the email I received from the admin my paperwork is lost in the black hole of the US Postal Service. Either that or I forgot somthing on the address. Fortunately the money order I sent will be hard to cash so I shouldn’t loose any money. I will get new copies and send it soon.

          • admin says:

            Jerry, we did another search and cannot find your application. Please send your information to: Matouwac Research Center, P.O. Box 454, Brightwaters, NY 11718.

        • Jerry Sipes says:

          Where I fit in is exactly where you fit in Mike, I am a descendant of Catoneras (9th Great Grandmother) and therefore an accepted or soon to be accepted member of the Montaukett Nation. All that is left to be done is to receive my card. It took me some time and effort to gather my information so it was sufficient in my eyes to justify membership before I submitted it and as I said previously, I was adopted as a child and were it not for the fact of finding my birth mother, I may have never known. Also I have some family members that are not interested in pursuing this information so I had to go about it in a cautious way. Unfortunately my initial submission is missing in the mail either to oversite on my part or the Post Office. The admin is in possession of my lineage via email and I have asked for confirmation if it is satisfactory. Regardless of the possession of a card I do know where I stand and as such am interested and have interest in finding the connection by using all sources available to me albeit Native American or Colonial. To shut off one source in favor of another will only limit the research. As a former police officer and current investigator I cannot merely limit available resources to one or the other, both sides contain information and factual basis for drawing conclusions. Whether one is less accurate than others reamains to be seen and is insignificant if it leads to the truth. I am less concerned with the fact that I may or may not be of “Royal” Native American heritage and more concerned with the fact that I am of Native American heritage, whether I am blood relation to Wyandance, Asharoken, or Takapausha (who is the most currrent candidate as a blood relation to Catoneras (possibly his sister). I would consider it an equal honor as all were proud members of the indiginous tribes of Long Island. AHO!

          • mike nighteagle hine says:

            the rest of us had to submit our birth certificates 2 pics and linage plus money why should you get diferant treatment?

          • admin says:

            Nighteagle. Jerry isn’t being treated any differently from any other applicant. He submitted his form and genealogical information/photo which has been accepted. Like everyone else, he has to pay the new member fee before he receives his card.

          • Jerry Sipes says:

            Mike, I tend to avoid negativity where ever possible and do not necessarily have to justify myself to anyone. But in all fairness you seem bent on having issues with me and its been brought to my attention by others as well.

            I have never sought “special” treatment from anyone and have been accepted by other members of the tribe very openly. I assure you I have no issues with you. If anything while pursuing my heritage I have yielded on the side of caution in my approach rather than to go along with the popular “colonial” concept that Catoneras is the daughter of Wyandanch and spending my time doing one sided research trying to prove that I am of the “royal” bloodline. Which by the way has been reitterated by the administrators several times that she cannot be confirmed as the daughter of Wyandanch, but on the same note that she has been recognized by the administrators and the tribal leadership as a Native American and part of the 13 indiginous tribes of Long Island and therefore qualifies her descendants as tribal members. However, you are free to believe what you believe.

            If you have taken issue with me because I inquired about your name, I was merely seeking knowledge for myself as the manner inwhich you received it differed from information I was previously given by one of the administrators and from Lone Wolf regarding the ceremony involved etc. and I was curious if I missed somthing. I am glad you have attended a pow wow etc and if that is a satisfactory procedure for the tribe then I am very happy for you.

            Again, I do not know why you may be feeling somewhat resentful of me, but if that is your choice then so be it. My only interests are in advancing the cause of the tribe and the return of the tribal rights and lands. I have expressed this on several occasions and if I can help by doing somthing from where I am located then so be it. As a result of that on another forum, you also alluded to the fact that I needed to reveiew the most current address by Chief Pharaoh and that I should be a Chief down here in Florida. I did review the Chief’s message and was quite encouraged by it, for the most part it was very positive save one item. If your reference and comments were to accuse me of wanting to “branch off” let me assure you, I have only one Chief, as do we all, and I am not him.

            I can accept constructive critiques and am open to other points of view regarding many things but I felt it necessary at this point to reitterate a few things myself at this point. Maybe it would benefit others to be open and not so rigid as well.
            After all, we are all seeking the truth and the return of what was taken from us as a people, right?

            At any rate, Blessings and long life to you Mike, and my apologies to the administrator for anything that may be taken out of context.

          • admin says:

            To Jerry and Mike: The information given by Lone Wolf regarding Montaukett naming Ceremonies is correct. Traditionally, the Montaukett hold naming ceremonies where an authorized Shaman or Medicine Man gives out Indian names. Lately, recognizing the wide geographic dispersion of Montaukett Indian Nation members, Chief Pharaoh has made exceptions for members who have obtained their Indian name without participating in a Montaukett naming ceremony, or have selected a name for themselves. Members may have their names added to the tribal roll upon a request made to the Chief contingent on his explicit approval. To my knowledge, the only member’s Indian name Chief Pharaoh has approved so far is Whitethunder.

            To Mike: The Montaukett are gearing up for a fight to reverse a century-old injustice which illegally and unconstitutionally removed recognition of the tribe as a sovereign indigenous nation. In this fight we hope and pray for all our members to step forward and lend a hand when the time is right to do so. In-fighting between members and factions have stymied our efforts for far too long, so I’d like to make a personal appeal to you. You often mention unity. We value this above all else. Unity will be the deciding factor as to whether we fail or prevail. By showing hostility toward any particular member, you are actually creating a spirit of disunity that is unnecessary. Jerry is a Montaukett with credentials equal to yours. He is not your enemy. In fact, I believe that he will be a formidable warrior for the cause of the Montaukett. So, let’s join together a prep ourselves for what is to come. Challenges to our status and existence will come sooner than you might imagine and from some sources that will surprise you. We must be ready to stand together as one nation in order to win the day.

  14. mike nighteagle hine says:

    i only ask all these questions because iam a vietnam veteran and i have ptsd and have been hurt several times before! if iam to let my guard down completely and lose the pain would be unbearable! i need to be able to completely be able to embrace our tribe and at least feel accepted! i have been a member now for about 8 months now and this is the most communication that i have recieved from the tribe! everytime i hear about catoneras the feeling comes back negutive! your brother mike nighteagle hine! with me trust is hard to come by!

  15. Jerry Sipes says:

    Aho! NightEagle. Asking questions is great. After all that is the only way that we are going to find answers. No one is doubting your connection to Catoneras nor has anyone doubted mine. I have only received positive feedback from tribal members and have been welcomed warmly and without question. I find my connection to the tribe to be a manyfold blessing. I was adopted as a child and never knew my birth mother until about a year ago so if that did not occur, I would have NEVER known. When I did and I found that I was connected to the Montaukett people, I just about exploded with pride. Because like you, I never felt connected, always felt a little different, not quite fitting in etc. Since then I have been asking alot of questions and doing alot of research to find my lineage and connection. I finally have all that information and can soon be counted on the roles also. I have been told alot of things about my 9th Great Grandmother and her connection to Wyandanch etc. But the one thing I have NOT been told by anyone including the site admin and geneaologist is that I am not Montaukett or, part of the descendants of a Long Island Native who was part of the Montaukett/Matouwac nation just because my connection is through Catoneras. So I am sure your connection is not being disputed at all. Keep asking the questions NightEagle, I am sure the Research Center, the site admin’s, and I would appreciate all the information we can find to fill in the blanks which is the ultimate goal I am sure. If I might ask, how did you come by your tribal name. What did that feel like when you received it? You seem to have a true warrior spirit as Lonewolf would say. I cannot wait until I can attend a ceremony and receive my tribal name as well.

    • mike nighteagle hine says:

      in referance to my indian name of nighteagle it was bestowed upon me by my cousin whitethunder montauk!

      • Jerry Sipes says:

        I have had several exchanges with Dale and found his encouragement and direction valuable to my search as has LoneWolf. I look to both as my menotors or guides. I was unaware that another tribal member could give a name. That is valuable information. I had thought that the Tribes Medicine Man was the one to give the name at a ceremony because he had to be in physical contact with the individual.

        • admin says:

          You are indeed correct. Naming ceremonies are traditionally conducted by a Shaman or Medicine Man. This is something we have to address, because the nation has expanded on a national level, many members are requesting Indian names, but cannot travel to places where we can accommodate them. Stay tuned for an answer to this problem as soon as possible.

          • Jerry Sipes says:

            Would love to attend a ceremony and wiith enough lead time I think it would be possible. Besides what a great way to be introduced to some of the tribal members who are still in the area. My wife has also expressed interest in visiting that area as well. I have an idea of what my spirit guide is or rather feel it is and I would be curious to see what the tribal Medicine Man would say.

          • admin says:

            Jerry you should definitely come and visit us. If you give us a “heads up” we would be glad to meet with you and arrange to show you Montauk Point, Sag Harbor and some surprising sites that aren’t even documented. However, if you plan to visit please don’t fall for any ‘scam’ spiritual Montauk tours you may have heard about. These people are charlatans and exploiters who dishonor the good name of the Montaukett. Chief Pharaoh will be dealing with them personally very soon.

          • Jerry Sipes says:

            Sounds like a plan. Ghost Tours and such like it are fun for entertainment value, but my purpose is a pilgrimage to experience my ancestry up close and personal.

          • mike nighteagle hine says:

            i recently attended the nez perce pow wow the home of chief joseph and had my name of nighteagle sactified in ceremony and gave bundles to the elders as gifts my name of nighteagle was sent to grandfather in mohegan!

        • mike nighteagle hine says:

          artie left with moon!

          • admin says:

            We all expected Artie to apologize to Chief Pharaoh. He had an opportunity to do so at the recent Shinnecock Pow Wow. However, that didn’t happen. Artie was invisible the day Chief Pharaoh attended.

  16. Gail Colfax says:

    Who and what address do I request a membership application to the Great Montaukette Indian Nation? Thank you.

  17. mike nighteagle hine says:

    administrator i thank you for your streight forward answers and honesty! nighteagle!

  18. mike nighteagle hine says:

    ok another question monqolucksee was the grand sachem of all the 13 tribes until 1623 when he died! he was the father of grand sachem wyandance and ashaokan was his brother and ashaokan was the sachem of the matinecock than how is catoneras not connected?

    • admin says:

      It’s not clear to me exactly who you are saying was brothers, but Asharoken was definitely not Wyandanch’s or Monglucksee’s brother. There’s plenty of historic records available on Asharoken. Can you cite where you got this information? I’d say this is completely made up.

      • mike nighteagle hine says:

        wyandance and ashaokan were brothers!

        • admin says:


          All I will say about Sandi Brewster is using her as the only resource for research might not give you a complete picture. Much of her take on LI indigenous history is based on Gardiner’s writings and all the “His”story books that used his memoirs as source information. The Matouwac Research Center (which she criticizes extensively. LOL) mission is to create an alternate take on LI indigenous history which will not be based solely on the perspective of the colonial historians. I don’t know where you saw the name Ashokan. I Know that Sandi claims that RASAOKAN (Asharoken derivative) was one of Wyandanch’s “eight” siblings. She goes on to name several other “famous” Indians of that period and claims they are all Wyandanch’s siblings, yet she leaves out his brother, Witaneyman, Shinnecok Sachem and claims that Poggacut was the Corchaug Sachem. Our research shows that Wyandanch (Sachem of the Montaukett) had only three brothers, Poggacut (Sachem of the Manhassett), Witaneyman (Sachem of the Shinnecock) and Momoweta (Sachem of the Corchaug). This version seems more likely, considering that those four clans all resided in the same local area around the north and south forks of eastern Long Island. There is no record of Mongotucksee traveling 80 miles from Shelter Island to Eaton’s Neck to sire Asharoken or any of the other Mattinicock Sachems she mentions.

          In any case, regarding the subject of this thread, I don’t believe that Asharoken was Catonera’s father. John Strong cites, “…This ruling by the court had significance for Catoneras’ claim to the land in this area because her family was connected by marriage to the Suscaneman lineage…”. Suscaneman was a Mattinecock Sachem who is referenced extensively in the Town of Huntington and Town of Oyster bay records.

          BTW, I think you should read Lion Gardiner’s works if you are serious about researching Montaukett history. I found it fascinating and horrifying at the same time. The Puritans, who we celebrate as the “discoverers” of America, were certainly some deeply evil folk.

          • Jerry Sipes says:

            Just going back through some of the thread and I must say at times this has been an interesting debate. Just a few things to redress. Has there been any documentation or information leading to the possibility that Catoneras was actually the daughter (or other connection) to the three brothers of Wyandanch: Poggacut (Sachem of the Manhassett), Witaneyman (Sachem of the Shinnecock) and Momoweta (Sachem of the Corchaug). I remember at one time someone told me that she could have been the daughter of Poggacut therefore making Wyandanch her uncle, albeit a younger uncle which is not impossible. My grandson is older than my youngest son but my son is still the Uncle. Or, is there any followup to the most recent possiblitity that Catoneras is connected to Takapausha of the Massapeague. I found the information of the “deed” to Crab Meadow aspect very interesting, not only interesting but plausible. The deed listed John (Jan) Cornilissen right along side (that would be indicative of family) Opsam and Wenox (Sons of Tackapausha) as “owners” of the land known as Crab Meadow. If I am not mistaken, it was sold for a sum of 20 Pounds Sterling. If this is the case and Jan inherited this area from his mother (Catoneras) would it not be logical as the article stated to think that Opsam and Wenox would have inherited it the same way. Which could mean that the mother of Jan was also the Mother or Aunt of Opsam and Wenox. Which could have made the later two half brothers or at least nephews or cousins of Jan and as such still maintained his tribal connection. In any case if this is more plausible than any other possibility it would still place Catoneras in a very influential bloodline as Takapausha’s sister (or other releative) due to the fact that Takapausha is the son of Penhawis who was one of the first to greet the Dutch.

          • admin says:

            The big problem we face is that all the documentation about Wyandanch, Poggacut (Yoca) and Mongatucksee originate from the early colonial intruders. Before they arrived, no one really knows what went on. There are some early Dutch texts that shed a little light on the pre-colonial indigenous Long Islanders. However, since they never really associated intimately with the Indians, they don’t shed specific information about individual leaders, etc. Most of the published historians over time who wrote about the early contact with the Montaukett relied heavily on the writings of Lion Gardiner. There are reasons to question the truth about many things that he and his family recorded. Chief Pharaoh commissioned the Matouwac Research Center to investigate and correct if necessary, the history of the Montaukett. To do this effectively, we have to approach this with a completely open mind. This is why we question in particular records that had to have originated from the Gardiners. Also, in the early colonial days, records (especially those of land sales /grants, etc.) must be critically re-examined. The overriding motive of the colonials was to grab the land from Indians in any way they could. While their motive was to own the land, the Indian understanding was that they were simply ‘sharing’ the land. Many of these early land grants were really about colonials vying with each other for property and using Indians they could manipulate to justify or certify their claims. So if we are to look at these early land grants from a native, rather than a European perspective a very different picture emerges.

            Jerry, I hope that you and other Van Tassel descendants can appreciate that we are particularly sensitive about the Wyandanch bloodline because of it’s special importance to Montaukett history. This is of great traditional and religious importance to us, so we take it very seriously. Our investigation of Catoneras and those of the most accredited contemporary historians like John Strong, create more questions than answers regarding her being a daughter of Wyandanch. At this point we do not accept this as a fact and it is not used as a factor in accepting Van Tassel applicants for membership. Our historical research is a work in progress, and we appreciate intelligent comments that help us in our quest. Some Montaukett researchers such as Sandi Brewster seem to accept that Catoneras is a daughter of Wyandanch, while others like, Donna Barron believe Catoneras is of Matinecock descent and therefore could not be a daughter of Wyandanch. What they all agree on is that Catoneras was an indigenous native that could have even been a Sachem – and that she had children with Van Texel. This is enough for us to accept membership. Any other course could cause problems, especially among the current LI indigenous population, which I will not go into at this point

          • Jerry Sipes says:

            I am abosolutely with you 100%. Like I had stated previously, I am less concerned with the fact that I may or may not be of “Royal” Native American heritage and more concerned with the fact that I am of Native American heritage period. This fact through communications with yourself and others has been validated enough for me and the fact that she is being accepted on her own merits (regardless of connections) makes me a proud descendant. I too have been passing on to others the facts of the connection or rather lack of facts to the connection to others as well as my brother who is absolutely convinced we are connected to Wyandanch but that is another story.

            But like any investigator the Catoneras story intrigues me so I am interested in seeing where the story lines go. I truly hoped at the beginning that the descendancy did connect to Wyandanch, as anyone would. But through my own discovery, this site, yourself, and the help of others I can see and accept that that there is sufficient doubts to the actual connection. So if I misspoke or left any cause to think I was somehow seeking acceptance as a member of the royal bloodline I apologize. That is not my intent at all. My intent is who is she, where did she come from, where does she fit.

            Unfortunately, a story that may never be told, but nontheless I feel as though bears some attention. If we only had the internet back then…lol. For me the entire process has been somewhat bittersweet as it resulted in connection with a birth mother, the discovery of a proud heritage (and resaon that I never seemed to fit in), and the discovery of another heritage that I am not so proud of on the colonial side, but one that I would like to help repair over time.

          • admin says:


            Your participation in this thread has been nothing short of thoughtful, honorable and informative. I hope you will continue to help us investigate and report on the Catoneras aspect of the Montaukett history. Chief Pharaoh with his tribal consultants are in the middle of trying to elevate the nation out of divisiveness and disarray, a lot of it self-inflicted – and unfortunately a lot of it on-going. Our registration drive has been our core focus to update and modernize our records and reach out to ALL Montaukett descendants with the sense that a new dawn for the nation is coming. This rejuvenation will be a key factor when we make our case for re-recognition and return of at least part of our former territory. I proud to report that members of the Van Tassel arm have been extremely helpful contributors to this crucial re-organization effort. Very soon, Chief Pharaoh will be calling out to all Montaukett to help us restore the nation to its rightful place in history and I’m confident that Van Tassel-based members as well as all Montaukett interested in our future will heed the call.

  19. mike nighteagle hine says:

    according to what i found they are all of matinecock decendancy!

    • admin says:

      Mike, I’m not sure what “they” you’re referring to. I think you should spend some time browsing through the articles and books posted on the Matouwac Research Center site. A good start is Lion Gardiner’s Biography. This book is essentially the “bible” of Long Island Indian History authors, since most of them used this as the basis of their research. The original story of Wyandance’s captured daughter and Gardiner’s heroic rescue that earned him 30,000 acres of Long Island territory is in this volume. FYI, Gardiner never mentioned the name of the kidnapped Daughter. You should also carefully read this article: In Search of Catoneras: Long Island’s Pocahontas. In particular, pay close attention to the section entitled, The Search for Catoneras: Daniel Van Tassel’s Research. Here’s a quote from that section: “… Based on this interpretation, he estimated that Jan was born in 1625 and that his father, Cornelis, was born in Holland about 1600, and Catoneras may have been born fairly soon after 1600…” Now, if Catoneras was born fairly soon after 1600 and Wyandanch was born in 1620, she must have been truly a miracle baby! Remember, these are the words of Daniel Van Tassel – the originator of the Catoneras story! Further on you will find this quote: “…Smith knew Gardiner and Wyandanch from the time he had lived in Southampton, and, according to local folklore, he had helped Gardiner in his successful efforts to ransom Wyandanch’s daughter, Quashawam, in 1653, when she was held captive by Ninigret, the Niantic sachem…” Note that this states that Quashawam was the one kidnapped by Ninigret – NOT Catoneras. We all know who Quashawam is. There’s definite proof that she was Wyandanch’s daughter. Numerous documents proving this still exist in the Easthampton Library. Personally, I think the kidnap story was a figment of Lion Gardiner’s imagination. I agree that it is ‘folklore’ Finally, please read the section, entitled: The Search for Catoneras: The Wyandanch Connection?. Now consider the authors, John Strong (probably the most accredited contemporary expert on Long Island indigenous history), James Van Tassel and Rick Van Tassel (this can’t be a biased article, if Van Tassel family members co-authored it).

      The conclusion of this article is that Catoneras existed. She was definitely native. She could even have been a Sachem. However, Wyandanch’s daughter? Very Doubtful.

  20. mike nighteagle hine says:

    this info comes from the records and documents of sandy brewster!

  21. mike nighteagle hine says:

    i have been avoiding doing any research useing anything by the van tassels or lion gardnier!

  22. mike nighteagle hine says:

    sorry i mispelled her name its sandi brewster walker!

  23. Pamela Rauch says:

    Hello All,

    I just recently discovered I am a descendent of Cantonera and the Van Texel/Van Tassels. I have been facinated as I keep researching more and more information. The whoe thing has been facinating and I look to find out as much information as I can. Two of my siblings live in upstate New York so they are not far from the area of Montauk Island.

    I would be interesting in knowing the location of the Montauk Point to visit to learn more about the Montauk Tribe. I would also be interested in what is involved to be accepted into membership and what I would need to do.

    I had always been told by my mother that we had an “Indian Princess” in our past but never knew it to be true. I can say that myself and two of my siblings certainly have some Native American features and skin color.

    I look forward to any response you can provide. Thanks so much to everyone for all the useful feedback included on this site. Have a great day!

  24. mike nighteagle hine says:

    jerry i appologize for being such a but and i appologize to the tribe for being alittle out of control believe me i stand with this nation and all montaukett i will submitt the name of nighteagle to chief pharoah for approval or disapproval!

    • Jerry Sipes says:

      Apology accepted. I also apologize for anything that may have been taken out of context and I am glad that you now realize that I am not against you and that my inquiries are genuinely for seeking information for myself and to advance the cause. So many questions unanswered, so much lost over time that if we don’t ask the questions we may never know. Even if at times the questions may seem a bit controversial we must remain open to the possibilities and points of view and hopefully will lead to the next answer and piece of the puzzle. I know we will all see the day when the tribe is restored to its proper place in the eyes of the government that took it away. A government that I, as well as you, Lone Wolf, and many others in the tribes proud history have written a blank check to for any amount up to and including our lives to defend. Of course some of you who have always been a part of the nation already know in your heart where that place has always been and haver never forgotten. New comers like me who through no fault of thier own are just learning of their heritage and the nation and its struggle against the system but who are also just as proud and can recognize the injustices that have been done know that place too! I had very little to believe in when I was growing up because I never really fit in, but now that I know why, it is my sincere hope that where ever the creator leads me in this cause, I will follow. Whether that service is here in Florida or back in our ancestral territory or even just as a reference point for others to find their way back from where ever they are so be it, when the time comes I want to be shoulder to shoulder in unity with my new family.

      • admin says:

        Thanks Jerry and Mike. After speaking to the chief last night you all can expect a bombshell move for the nation within a few days. Once this happens, we are going to need tribal solidarity and the help of all our warriors in many different ways. All I can say for now…. Stay tuned!

  25. admin says:

    Thank you for your honesty and wisdom, Nighteagle. The chief informed me that he received your email. Although he wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, I don’t think you’ll have any problems with your name.

  26. Barbara Mills says:

    As a fellow Van Tassel descendant of Catoneras, I applaud the efforts all of you have been making to shed light on this indeed puzzling yet fascinating history of my 9th great grandmother. We may never know the full truth behind her exact ancestry but as the recent article indicated answers may be forthcoming from researching Huntington and Oyster Bay records and that gives us reason to hope for answers to be found. So Lets not give up fellow Van Tassel descendants!!!

    I too have enough evidence to qualify to join the tribe under current qualification criteria and only have to assemble everything, go get that photograph made and then submit my application for approval and hopefully I will soon have my membership card as well. Dale Whitethunder Brown and Jerry Sipes and I have already compared our genealogies and we know exactly where we are connected, so if they have been approved, I am sure I will also be as we are definitely connected so I look forward to being able to say that I too am officially a Montaukett.

    I hadn’t looked at the Matouwac Research Center Site for a while until tonight and I want to say that I am impressed with the progress thats been made with additions to the site. I’m excited to spend some real quality time there going through things that I hadn’t seen before. Living away from the center of Montaukett Culture its so important for people like me to have a place like this to go to in order to get accurate references to study our culture. I have obtained books like John Strong’s book on our people, and of course read thru all the links on the tribe’s website, however it gets hard to find other reliable references when you don’t live directly in the community or have easy access to people to ask (until now that is). So Congratulations and Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    • admin says:

      Hakame’ Barbara

      We look forward to receiving your application. I spoke to John Strong last week and he was also skeptical that Catoneras was actually a daughter of Wyandanch. And, as we’ve said before, when evaluating Van Tassel descendants we do not even consider that aspect of the genealogies submitted. The published history of indigenous Long Island is so fraught with BS that as soon as I see papers or books with some 19th century or early 20th century historian being cited, I already know what to expect – the same old myths repeated over and over again. Even some well-known Montaukett historians fall into that category. The Matouwac Research Center plans to provide a completely different take – so we won’t be relying on endless citations to try to bolster our points. That’s not reporting history from an indigenous viewpoint.

  27. Sandi Brewster-walker says:

    Per a July 2011 posting, it is MISLEADING and REPRESENTED for someone to state that I accept Catoneras as Chief Wyandance’s daughter. I have always stated that I continue to research this connection for historical and genealogical evidence. As a historian (degree) and genealogist (trained & certificate from BYU) I have formed NO opinion as to reality or myth, I just collect the data that is found in primary and seconday historical records. Sometime in the future, I hope to evaluate my findings, but have not done this to date.

    • Jerry Sipes says:

      Sandi, Thank you so much for your continued efforts to uncover all of the mysteries surrounding the Long Island Tribes and Catoneras in particular. I wish you all the best in your research and hopefully one day we will be able to piece everything together. I am sure that Mike did not mean to be misleading. What it does say to me is that he found your research was compelling enough for him to accept it as established fact. As a fellow investigator I wish you continued success in your endeavors and look forward to your findings and conclusions.

      • mike nighteagle hine says:

        jerry i didnt say that admin did if you re read it! nighteagle

        • mike nighteagle hine says:

          july 19 2011at 12:15 pm a conversation between you and admin! check it out you both owe me an appoligy! all i did is misspell her name and correct it!

      • admin says:

        Nighteagle was correct to cite Sandi as claiming Catoneras was a daughter of Wyandance. I don’t detect any ambiguity in this excerpt from a Newsletter published by Sandi Brewster-Walker. Any reasonable person reading this would assume that the author was reporting historical facts because this is the way the newsletter is presented. This illustrates the problem with much of the published history regarding Catoneras. If historians simply “parrot” previously published works without applying critical analysis, then non-committal statements soon become “facts.” This is the problem with the “History 101″ approach. The Matouwac Research Center must take an “alternate” approach rather than “blind” reporting of previous publishings which don’t fully serve to elevate research of LI indigenous history.

        Source: The Long Island Native & Black History Volume 1, Number 1 July 22 – 29, 2006
        Sandi Brewster-Walker
        Wyandanbone (Wiancambone) was Wyandance’s only son. Wiancambone became the Grand Sachem at the age of 19-
        years old in 1658. But Wyandance had at least two daughters: Quashawan and Cantorera (Cantoneras) (or Heather Flower).
        Quashawan married Yapousha, and became head of the Montauk tribe in 1664.
        Cantoneras was born about 1603. During her wedding there was an attack by the Narragansetts, who killed her groom and
        brought her across the Long Island Sound as a prisoner. Wyandance, her father went to Lyon Gardiner for help. Out of
        gratitude Wyandanch gave Gardiner what is now Smithtown, the land that once belonged to his mother. His maternal
        grandmother had once lived on this land he owned called Cattawamnuck.
        Awansamwge, the son of one of Wyandance’s brothers, became Grand Sachem after Wiancambone.
        Sawsakatake, the youngest brother was also a counselor to Wyandance, and a sachem with Wyandance’s grandson in
        1687. On September 18, 1703, a grandson of Wyandance, Wiandance was the Grand Sachem living in Easthampton.
        Monqotucksee’s family was the ruling Native family of Long Island. One tribe! One people! Different family clans!

  28. admin says:

    Thanks for the input, Sandi. Your credentials cannot be questioned and your reputation is such that you are widely cited by many who research Long Island historical and genealogical matters. Obviously, you have now been cited by someone doing research on Catoneras as stating that Catoneras was Wyandanch’s daughter. While the poster used your name, he did not list the actual source document, so it’s hard to evaluate how he came to this conclusion. In any case we look forward to the future when you form an opinion on this subject and can share your undoubtedly relevant insights with us. Based on our research, we stand by our opinion that Catoneras could not be a daughter of Wyandanch – until much more conclusive proof is presented. Hopefully, this occurs within this lively debate!

  29. jamie says:

    I have been doing research, though i must say not as extensive as some of you fine folks, on my ties into the van tassel(taxel)/wyandanch though i think everything has just turned into confusion, i am not the best on following blood lines. my family is less then helpful when it comes to these matters so i have been looking around on the internet and stumbled upon this nifty page. i just wanted to drop a line and say hello, and of course thank you, to all the others who have been researching this matter.

    i would love to learn further if i do have any ties into the tribe, if anyone can help. i do know there are a lot of conflicting stories on the matter, which is why i am highly confused on the subject.

    • Jerry Sipes says:

      Hakame’ Jamie,

      I too had a difficult time gathering my information for similar reasons. Mine was complicated by the fact that I was adopted as a baby and did not know until recently that my lineage connected me to the Montaukett. You are indeed arriving at a special time in our story.

      There are a few people who have chimed in on this feed such as Dale “WhiteThunder” Brown who is of the Canadian leg of the Van Texel heritage, myself who comes from the Northwestern Pennsylvania, SOuthwestern New York, and Canadian leg, Barbara who has midwest and western states connections and Mike “NightEagle” Hine who has the Pacific Northwest connection. I am sure we can help you make a connection as Barbara has connected Dale’s lineage, my lineage, and her own into one format.

      The best thing for you to do at this time is gather as many pieces as you can together and reach out to one of us. I have the lineage traced back to Holland in the 1500′s. I have a list of all decendants, but of course the most detailed information I have is on my own line, but between all of us we may be able to help you.

      Where are you located? That may give some insight to which of us you may be more aligned with. If you post an email address I can email you what I have accumulated. If you can share names of the Van Texel/Van Tassle line you may be aligned with also I may be able to match it up. It is really not a difficult task if you know where to go to get the information and I managed to do it all without using the expensive ancestry websites.

      Another thing you mentioned is the Catoneras/Wyandanch connection. This reference of Catoneras being a direct offspring of Wyandanch, although each of us would be most honored to have that connection, cannot be verified as the majority of accounts are colonial in nature only. However, the fact that Catoneras was part of the indiginous tribes of Long Island and could have even been a prominent figure in Montaukett history makes her lineage and decendants valid for tribal membership.

      We are always looking for new information to help fill in the gaps so to speak, so if you have any independant additional information (pictures, documents etc.) to share, I know that all of us, including the Matouwac Research Center and site admins would be very interested in seeing it.

      As far as the membership portion, nothing could be easier. Once you have all of your documentation you can obtain an application form. Put copies of all the required documentation, passport photo’s, and application into a large envelope and mail it to: Matouwac Research Center, P.O. Box 454, Brightwaters, NY 11718. I don’t recommend sending checks or money with the application. There is a secure paypal account you can use after submitting your paperwork and use your credit card or debit card for the membership fee.

      Best of luck in your journey. Please reach out if you need anything.

    • Barbara Mills says:


      If I can help you I’d be glad to…As Jerry indicated, we are connected along with Dale Whitethunder Brown (back at the 8th and 9th generations ago) and its possible that you may already be connected somewhere along the genealogies that I have recorded in my family tree at some point back several generations so if I can help you please feel free to contact me at If I can help anyone else, I’d be more than willing to.

      Jerry mentioned that I had Northwest and Midwest connections – My mother was the first to leave NY in her family so I am only one generation outside of NY. I was born and raised in Washington state but recently moved to Ohio when I married my 2nd husband in 2009. So I am actually only one generation removed from my genealogy being totally in NY State on my mom’s side.

  30. Theresa Murray/Van Tassel (Little) says:

    Catoneras is my 8th great grandmother. In tracing my ancestry; I have been able to establish my connection. My grandmother was Virginia Van Tassel; her father Issac Van Tassel; her grandfather Jones Bell Van Tassel etc. I would like to know where the form is to complete and request to be added into the tribe?

    • mike nighteagle hine says:

      montauk indian

    • Jerry Sipes says:


      You can go on the website or contact the administrator of this website and provide him your contact email and they can email you the documents along with the appropriate materials you will need to satisfy the membership requirements. Isaac was the brother of my ancestor Ransom and son of Theodore Van Tassel and Mary Ransom Bush Van Tassel which is where we would connect in our lineage. You can also reach out to a few others on this thread as well if you need any other assistance.

      This is truly an amazing time to become involved, so many things happening.


      • Jerry says:

        Theresa, after looking back over my lineage I see we are connected that the fifth generation under Theodore…

        Generation 5 – The United States and Canada

        5. Theodore Van Texel (Tassel)– 5 (Theodorus Van Texel – 4, Jacob Van Texel – 3, Jan Cornelissen Van Tassel – 2, Cornelis Jansen Van Texel – 1, Jan Van Texel – II, Cornelis Prins Van Texel – I) was born in 1760, Orange County, NY. He died on 6/27/1832. He married Mary Ransom Bush (Brush) (b. 1765, d. 1823). Theodore lived at or near East Durham, Green County, NY where all of his children were born. In 1818, he moved with his sons, Abraham, Ransom and his daughter to Mayville, NY where his wife Mary Ransom Bush Van Texel died. In 1825 he moved with his son, Ransom, to Drummondsville, Quebec, Canada where he died.

        Descendants of Theodore and Henry Van Texel spoke of the house burning and the loss of the family Bible, undoubtedly the house of Theodore. The family bible may have been a vital link into the research on Catoneras.

        Children of Theodore Van Tassel and Mary Ransom Bush Van Tassel:

        i. Theodore, b. 1784
        ii. Isaac, b. 1766
        iii. Amelia, b. 1787
        iv. Ann, b. 1789
        v. Abraham, b. 1794
        vi. Luke, b. 1796
        vii. Ransom, b. 3/25/1803
        viii. Alanson, b. 1806

        from here I follow the Ransom Van Texel line whereas you of couse fall under Isaac…


    • admin says:

      Thanks for your interest in the Montauk Indian Nation, Theresa. Please check your email for an application form.

    • Jerry says:


      I see we are connected at the 5th generation with Theodore…

      Generation 5 – The United States and Canada

      5. Theodore Van Texel (Tassel)– 5 (Theodorus Van Texel – 4, Jacob Van Texel – 3, Jan Cornelissen Van Tassel – 2, Cornelis Jansen Van Texel – 1, Jan Van Texel – II, Cornelis Prins Van Texel – I) was born in 1760, Orange County, NY. He died on 6/27/1832. He married Mary Ransom Bush (Brush) (b. 1765, d. 1823). Theodore lived at or near East Durham, Green County, NY where all of his children were born. In 1818, he moved with his sons, Abraham, Ransom and his daughter to Mayville, NY where his wife Mary Ransom Bush Van Texel died. In 1825 he moved with his son, Ransom, to Drummondsville, Quebec, Canada where he died.

      Descendants of Theodore and Henry Van Texel spoke of the house burning and the loss of the family Bible, undoubtedly the house of Theodore. The family bible may have been a vital link into the research on Catoneras.

      Children of Theodore Van Tassel and Mary Ransom Bush Van Tassel:

      i. Theodore, b. 1784
      ii. Isaac, b. 1766
      iii. Amelia, b. 1787
      iv. Ann, b. 1789
      v. Abraham, b. 1794
      vi. Luke, b. 1796
      vii. Ransom, b. 3/25/1803
      viii. Alanson, b. 1806

      I branch off with Ranson and of course you branch off with Isaac…Ransom turned out to be quite the character….


  31. John Rogers says:

    Best wishes to all.. It is inspiring to see so much interest in these distant ancestors whose lives tie us together after so many years. One of these days I will put my own membership application together. Meanwhile I ponder what the lives of Catoneras and her son were like. Perhaps if anyone has any concrete ideas for avenues that haven’t yet been searched for information, this would be a good place for it. No doubt some of us would be willing to do some work, if we knew where to look. Even if we can’t learn any more about Catoneras, there might be more to know about her son.

    I was thinking about Jan Cornelissen and the record of his indentured service to Hendrick Harmensen, and took the bold step of searching on Google under that name. A few facts came up that I hadn’t seen before. First, Harmensen passed away in 1643, when Jan would have been about 18 and presumably still in his service. According to some sources, he was killed by Indians, perhaps in the terrible violence of Kieft’s war ( Was Jan there when it happened? What was it like for him, being a young man suddenly losing his patron, and being half Indian himself? Second, Harmensen’s daughter Grietie apparently married Abraham Rycken. Two of their sons, Ryck and Jacob Abramson were partners in the purchase of Ryck’s Patent, at what is now the location of Peekskill, NY. The date of the patent is 1685, and Jan is said to have moved to the area sometime after 1683 when his daughter was baptized in New Amsterdam. Over the 40-plus years from the time of Harmensen’s death, he must have maintained close relations with the family. Maybe there is a record among the early Lents and Rikers. In any case there is much to wonder about how he came to move his large family 75 miles north to a new home far from the safety of New Amsterdam, at the same time he was pressing his claim to his mother’s lands.

    • admin says:

      Thank you, John for your relevant comment and also for the informative link. The intent of this thread is to spur people on to do meaningful research on their Catoneras lineage, and hopefully share the results here. We’ve taken a position that while we recognize Catoneras as a Long Island native, we have seen no proof that she was a daughter of Wyandance, and furthermore we doubt that this assertion is true. Of course, we could be wrong about this and we are still waiting for someone to come up with credible evidence that contradicts our position.

      • John Rogers says:

        Admin, my thanks to you for encouraging research, and all who have assembled the superb collection of information on this site. I believe your position is the right one to take given the evidence or lack thereof. To me it’s not so important who was or wasn’t a sachem or princess or whatever. I’m just curious about who she was, who her family was, what her life was like. After her son was indentured, did she ever see him again? Would it have made her happy to know that he married, had 9 children, and after what looks like a lot of challenges, became a respected member of his community as a deacon and church elder of the Sleepy Hollow Dutch Reformed Church, and had a long life?

        Although I haven’t learned anything new about Catoneras, the strategy of searching on the different names (and spelling variants) associated with the historical documents continues to pay off. In the Court Minutes of New Amsterdam, available from Google ( there are quite a few entries involving Cornelis Jansen, his wife Geertje Teunis, Jan Cornilessen, and others. For example, in the incident where Jan beat Rutgert Jansen “until the blood flowed” after Jansen had called him “an Indian dog”, Joannes Withart served as a witness, resulting in a small fine for Jan (12 guilders) and a fine for Rutgert of 6 guilders for his use of “foul and abusive language”. As it turns out, Withart seems to have been a lawyer and was frequently before the court. In 1663, he sued Jan Cornelizen (as spelled in the minutes) for “104 guilders and six stivers in good stringed wampum.” Jan admitted the debt and asked for time to pay it off, and the court appears to have accepted that. The demand for wampum is not characteristic of other settlements in the court minutes and would seem to be another indication that Jan was known as an Indian. Jan’s testimony also stands in contrast to a lot of the other cases in that he admitted the debt and promised to pay it off without any argument.

        There are quite a few other references to Jan’s father, stepmother, and associates in those court records. It’s really interesting reading.

        Whether or not we have documents, Catoneras, her son, and his children were real people who had hardships and successes just like we do. Four hundred years later, the Montaukett Nation is still here. I hope I’ll get to meet some of you one day.

        • admin says:

          Hakame John

          I’ll add your new link to the Matouwac Research Center website. I’m sure you will understand that it is Chief Pharaoh’s desire when he founded the Matouwac Research Center to correct and affirm as much of LI indigenous history as we are able to. Therefore, we will be resistant to simply repeating much of what has already been written without applying a fresh analysis from a different perspective. The story of Catoneras is one of those persistent “myths” that we are particularly sensitive to; especially when she is identified as “Heather Flower” a daughter of Wyandanch, who was kidnapped and subsequently rescued by the heroic Lyin’ Gardiner who was “rewarded” with 30,000 acres of Indian territory for his deeds. Van Tassel descendants are welcomed into the Montaukett Indian Nation because we accept that they are descended from a LI native named Catoneras – but NOT because she was daughter of Wyandanch. This is an important distinction to us.

  32. mary slupe says:

    greetings….my name is mary slupe…i also am descended from catoneras….i have read strongs story of catoneras in the long island journal……

    .i live in san diego, ca…..i do have some connections with the kumeyaay tribe in so cal…have worked in several riverbed restoration projects….i am a retired civil engineer…i was born in minnesota… excited to finally find my native american link……my cousins are joanne lindsley and jim nelson…still reading strongs history of the montaukett nation……..
    could we use dna analysis to solve the question of the tribal lineage…the kumeyaay in ca do…..or because of the many yrs involved and the many genetic possibilities would dna analysis be too difficult….it seems as if the long island tribes were probably all very much the same…of course we are all descended from asia as far back as 100,000 yrs ago…………my tree is located in……

    • mike nighteagle hine says:

      ill send my dna to solve this and than there will be no more debate!

      • admin says:

        Hakame Nighteagle and Mary

        First I should point out that we officially oppose DNA testing so as not to give NY State any ideas about how to make it harder and more expensive for us to get recognized. All the credible scholars (John Strong being the most accredited) doubt that Catoneras was Wyandanch’s daughter on the basis of access to and analysis of about every available document available regarding Catoneras. Only “pop” historians such as the one cited earlier quote this story as fact.

        I would point out once again to the new readers that at the time of Catonera’s existence, Wyandanch was not a so-called “Grand Sachem” and would have probably confined his travel and contact among the four tribes that occupied the east-end of Long Island. The Indian clan they now call Mattinicock inhabited the area where Catoneras was born. They were more likely related to the Lenne Lenapi nation. The Dutch interacted more with the Lenni Lenape clans, than the Mohegan clans such as the Indians now known as the Montaukett, Shinnecock, Setaukett, Corchaug, Unkechaug. Wyandanch began being potrayed as a ubiquitous “Grand Sachem” after Lion Gardiner’s English occupation. This was between 1638 – 1650. If the birthdate of Catoneras is true, then the timeline and geographic factors for Catoneras to be a daughter of Wyandanch simply doesn’t fit. This doesn’t diminish her status in any way. She was undoubtedly the daughter of a Sachem, or she would not have been mentioned historically. For every Catoneras there were hundreds of unknown LI Indian women who lived and died without any mention whatsoever.

        Before, going DNA crazy, I think those interested in the history of Catoneras might consider getting together, pooling resources, and even coming to Long Island! Go to the Huntington Historic Society, review the early colonial documents. Share the research with us. I think that this would be a wonderful addition to the Matouwac Research Center pool of resources.

        Truthfully we’re tired of seeing those genealogy charts with Wyandanch in the timeline, without any supporting documentation other than a download from a genealogy site. If Catoneras’ heritage beyond being a LI Indian woman is important, then let us work together in a comprehensive effort to prove it once and for all.

  33. James Van Tassel says:

    I am currently attempting what has become a massive undertaking of researching my family tree. I have never imagined it would be so huge. I have traced my family lineage directly from Cornelius Jansen Van Texel, all the way to my father, Darrell Van Tassel. Is there someone I could talk to in reference to my family connection to the tribe? I would prefer a speak with someone over the phone rather than through email or internet postings. I am in the Army and really don’t find myself at a computer too much for leisure (I use one at work all day and am pretty much computered out by the time I get home). I can be reached through email though at Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hello James

      All that any tribal representative can say regarding the Van Tassel connection to the tribe, has been aired on this blog. We do accept that Catoneras existed. We do accept that she married Cornelius Van Tassel. We do accept that Catoneras was a LI indigenous individual. We do not accept that Catoneras was related to Wyandanch, because there is no documentation supporting this claim and frankly it simply makes no sense given the reported time period of Catoneras’ life. We’ve reviewed the existing historic records regarding Wyandanch and his children and the only confirmed daughter of Wyandanch, was Quashawam, who lived in Easthampton and became the Montaukett Sachem after her brother, Wiancombone’s death. We do know that the Dutch interacted with western Indian clans such as the Mattinecock much more so that any of the Eastern LI clans. So, we can speculate that Catoneras was of Mattinecock descent. We can also speculate that she was the daughter of a Mattinecock Sachem. We are still waiting for any Van Tassell descendant to provide more conclusive proof of exactly who she was. After saying all that, we allow Van Tassel descendant membership based on Chief Pharaoh’s concept that all LI indigenous people living east of the Queens County line were of the same tribe before the European incursion into Eastern LI. This is one of these unfortunate distortions that has plagued LI indigenous historic research, nd we have no intentions of propagating this story any further. It’s time for the Van Tassel descendants to provide actual proof beyond the plethora of Internet sites – and we look forward to seeing this happen.

  34. Pieter van Tassel says:

    John Rogers, We have spent time looking up the same information and I think we need to compare notes. I spent a lot of time looking for the passage in the Annals of Newtown that stated something about the family receiving a bell from the family in Holland and it was not in the book at all.
    I can add some references to what you have shared in this blog.
    John Cornelissen granted land at Apomapo, [now Amawalk, Westchester County] next to S. van Cortlandt. 1685, October 13 (New York Colony of Council, Calendar of Council Minutes, 1668-1673). This was Sint Sink native land. I have read that our Mattinecock Sachems paid tribute to them and there was a connection there and also that the farm is now the site of Sing Sing prison.
    Abraham Rycken obtained a patent from Gov. Kieft in 1640. Hendrick, Abraham’s youngest son, assumed the name Lent. He married Catrina Van Texel, Jan Cornelisen’s daughter. Ryck’s Patent became the only Westchester County land not owned by Stephanus Van Cortlandt.
    Antje Storm married Cornelis Van Texel (Jan’s son) in 1695 and lived in Ryck’s Patent. Antje’s brother Peter Storm married Grietje Van Texel and her sister Aeltje married Jacob Van Texel. Their father Dirck Storm was Breuckelen Town Clerk in 1669. In 1677, the Storm family moved to Midwoud where he became the schoolteacher, then Town Clerk of Flatbush (Midwoud). He was appointed Orange County Clerk of Sessions when the county was formed. In 1694, he was Westchester County Justice of the Peace. He was Town Clerk of Tappan and Voorlessor in the church. Moving to Philips Manor in 1697, he wrote the early records of the Dutch Reformed Church. This family had connections: Antje’s Great Uncle Laurens Storm was selected Supervisor General of the Netherlands in 1636.
    King William of England made Stephen Van Cortlandt a Lord in 1697. Eventually, he bought all of Westchester County except Ryck’s Patent. Approximately 10 years after Jan’s death, his widow Anetje was forced to sign over the family farm to the widow of Stephanus Van Cortlandt for debts owed in 1712.
    So herein are many reasons for the move up the Hudson. There are so many pieces in this great puzzle. We should put them all together and get a documented history instead of the Washington Irving style fabrications in the early genealogies. I am just a backyard historian, no scholar.
    My favorite passage: Flatbush Court Minutes, Liber B 1003 1659-1664
    1659, Oct. 5 – Jan Cornelesz vs. “The Schout” The Schout says that on Sunday past he met the Dfdt. with a gun & 2 turkeys & a duck he had shot upon the Sabbath, in violation of the laws…& requests Dfdt. a fine of 25 gulders. Dfdt. Says that in passing along, he came upon the turkeys which he shot. He asserts that he was permitted to do that. He was excused for the first time.
    Pieter van Tassel

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your informative comment, Pieter. I’m sure the Van Tassel participants on this blog will be grateful for your information. Of particular interest to the Montaukett is your statement, “…This was Sint Sink native land. I have read that our Mattinecock Sachems paid tribute to them and there was a connection there and also that the farm is now the site of Sing Sing prison…” This is the first definitive statement by a Van Tassel on this blog that associates the Van Tassel lineage with the Matinnecock. We believe this to be true, but as you see from many intercourses on this blog, this has caused some lively debate. I wonder if you could share exactly where this reference came from? Anyway, welcome to the Montaukett blog. I’m confident you’ll become a valuable contributor to this very important debate.

  35. Pieter van Tassel says:

    Whoops! My statement is conjecture based upon the deed that was found by Rick and James van Tassel and John Ashley Strong. Crab Meadows was Mattinecock land. The two other names on the deed (Opsam and Wenox) besides Jan Cornelisen were Mattinecock. Is it wrong to conclude from this documentation that Catoneras was Mattinecock? I think this has to be definitive proof. Now, the other part about the land which became part of van Cortlandt Manor is purely a good clue in our history that needs more professional research. I am only a “backyard historian.” I have no formal training in history or genealogy. I am an Inventory Specialist in Surgical supplies. Ask me what company has the best prosthetic hip and knees. But I have spent years of my youth researching my family roots in libraries, visiting all my elders across the country and writing down their oral histories, copying their photographs, recording what they remember about our ancestors. This is what is important to me. Early records on the Storm lineage are so detailed in New Nederland that is is HIGHLY suspicious to me, that there is no definitive proof of who Jan Cornelisen’s father really was. This is also extremely cloudy and based upon a Dutch genealogist named Louis de Boer (sp?) who linked us to the Texelius family of Utrecht. This information has been published in Dutch publications as accepted fact but the people I met at the archives in Utrecht and Rotterdam told me that this Louis de Boer was “all wet.” Where’s the proof. Don’t go viral on me, cousins! This is conjecture: people left Holland from a port on Texel Island and it is not without reason that Cornelise Jansen added the suffix “from Texel” after his name when he signed over his son to Hendrick Harmenson. There were few surnames used in Dutch society at the time. As we read Strong’s history, it does not take Sherlock Holmes to get the impression that our biracial Jan Cornelissen was an illegiment son of someone with the highest connections. (Mauritis Jansen van Broekhuysen, witness to the Indenture of Cornelius Jansen, was a cousin to Kilian van Rensselaer. Hendrick Harmensen was a former armorer in the Dutch army [Dutch Settler’s On Long Island, Gibbs 1967]. Jan Cornelesz Van Tessel is granted deed and town patent… in the town of Midwout 1661, Oct. 24 by Governor Petrus Stuyvesent [Flatbush Town Records Liber A page 15].) My own thinking is that Van Texel was a given surname for the purpose of integrating the young boy into the Dutch community without revealing the identity of his father. This is a theory, okay! Tax collectors in Westchester changed the spelling.

    • admin says:

      Hakame Pieter

      The Mattinecock clan definitely controlled the Crab meadow area, which is part of the Township of Huntington. Therefore, it is in no way unreasonable to assume that ANY indigenous person hailing from that area was most likely of the Mattinecock clan. The story of Lyin’ Gardiner rescuing Catoneras from Naragansett kidnappers and thus gaining 30,000 acres from Wyandanch as a reward is one of those Long Island myths that is particularly offensive to us. It’s hard to prove that popular stories about LI Indigenous history are false, because all the record reports were written by the conquerors, who will always paint history in a way that puts them in the best light. For example, we don’t believe that Wyandanch was this pervasive ruler that forced one long island Indian clan after another to give up their territory to colonials for a few blankets, some gunpowder and metal tools. It should be the responsibility of historians that claim LI indigenous roots to strive to set the record straight. Yet thus far those historians are content to parrot whatever they find in libraries to prop themselves up at the expense of diminishing their heritage. Founded by Chief Pharaoh, the Matouwac Research Center’s mandate is to set the record straight whenever we can. The story of Catoneras is one of those historic incidents that deserve to be reported accurately. This is crucial to us, because it contributes to the “picture” painted about Sachem Wyandanch and his complete secession to the European intruders of all the native territories on Long Island. Anyone can write an “X” on a treaty and just because ten colonial “witnesses” co-sign to say they saw this happen isn’t proof to us of any Indian treaty’s validity. Your conjecture about the changing of surnames is very logical considering 17th century European concepts of family and race. I hope that your detailed contribution to this blog spurs more of your cousins on to revisit their family genealogy with an open mind. Chief Pharaoh has asked his researchers to do this, even though what we eventually publish will be met with resistance and even hostility from the “entrenched” historians whose works might be contradicted. I hope that many Van Tessel folk like yourself, feels the same way, rather than settling conveniently on Lyin’ Gardiner’s fabrications that conveniently paint Catoneras as the daughter of the Sachem he chose to prop up in order to accumulate Indian territory. When we finish constructing our tale on the history of Wyandanch a completely different picture will emerge that shows he was a victim rather than a cohort of Lyin’ Gardiner. ,

      • Jerry says:


        Been awhile since I chimed in but the most recent information from Pieter is indeed very informative and seems like a genuine step forward into the great Catoneras debate. I brought the deed up several posts ago and had the same assumptions other that the possibility that she may have actually been connected to Takapausha of the Massapeague. As I said before, I found the information of the “deed” to Crab Meadow aspect very interesting, not only interesting but plausible.

        As Pieter points out the deed listed John (Jan) Cornilissen right along side (that would be indicative of family) Opsam and Wenox (Sons of Tackapausha unless I am way off) as “owners” of the land known as Crab Meadow for 20 pounds. If this is the case and Jan inherited this area from his mother (Catoneras) would it not be logical as the article stated to think that Opsam and Wenox would have inherited it the same way through a family member. Which could mean that the mother of Jan was also the Mother or Aunt of Opsam and Wenox. Which could have made the later two half brothers or at least nephews or cousins of Jan and as such still maintained his tribal connection.

        In any case, this scenario and facts mentioned by Pieter is much more plausible than any other possibility so far which has been largely people reposting findings from the internet. This scenario would still place Catoneras in a very influential bloodline as Takapausha’s sister (or other releative) due to the fact that Takapausha is the son of Penhawis who was one of the first to greet the Dutch.

        Conjecture or not, your comments have piqued the interest of the administrators and myself as well. Maybe you can assist a little more Pieter as you seem to have more in the line of research materials than I do here in Florida. I am also curious as to the back lineage from Holland as well and maybe we could compare notes in another forum since this forum should be used for seeking the truth about tribal issues and the decendancy there of. Welcome to the thread…I think we were all beginning to stagnate a little….

        • admin says:

          Hakame Jerry

          Pieter has kindly consented to helping us create a permanent Van Tassel research section on the Matouwac Research Center website. This site is visited by many researchers, so along with this blog site,I hope it becomes a valuable tool in moving the Van Tassel saga forward. He has already submitted articles and we are actively working on integrating them into the Matouwac Research Center website! I hope that he will not be the only one doing so. Stay tuned….

  36. mike nighteagle hine says:

    all i have to say is i support sachem pharoah and the the center to set the record streight and will be happy when its all over may the creator send you and the sachem many blessings to help guide you on this most worthy mission your brother nighteagle!

    • admin says:

      Hakame Nighteagle

      I know this is off-subject a little bit, but I am proud that Chief Pharaoh chose as he put it “inclusion instead of exclusion.” He values the Van Tassel membership and will not allow the “Montaukett Exclusivity Club” to propagate their agenda of only a few families are “real” Montaukett. Three years ago, the sachem had an epiphany. He was visited in a dream by his aunt Pocohantas, who told him to “get off his rear-end,” it was time to grow the Montaukett into a nation. When he awoke and walked outside, he looked up into the sky and the clouds above him formed an eagle, sweeping down, talons extended. This was indeed a message sent to him through his beloved aunt from the Great Spirit Kitchie Manitou. The Montaukett say that you do not truly become a man until you turn 50 years old. Chief Pharaoh is 55 now and he has grown into a visionary leader. I am convinced that he will restore the honor of the Montaukett and lead the nation into an era not seen in many hundreds of years. This is no easy task. The elitist cadre that enjoyed making all the decisions for many years has found their agenda usurped and believe me they don’t like it a bit. Chief Pharaoh might have paid them more notice if they could have demonstrated any success in their past ventures. But, they simply can’t. We’ve been stagnant for 100 years! This is the nature of the beast he has to face. Believe me he is not a despot or dictator. However, his main agenda items (a) growing the nation with a national footprint and (b) restoring the nation’s rights as an historic north-east woodland tribe, should not be the subject of debate by any sane person. However the elitist crowd won’t lift a hand to help him. He sent a message in his State of the Nation. Not everyone received this well, but he made it clear that this won’t hinder his progress.

  37. mike nighteagle hine says:

    i will as i have said before help the montaukett indian nation and the sachem in any way i can i await orders and only live to serve our nation! like before i send many blessings and talk to the creator all the time on all of our behalfs! taput ni on your info it only makes me want to work harder!

  38. mike nighteagle hine says:

    i have a question and iam not trying to cause trouble and i have resigned myself and others of catoneras decendancy as to being matinnecock indians does this mean if the land at crab medows is ever returned to us! does that land too belong to the montaukett indian nation?

    • admin says:

      Aquay Nighteagle

      To answer you first in the abstract, The concept of “land ownership” was forced on the Algonquian Indians by the European invaders. Long Island Indians, like all the Northeast Woodland tribes, believed that we were placed on the land by the Creator to take care of the land, to nourish nature, to use the provided resources to sustain us, but never to abuse it, divide it or destroy it. It’s amazing that the early invaders tout all these “land sale treaties” from the 17th century, when there wasn’t even an Algonquin word or phrase for “land sale.” This was a concept outside of the understanding of the LI native people. Indians would routinely accept tributes to “share hunting grounds” but they never truly understood that the invaders would section off their land, move them off the land, then bar them from access to the land. Many Europeans laugh about the fact that Indians gave up vast streches of territory for a few “shiny beads, or blankets, or 24 dollars – as is the popular claim for Manhattan island.” What they fail to understand is these were thought of as courtesy tributes, given to a local tribe in exchange for “sharing hunting grounds.” Sharing hunting grounds was the closest translation to “land sale” in the Algonquian language. This was proven tragically in Massapequa in western Suffolk County. The Dutch settlers, treaty in hand, claimed that Sachem Tackapausha of the Massapeaug sold part of his territory to the Dutch. When the Dutch informed him that he no longer had the right to live on or access the land, Takapausha resisted. The Dutch settlers were no match for the Massapepeaug warriors, so they hired mercenary John Underhill (of Pequot massacre fame) and his English troops, who attacked the Indians, slaughtering hundreds including Takapausha in 1643 or 1653, then piled their bodies up somewhere in the vicinity. It is said that so much blood was spilled that the ground was stained red for 50 years. This was actually the basis for the famous Amityville Horror House story, which claimed the the house was built in the spot where the Indian bodies lay. Of course, the “historians” who I regularly rail about, discount this in favor of the popular myth of a passive take-over of Indian territory on Long Island.

      As for Crab Meadow, it is now an upper middle class surburb, which short of an all-out war, will never be returned to Indians regardless of what we call ourselves. If we tried to claim this area, we might as well claim ALL of Long Island. Nighteagle, we can’t fool ourselves into believing that “they” will give back any Indian land on Long Island, especially at Montauk Point. LI real estate on the east-end goes for $1 million an acre. It ain’t like the desert out west – and even there “they” will reclaim Indian country whenever they can. I should also say that the “divide and conquer” is still alive and well in LI. The existing Matinecock maintain their tribal identity and are not interested in a confederacy with the Montaukett. However, any who choose to join us are certainly welcome.

      • Jerry says:


        I was going to respond earlier but you hit the nail on the head and unfortunately the lands are gone. Just as a curiosity I looked at property values in the area and was quite taken aback. I too think at this point we should be more concerned with our recognition efforts and not so much in the return of physical land. But in all seriousness I was looking at a good chunk of it to buy (actually a few chunks of it if I could ge them all together) and look into a way to donate it back in case I hit that 336million powerball. Still will if lightning strikes….


        • admin says:

          Hakame Jerry

          Chief Pharaoh is realistic about this, but he is not suggesting total capitulation. We intend to insist that NY State open up a reasonable portion of the 415 acre Camp Hero grounds for exclusive use by the nation, in addition to the reinstitution of our tribal rights. Camp Hero is part of the “heart” of Montaukett territory – and it is abandoned and overgrown at this point. Local residents use it only as a convenient parking lot to go fishing off of Montauk Point. We plan to construct a Cultural Center/Theme Park to present Montaukett and Eastern Woodland Indian history. We’ve developed a plan to construct a reproduction wigwam village on the grounds and to create an Indian garden to show how the Indians cultivated the earth. We believe this will be a great tourist attraction which will help the local economy. It is important that we show NY State that they do not have to bear the economic burden for this. We are actively seeking sponsors – and I’m proud to say that many Montaukett skilled contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. have already volunteered their time to help us realize this dream. A special shout-out to our Rhode Island cousins who run a large construction enterprise in Rhode Island and who committed their time and resources to Chief Pharaoh to build our Cultural Center on his recent visit there.

          Jerry, maybe we should create a powerball pool, and see if by the grace of the Great Spirit something can come of this! As you probably found out, Long Island is among the most expensive real estate in the world. The local residents especially fear the restoration of our rights because they are sure we secretly plan to “steal” their treasures! A reporter from a prominent local newspaper, called us requesting a comment on our pending Montauk Point land claim. She was disappointed when we told her unequivocally we are making no such claim. She lost out on a hot story that would certainly inflame the locals against us. But, rumors of an imminent Montaukett “invasion” are already spreading, so we don’t expect any of our efforts, including recognition, to go smoothly. Of course, this doesn’t mean we wont prevail.


  39. mike nighteagle hine says:

    taput ni my brother!

  40. mike nighteagle hine says:

    [22]  In the Smithtown’s records, there is an interesting account that raises some other questions about the aboriginal ownership of these lands. On June 22, 1666, Pauquatoun one of Wyandanch’s elder advisors, testified before two East Hampton officials that the land around the Nissequogue belonged to Wyandanch’s grandmother who passed the title along to Wyandanch, Nasseconseke, and Asharoken (William Pelletreau, ed., Town Records of Smithtown, Vol. 1 (Sag Harbor, NY: Hunt, 1898-1931), 16-17. Wyandanch’s daughter, Quashawam testified at the same time that all of these sachems were kindred to Tackapousha. This testimony indicates that all four sachems were related, but the linguistic studies done by Ives Goddard suggest that there were significant differences in language between the Mohegan-Pequot dialect on eastern Long Island groups, the Quiripi spoken by the Unkechaug (Poospatuck) and Matinnecock in the center of Long Island, and the Lenape dialect spoken on western long Island and eastern New Jersey (Ives Goddard, “Eastern Algonquian Languages,” in Handbook of the North American Indians, vol. 15, The Northeast, edited by Bruce Trigger (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1978), 70-77.

    • admin says:

      Good Research, Nighteagle. I think that we have to look at all the “testimonies” and “treaties” that in particular, Lyin’ Gardiner had his hands in with a critical eye. After Wyandanch’s death, Quashawam was “inserted” as Grand Sachem by Gardiner and the Easthamptoners. What she did or did not testify to is only defined by colonial town records (Smithtowm, Easthampton. Huntington, etc.). As with Wyandanch, she barely spoke any English, if any at all. Therefore what she or Wyandanch said or didn’t say, must be based on the interpreters used, or more likely simply concocted by the colonial land grabbers. These so-called treaties that justify all the land “sold” to the colonials were created and put into the historic record, not for the benefit of the Indians, but to justify the validity of these land claims between competing colonial entities (e.g. the English and the Dutch). Lyin’ Gardiner being the principal land-grabber, was extremely vigilant on this, especially where any long island territory could be contested by his enemies, the Dutch, etc.. Smithtown, Huntington/Crab Meadow/Eatons Neck were just such locations because the Matinnecock under Asharoken and the Marsepeaque under Takapousha were largely controlled by the Dutch. Given these circumstances, it would of course be beneficial if his inserted “grand sachems” testify that their family actually owned that land. But let’s apply some logic (that John Strong and Sandi Brewster et al, don’t seem to consider relevant). How could that land have “belonged” to Wyandanch’s grandmother? This would have been way before the English invasion – and so-called historians should know that the Algonquian people did not have “land ownership” in their consciousness or vocabulary. Wyandanch’s grandmother passed on a title???? Did Indians in Wyandanch’s grandmother’s time even know of such a thing as a land title??? This has to be a European fabrication. Unfortunately, Long Island history is now only defined by the colonial records which John Strong and Sandi Brewster, etc. often quote to validate their “research.” That don’t cut it with me. I’m simply not buying into the conqueror BS anymore. Here’s a poem that sums my sentiments up:

      It’s The Conquerors Who Write The History

      As they chased the wild bison on horse back they whooped and cheered loud
      And they were great hunters so noble and proud
      But now on the prairies the bison are rare
      And the people who hunted them no longer there.

      Of the great Northern Land the first people till the invaders came
      And their tragic dispossession is a thing of great shame
      Conquered and put into reservations for to grow old and die
      The rights of Indigenous people to them did not apply.

      It’s the conquerors who write history as we have been told
      And men they have murdered for Land and for Gold
      But what matters most when history we trace
      That a Country’s first people must take pride of place.

      You great country singers with your golden guitars,
      You politicians and tycoons and billionaire movie stars
      There once was a people far greater than you
      And to Mother Nature they were far more true.

      And the workings of Nature they did understand
      And they were the people who cared for the Land
      And they were displaced and oppressed and down trod
      By those who believed in a different God.

      They once were great warriors, wise, noble and proud
      And they gave us Chief Seattle and wise Chief White Cloud
      And their profound words of wisdom still living today
      And such things of great beauty will never decay.

      The truth may seem bitter but the truth we must face
      That a Country’s first people should take pride of place
      And around the World Indigenous people are not treated well
      Though they have such marvellous stories to tell.

      The conquerors write the history as conquerors do
      But to the true history they never are true
      And the conquered the history never will write
      And we are conditioned to believe that might is always right.

      The changes keep happening and nothing seem to last
      And the great herds of bison a thing of the past
      And those who once hunted them were locked away
      And in reservations were forced for to stay.

      Out on the lone prairie their ghosts still reside
      At midnight the hunters their spotted horses ride
      As they chase the wild bison across the great plain
      The past in the moonlight comes to life again.

      by Francis Duggan

  41. mike nighteagle hine says:

    this is in referance to a statement by john strong about the crab meadow land controversy!

  42. mike nighteagle hine says:

    taput ni ni mat and admin i agree with your wisdom and send you many blessings from the creator taput ni for you concideration ni yayuw

  43. Heather says:

    Hi, My name is Heather and I have some questions.
    I was wondering if all the Van Tassels came from Cornelius? My mom’s maiden name is Van Tassel and her father (whom I have never met) was James “Rick” Eric Van Tassel (Deceased). My Uncle and I have been trying to research our lineage and I stumbled onto this website. I know and understand that there might not be an answer for us, being as how I don’t know the names of my family tree past my grand father, (apparently its a touchy subject). But if there was a specific website you used that could lead me down the correct path, that would be most appreciated! :)

    • Jerry says:

      What area of the country are you located? Maybe that could give us an idea of which branch may be most likely associated with your specific heritage. For instance, after the initial group of Vantassel’s branched out my particular branch relocated to Erie and Crawford Counties in Northwestern, PA, Mayville New York and for a brief time into Quebec, Canada. We are currently intouch with several branches across the US and if we knew the region someone may be associated with your particular branch of the tree…. Also what is your grandfathers name and date of birth and if he is unfortunately passed the date of death as well…if he was born in the early 1900′s there is a chance that my records may have him listed as the child of somone who is on our respective reference materials…and then you can back fill. I too had a difficult time in ascertaining my heritage too mine was largely due to the fact that I was adopted and never knew my birth mother until about a year or so ago….


  44. Gertie Cole says:

    My heart lept when I read that we descendants of Catoneras are welcomed by our Montaukett Nation family. Thank you!

  45. Janet Smith says:

    My sister and I have been doing research on my mother’s family after her recent passing and have found a connection to Catoneras through the Van Tassell/ Brush/ Burr lines. I have read through the comments and am more interested in the story behind the Van Tassell/Catoneras marriage. Can you recommend any sources or histories that accurately describe the marriage?

  46. Donald S says:

    I and many of my family members of the NJ Sand Hill Lenape and Cherokee Indians. We were mainly from NY, still some on L.I. Your site is very welcome to me. We prove our heritage via written records, many held by the NY State Archives from Dutch and English records.
    Our,family agree that we are Lenape of the Munsee people. I would be interested in an affiliation with the Montaukett people when that is an acceptable practice.

  47. admin says:

    Robert Wyandance Pharaoh, Sachem of the Montauketts has declared that there is a need for all indigenous descendants of the Long Island area to put tribal partisanship aside and unite into a confederation of sorts to pursue and protect our mutual interests. Hopefully, many people from the diverse indigenous groups in our area will share his point of view.

  48. Jacob says:

    I am of the same decendence of Jerry from what my sister has found with all our family records (Cantoneras being my 10th Great Grandmother). I would also like to gain membership to the tribe and would like to know how I can go about it.

    • Jerry says:

      Aho! Jacob,

      You can visit website and there is a request form for an application to be sent. You will also bnneed copies of all your documentation. The more the better. You will also want to outline your direct lineage for ease of viewing by the tribal geneaologist. Follow the directions on the application forme and send it to the Matouwac Research PO Box. It woul dbe up to you whether you send the fee at the same time or not. Some prefer to wait and see if thier documentation is satisfactory first. Best of luck…there is also a Facebook page for the Montaukett natin that you can join and there is plenty of help there.


  49. Jacob says:

    Forgive my spelling…Catoneras (not Cantoneras) is my 10th great grandmother on my mother’s side through the Van Tassel line. I also spelled descendant incorrectly. I also want to thank you all for this site and for all the other sites associated. I have always had a strong feeling that my family had Native American ancestry but we would never prove it until my cousin came across the paperwork that he has been looking at for a while before sharing them (he was really happy and wanted to make sure he was throurough before sharing the information with everyone else). I am so very happy to finally have this information and to prove to myself what I have felt for so long. I hope to be able to join the Montaukett Nation to reclaim that part of my historical bloodline and ancestry and to help our numbers grow and unite across the Nation to help reclaim what was once lost. Thank you for your time and I really look forward to hearing back from you on how I can join our Great Nation.

  50. Barry Moses says:

    Hello. I am a member of the Spokane Tribe through my father, and a descendant of Catoneras through my mother.

    Because of my family history, I am very interested in learning as much as possible about Catoneras. Like others on this board, I have grown discouraged with people who insist that she was the daughter of Wyandance despite having no documentation to support their claims. A genealogist I know once said, “Genealogy without documentation is mythology.”

    I’m not sure that I can contribute much to the Catoneras research, but I do want to start a discussion about her name. I’m not an expert in Long Island languages by any means, but when I first read Catoneras’ name, it seemed faintly ‘non-Indian.’ On my reservation in Washington State, we have many English names that were ‘Indianized’ during the missionary period. For example, Michael became Misel in the Spokane Language; Mary became Mali, Peter became Piel, Katherine became Katali, and so forth. Being familiar with this pattern, I have often wondered if the name Catoneras was really an Indianized version of the Dutch name Catharina.

    There is precedent for this elsewhere. For example, the recently canonized Saint Kateri was also based on the name Catherine.

    Is it possible that Catoneras converted to Christianity and received this as a Christian name? Is there any evidence of Catharina Van Tassel in the church records, for example, instead of Catoneras? Along these lines, is there anyone who still speaks the language of that region? If so, perhaps that person could tell us how our Native ancestors on Long Island might have pronounced Catharina. But even if this theory is all wrong, can anyone tell us what Catoneras might have meant in the original language?

    This may be a ‘long shot’ theory, but I had to ask.

  51. Barry Moses says:

    One more thought on the name…. the following Wikipedia article has many variations of the name Catherine in multiple languages. You’ll notice that the Dutch language has about a dozen different ways of saying the name. Now consider that the name may have been ‘Indianized’ AND that the early colonists had not yet developed standardized spellings. It doesn’t seem that far-fetched to me, but I’m interested in reading what others might think of this theory.

    Here’s the article:

    • Jerry says:

      The first occurrence of the name Catharine or Catrina in the Van Texel/Tassel lineage would have been in the second generation after arriving in the new country. Jan Cornelissen Van Tassel, son of Cornelius and Catoneras was married to Annetje Alberts and had nine children. The second born was, Catherine Catrina Tassel, b. 1664. She was Catoneras’ grand-daughter. The next occurrence of a Catharine occurred, in my lineage, in the third generation. Catharine Van Texel, b. 31 Aug 1720 was the eigth born child of Jacob Van Texel and Aeltie Storm and would have been Catoneras’ Great Grand-Daughter. Coincidentally this Catherine I am told was the inspiration for the Katrina Van Tassel character of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” fame.

      There were no indications in the Old Dutch Church records that I could find that indicated that Catoneras converted to Catholic Church. So any speculation in that would be just speculation.

      I have seen colonial accounts only that indicate that Catoneras only became known as such “after” her marriage which would indicate she was known by another name prior. The name most associated was “Heather Flower” or Qwashawam the daughter of Wyandanch. Indicating that they could have been one and the same person. But no documentation exists that would validate this and therefore as you stated…mythology.

      Your hypothesis stating that Catoneras somehow came from an “indianized” interpretation of Catharine or some derivation of Catharine is interesting, but to me would be indicative of a colonial female, Dutch or otherwise, somehow became the wife or consort of a Montaukett male and became known by tribal members as Catoneras because of a misunderstanding or mis-interpretation of the colonial name. This also has no valid proof or supporting documentation as it would have been greatly frowned upon at that time.

      In my research into the Van Tassel lineage I did come across an interesting tidbit about a family bible in the 5th generation in my lineage at Theodore Van Texel (Tassel). Descendants of Theodore and Henry Van Texel spoke of the house burning and the loss of the family Bible, undoubtedly the house of Theodore. This family bible may have been a vital link into the research on Catoneras but we will never know.

      The fact is that the facts are lost and speculation abounds. I prefer just to be content in knowing the regardless if my ancestor was in direct lineage with Wyandanch or not I am happy to know that I share native american roots with my fellow tribal members and that she is recognized as a Long Island Native American.


      • Barry Moses says:


        You are absolutely correct that my theory is mostly speculation. I make no claims to special knowledge regarding the religious or naming practices of the Long Island Indians.

        However, given the history of Christian evangelism among Native Americans over the last 400 years, my theory is not that far fetched. Thousands of Native American individuals were pressed to abandon their tribal identities and to accept Christian names. In fact, I have in my possession a copy of Indian marriage records from the early 1800s that clearly demonstrate a pattern of tribal peoples being forced to change their names when they received the sacraments of the church, including the sacrament of marriage. The fact that Catoneras was known by a different name before her marriage actually supports my thesis because it fits a documented pattern of Native-Christian relations that was repeated across the continent. Among my direct Native American ancestors, every documented name change came as a result of receiving the sacraments of baptism or marriage.

        I am also aware of of hundreds of documented cases where those Christian names were ‘Indianized’ by their respective communities. In the example of Saint Kateri, her baptismal name was Katherine, but she was called Kateri by her community. This was not a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation, as you suggest, but was simply the tribal way of pronouncing her name.

        Again, I am not claiming any special knowledge. Nothing I have suggested proves anything. I simply mean to suggest a possible way of thinking that is different than previous lines of research. Maybe it will bear fruit, maybe not. Maybe the Christian naming patterns that played out across North American tribes did not apply to Catoneras. I don’t know, but that won’t stop me from asking.

        As a Native American person myself, I can tell you that names are very important within most tribal societies. Sometimes people ask me to interpret Spokane Tribal names that they encounter during the course of their own genealogical research. Based on the morphology, I can often gain important insights into the family origin. One thing is certain: in my own language, I can almost always identify the names that were original to our people as opposed to the ‘Indianized’ Christian names.

        I don’t know the current status of Long Island languages. Maybe the original languages are extinct, or maybe like the Wampanoag of Massachusetts, the languages were well documented within the colonial literature. My whole intention in raising this point is to suggest that if documentation of the language exists, or if living speakers remain, perhaps an analysis of the name is possible. Perhaps the name itself bears clues to the family origin or to the family history.

        My motivation for asking this question actually has little to do with genealogy. Like you, I am content to know that I am descended from the Native Americans of Long Island, and I really don’t care if Catoneras was the daughter of Wyandance or some other person.

        For me, I have always longed to understand the cultural origins of Catoneras. History has given us so much about the Dutch or the English, but relatively little about her people. What if someone analyzed her name and discovered that it had some relationship to a clan name? Wouldn’t that be valuable to know? Or what they analyzed the name and found that my Christian theory is supported? That would be wonderful to know also. I don’t have a vested interest in the outcome; I simply want to understand our grandmother ancestor.

        Finally, as I have read this website, I have been moved by the courage of the Long Island tribes, especially the Montaukett, as they fight to retain their culture and sovereignty. In my experience, these kinds of research questions tend to support tribal efforts as they battle the state. The more tribes can document their cultural depth, the more public entities like corporations or state legislatures tend to sympathize with our causes.

        • mike nighteagle hine says:

          what if wyandances wife was related to powhatton and catonaras was her daughter from a former union and wyandances step daughter?

          • admin says:

            NightEagle – The overarching problem is that all of the early history of the Montaukett comes only from one source – Lyin’ Gardiner. All subsequent historians (even one that claims to be Montaukett) simply repeated Gardiner’s story. When you repeat lies enough it becomes the “truth.” Our goal is to start from the opposite position – where we don’t accept anything Lion Gardiner wrote – and then weed through each incident to either verify or discount it. We must start from the time when the English Settlers first arrived on Eastern Long Island. Since there is no written history from the Montaukett standpoint, this job is daunting. However, we can use logic to test Gardiner’s claims – and later – when we are done – we will add some archaeological data we’ve collected but not ready to make public.

            The story of Catoneras did not originate from Gardiner’s writings. He does write his story about getting Wyandanch’s daughter back from Ningret, however Gardiner never included the name of Wyandanch’s daughter. The first incident that we could find where Catoneras’ name was mentioned was in a book written at the turn of the 20th century by a Van Tassel historian. Since he did not cite where he got that information from, most historians today believe that he simply took Gardiner’s story and incorporated it in Van Tassel history – maybe to romanticize the story of Catoneras to portray that a Van Tassel didn’t marry a “common” Indian woman. We don’t deny that a Van Tassel married an Indian woman. We also don’t deny that she may have been a Sachem’s daughter. We simply doubt that she could have been related to Wyandanch. By the time Wyandanch was supposedly travelling all over Long Island signing one treaty or another he was a very old man. When he was young, in the early 17th century, it is not likely that he would have travelled 80 miles west into Matinnicock territory for romantic reasons. We are still waiting for someone to come up with documents that show Catoneras even existed, but we are not questioning her existence. The only verifiable records we can find of a daughter of Wyandanch is Quashawam (which loosely translates to heather flower). She became Sachem after the death of Wyandanch and his son. There is no record that she had a sister. There are verifiable records that she lived on the Montaukett territory. There are no records to prove that she was ever kidnapped. However, we are still optimistic that Van Tassel family researchers will find some record of Catoneras and share this us.

        • Barbara Mills says:

          I too think that there may be something to the idea of looking at names and particularly place names and I recently spent some time going thru Wm Wallace Tooker’s book and is this what I found from Wm Wallace Tooker’s book The Indian Place Names on Long Island and Island Adjacent and their probable Signification…
          Clues to Catoneras that I would like to have you consider:
          122KETANOMOCKE: Indianvillage at Huntington – A deed from Wm Jones to Robt Seeley Dec 22, 1662 says Theopholis Eaton, Esq, late Goveronor of New Haven Colony Deceased, unto whom the lands mentioned
          were given or granted by Ruscurocon Sagamor of CUTONOMACK in the presence of sundry indians = have, etc” (H.R., vol i., p. 42).
          A certificate dated Aug 17 1663 states that a deed of Eaton’s Neck was given to Theophils Eaton in 1646 viz: “we…testifie that Resorokon, Sagamore of Ketanomocke of Long Island now called by the English
          Hungtington, Did give and grant to Thophilus Eaton, Esq. and Goveronor of New Haven, etc” (H.R., vol i. p 49). Also occurs as
          Ketewomoke. This was probably one of the palisadoed villages of the tribe and where teh Sachem Resorokon’s big house or wigwam was located at
          that period *1646), but not the place from which the tribal name of Matinnicock was derived. Resorkokon, or Ras
          Reseokan in other deeds is called the Sagamore of the Matinnicoke.Sec’y Van Tienhoven of New Netherland, 1650, wrote of what is probably the village:
          “the smallest stream runs up in front of the Indian village, called Martinne houck, where they have their plantations. This tribe is not strong and consists of about 30 families. There were
          formerly in and about this bay, great numbers of Indian Plantations, which now lie waste and vacant” (Col Hist NY., vol i. p. 366). This name must be assign to Trumbll’s Class 3, i.e..
          “those formed from verbs, denoting a place where the action of the verb is performed.”
          The first part KETAN (Naragansett Kitthan) signifies “the sea”; =om is the verb of motion in its simple form; = muck having the termination of the third
          person singular of the conditional present passive, “where or when a thing is.” Hence we have Ketan-om-much, “where the sea flows”, “ther shore”, or “beach”.
          Ruttenber confuses this name with that of Crab Meadow. See Arhakaamunk
          Now for my thinking…
          Ketan is similar to Caton-eras.and as you saw, Ketan also got spelled with a C as in Cutonmack…
          Since we now believe that Catoneras wasnot Wyandance’s daughter but perhaps a sister or an Aunt…and more likely from the Mattinecock tribe making her probably a sister or aunt to Tackepousha instead…well, I’m wondering, do you think that the meaning for her name likely is related to this word Ketan? Now, this Resorokan is probably the same person we know as Asharoken…but they probably royally messed up the spelling of his name on documents back then…and its known that Asharoken was Takapousha’s father…
          My mind has been thinking about these connections and I’m wondering if you think there might be anything to them.

          • admin says:

            Thanks for the comment, Barbara. Although, the area now called Huntington was part of Matinnicock territory, the Matinnecock main territory was Queens. They were related to the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) nation, and spoke the Munsee dialect variation of the Algonquian language. The Montaukett on the other hand were related to the Mohegan/Pequot Nation, and consequently spoke the Pequot variation of the Algonquian tongue. Given these differences, it is hard to imagine how Catoneras could have been a close relative of Wyandanch. What we would like to see is an original document from that period that has the name Catoneras in it, or one that mentions Catoneras in any way. There are many period documents that mention Quashawam as daughter of Wyandanch. If Catoneras was also his daughter, or in any way related to him, that would have made her as prominent as an Indian could get under early European colonization. When Lyin’ Gardiner spun the tale about Wyandanch’s daughter being kidnapped and his subsequent heroic rescue of that daughter, Mr. Gardiner never mentioned the kidnapped daughter’s name. The first record we found of Catoneras – and her being tied to Wyandanch was based on the Lyin’ Gardiner kidnap fairy story.This was written by a Van Tassel in 1911. If anyone has other (preferably earlier) documentation that mentions Catoneras, we would very much like to see it.

  52. I also am among a large group of family member’s by bloodline to the Van tassel family. My Ancestry is documented on the Straggi Family Tree on My mother was Mary Anita Nielsen and the Eveland family has deep roots in New York for many years. We have heard through most of my life of this story and I am 60 years old now but remember in detail of this historical part of our family history. I will continue to research what is available and hope the state of New York will treat the Montauk Tribe with the respect and dignity they so long deserve. My prayers are with the tribe and it’s leaders. Thanks Kathleen

  53. debradee says:

    As I mentioned earlier, I believe I read somewhere that Cantoneras and Heather Flower were the same woman. Cantoneras was the Spanish name given to her after she went to Spain and was baptized there so her Christian marriage to Cornelius would be recognized as legitimate, since marriages between Europeans and Native Americans were not recognized at that time in America, or something to that effect.

    • admin says:

      You are making two points here. The first point is that Catoneras is Heather Flower. There is no proof of this – but there is compelling evidence that the name “Heather Flower” was more likely attributed to Wyandance’s verified daughter, Quashawam. The name, Quashawam loosely translated in the Algonquian dialect spoken by the Montaukett (Algonquian word kpipskwáhsawe) means “flower of the woods.” Quashawam is clearly identified as Wyandance’s daughter by early Easthampton records. She became Grand Sachem after Wyandance’s death.

      The idea that the name “Catoneras” was given so an Indian woman could be married Christian-style to Cornelius Van Tassel is logical and a distinct possibility. I wish some Van Tassel famiy members would provide some historical documents such as town records that mention Catoneras. We have not been able to find any. The Huntington Historical Society has early records concerning Eaton’s Neck and Crab Meadow.

      Finally. it is unfortunate that so many so-called “geneaology” websites propagate stories about Catoneras without providing any reference material to bloster their claims. Long Island Indian History is inundated with anecdotal claims that, when repeated enough, becomes the accepted truth. We are serious about weeding out the history from the myth. In order to do this, we begin with the premise that everything written about the early colonial occupation of Long Island is false. From that perspective, we have been able to weed out many “myths” propagated especially by master storyteller Lion Gardiner. This story of him heroically rescuing Wyandance’s daughter. “Heather Flower” and the later Van Tassel family elaboration of this “rescued” daughter as being Catoneras doesn’t pass our logic test. But, as long as one can google “Catoneras” and read this “Pocohantas” style story over and over again, we will always be bombarded with claims of Catoneras being Wyandanc’s daughter. This is unfortunate. Hopefully, one day we will be able to discern the actual truth about who Catoneras really was.

  54. Barbara Mills says:


    The idea you presented that our grandmother Catoneras may have gone to Spain and been baptised there may provide us with some additional records to prove her existence from churches over in Spain. Do you have any documentation sources we can look to for these records? Or is this more speculation that is unprovable???

  55. whats your take on this?[22] In the Smithtown’s records, there is an interesting account that raises some other questions about the aboriginal ownership of these lands. On June 22, 1666, Pauquatoun one of Wyandanch’s elder advisors, testified before two East Hampton officials that the land around the Nissequogue belonged to Wyandanch’s grandmother who passed the title along to Wyandanch, Nasseconseke, and Asharoken (William Pelletreau, Ed., Town Records of Smithtown, Vol. 1 (Sag Harbor, NY: Hunt, 1898-1931), 16-17. Wyandanch’s daughter, Quashawam testified at the same time that all of these sachems were kindred to Tackapousha. This testimony indicates that all four sachems were related, but the linguistic studies done by Ives Goddard suggest that there were significant differences in language between the Mohegan-Pequot dialect on eastern Long Island groups, the Quiripi spoken by the Unkechaug (Poospatuck) and Matinnecock in the center of Long Island, and the Lenape dialect spoken on western long Island and eastern New Jersey (Ives Goddard, “Eastern Algonquian Languages,” in Handbook of the North American Indians, vol. 15, The Northeast, edited by Bruce Trigger (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1978), 70-77.

    • admin says:

      Aquay Nighteagle

      This is a perfect example of how the English manipulated and manufactured records to steal Indian lands. In Wyandanch’s grandmother’s time, long before the European occupation, Long Island Indians had tribal or clan boundaries, but the concept of individual ownership of a plot of land was unknown to them. So you have to ask yourself, where did this supposed title come from that Wyandanch’s grandmother passed on to Wyandanch? Even if there was such a document, it certainly wouldn’t have been decipherable by any Englishmen – since there is no record of Long Island indigenous written text. In other words, IMHO this is more colonial bullshit plain and simple. You make a good point about the language differences. Our take on the Montaukett is that the core tribe comprised the Montaukett, Shinnecock, Corchaug and Manhassett bands who were closely related to the Pequot/Mohegan nations of New England. The Unkechaug migrated to Long Island from New England in pre-colonial times, but spoke a different Algonquian dialect than the Montaukett. It might have been the same dialect as the Matinnecock. I don’t know for sure. I do know that the Matinnecock tribe were related to the Delaware/Lenne Lenape nation. The Matinnecock were pretty much annihilated by the Dutch along with the Canarsees and Rockaways. However, some escaped by migrating east of the present day Queens border line and into Huntington/Smithtown. These Matinnecocks, along with the Unkechaug, Montaukett and Shinnecock bands formed a self-defense confederacy called by various historians the Montauk or Matouwac confederacy. The Corchaugs and Manhassetts were absorbed into the Montaukett tribe, thus creating the largest of the eastern Long Island bands, hence the name of the confederacy. Takapousha was the sachem of the Merrick Quashawam’s supposed testimony could easily have been misinterpreted. She did not speak English, so whatever she said must have passed through the filter of an interpreter, and was undoubtedly further “manipulated” by Gardiner to support his claim for that territory. Of course, Wyandanch had to be portrayed as being related to Nasseconseke and Asharoken because the territory in question should rightly be under the authority of the Matinnecock tribe. Takapousha was the sachem of the Meroke (Merrick) tribe who was made extinct by Mr. Underhill. They spoke the Lenne Lenape dialect, so he couldn’t be closely related to Wyandanch. It’s hard to talk about the history of the systematic territory confiscation perpetrated by the colonials using questionable deeds, false testimonies and fake treaties which were validated solely by colonial “witnesses.” These atrocities go on to this day, because it is undoubtedly the case that the NY state blockage of Montaukett recognition is based on the fear of possible land claims if the tribe is given any form of legal standing. But, the fight goes on and there will be no backing down this time around.

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