John Killbuck Jr.

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  • John Killbuck Jr.
  • Chief Killbuck
  • 1737
  • 1811
    Goshen, Ohio

Biographical sketch

  • Gelelemend (John Killbuck, Jr.) - born 1837 in Pennsylvania and died 1811 in Goshen, Ohio.
    • son of Bemino (John Killbuck) - born 1710s and died 1780s
      • grandson of Netawatwees - born between 1677-1686 in the Delaware River Valley and died 1776

It is believed that Netawatwees was born in the Delaware River Valley sometime between 1677 and 1686. During this time, the Delaware Nation were being driven westward and his group ended up in what is today, Ohio. When Netawatwees grew up, he became a chief of the town of Gekelemukpechunt, near present-day Newcomerstown, Ohio. He was a friend to the Moravian missionaries and an ally to the American rebel forces against the British. He passed away in 1776. Netawatwees (d. 1776) is often referred to the first Chief Killbuck.

Netawatwees' son, Bemino (aka John Killbuck), became an important leader in the Delaware Nation. He was a medicine man and a noted war leader during the French and Indian War. He sided with the French. When the American Revolution erupted, Bemino sided with the "Americans".Bemino formed Killbuck Town, just north of present-day Holmesville, Ohio.

Bemino's son, Gelelemend (aka John Killbuck, Jr.), was born in 1837 in Pennsylvania. Like his father and grandfather, he grew to greatness. He, along with Chief White Eyes, was involved with the signing of the Fort Pitt Treaty. This was signed on 17 September 1778. This treaty promised a "perpetual peace and friendship" between the two nations (Lenape, aka Delaware, and Colonial America). The Lenape would permit the Continental Army to cross their lands. The Lenape tribe would guide the Continental Army to the British locations, and the warriors of the tribe would join with the troops of the United States in their battle against Great Britain. Unfortunately, the militia assassinated Chief White Eyes, causing a split in the Delaware Nation. Gelelemend was forced out of power. Gelelemend guided Captain Brodhead on an expedition to destroy Coshocton, the former Delaware Nation capital. In 1788, Gelelemend joined the Moravians and was baptized as William Henry. He died in 1811 in Goshen, Ohio. He is buried next to Moravian minister David Zeisberger near the restored Moravian village of Schoenbrunn.


The following war council speech can be found in the History of Wayne County, Ohio on pages 228-229 [1]

"We know well what the English want. Your own traders say that you intend to take all our lands and destroy us. It is you who have begun the war. Why do you come here to fight? how have you treated the Delawares? You know how the Iroquois deceived us into acting as peace mediators; how they shames us, and took our arms; put petticoats on us; called us women, and made us move three times away from our homes. And, why? Because the English paid them a few beads, and blankets, and paint, and when their senses were stolen away with fire-water they sold our lands; but we tell you this must cease. We are no longer women, but men - men who can strike, and kill, and..."

The speech started by Gelelemend was finished by another warrior, Shingiss.

"...Yes! We are men, and no longer women! We have thrown off the petticoat of the squaw, and have seized the keen tomahawk of the 'brave.' I speak as one sanding on his own ground. Why do you come to fight on our land? Keep away! both French and English. The English are poor and stingy. They give us nothing but a few beads, some bad rum, and old worn-out guns, which kick back and break to pieces; and their traders cheat us and fool our squaws and maidens. But I tell you we won't suffer it longer."

External links


  1. Douglass, Ben. History of Wayne County, Ohio. Indianapolis, IN: Robert Douglass, 1878.