Chief Capoose – Hunting Grounds Reached Greenfield Township

Indian Village of Capoose along the Lackawanna River was know as “Capoose Meadow” by the earliest explorers to the lands which became Lackawanna County and Greenfield Township.

During the first half of the 1700’s, the valley along the Lackawanna River was know by the Delaware Indians as Lee-ha-ugh-hunt, which signifies the forks, or the meeting of two rivers. This river valley was inhabited by a offshoot of the Delaware Nation, the Lenni-Lenape and its minor tribes of the Minsi or Monsey. The chief of this Lackawanna valley tribe was Chief Capoose. He excelled in the art of agriculture and the manufacture of farming tools to improve his tribe’s farming production. His tribe was noted for its peaceful nature.

The hunting lands for Chief Capoose’s tribe extended up the Lackawanna River to its various headwaters and the surrounding streams and lakes that formed them. The wild game in the forests around these waters held an abundance of moose, elk, deer, panther, and bear. The lakes, marshes, streams, and rivers were enlivened with schools of perch, pike, shad, and trout. These waterways also provided ample access to the fur pelts of beaver, muskrat, and otter. Chief Capoose and his tribe lived in the bounty of the entire Lackawana Valley area.

The picturesque Capoose Meadow, where the tribe lived, was on the banks of the Lackawanna River near the confluence of the Lackawanna and the Susquehanna rivers. The village a was a few miles up the river from the precipice now known as Campbell’s Ledge – where legend says a man named Campbell jump to his death, rather than be captured by the hostile Indians chasing him. This ledge gave Capoose’s scouts an uninterrupted vista over the Wyoming valley below. It also provided the scouts a vantage point to light beacon-fires to warn approaching enemies and to signal the balance of their tribe the movements of any threatening enemy.

Campbell’s Ledge is located at the confluence of the Lackawanna River on the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River.

Chief Capoose and his Lenni-Lenape tribe, along with most of the peaceful tribes in the Delaware Nation, began moving West to Ohio and points beyond, prior to the signing of the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix. This treaty, negotiated by the Pennsylvania Colony with the Indians of the Six Nations, purchased the vast lands of Pennsylvania from its northeast corner to its southwest corner. For the Pennsylvania colonists this treaty opened new frontiers diagonally across the state for exploration and settlements with relative safety from the remaining aggressive Iroquois Indians.

After the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began issuing Land Patents, or Deeds in today’s parlance, for the lands that became Greenfield Township, Clifford Township, Fell Township, and Carbondale Township. The multi-year process for obtaining a Land Patent for the lands surrounding Newton Lake, Crystal Lake, Clifford, Dundaff, and Carbondale began in 1774 with applications, land surveys with detailed descriptions, and fees paid by those private individuals claiming vast tracts of land. Many of these Land Patents were obtained by several prominent Revolutionary War officers (John M. Nesbitt, Samuel Meredith) and descendants of Pennsylvania’s founding families (Nathan Levering).

Source: History of Lackawanna Valley, by Horace Hollister