13. Van Cortlandt Park

Van Cortlandt Park

In around the 14th or 15th century, the Wiechquaskeck, a Munsee-speaking band of Wappinger people, settled in the forests of Van Cortlandt Park. They formed the village of Keskeskick (Mosholu), which relied on the nearby Spuyten Duyvil Creek and Hudson River. In 1646, Dutch settler Adriaen van der Donck purchased the land and paid chief Tacharew, and his house was built on present-day Van Cortlandt Lake. Van der Donck’s wife and other Dutch settlers were forced to flee to Manhattan from the Bronx in the Peach Tree War, a large attack by several tribes including the Susquehannock along the Hudson River.

Today, the park includes Indian Field, which honors Chief Abraham Ninham and the 17 Mohican Indians who died here when aiding the Americans in the Revolutionary War. The Mohicans tracked the British as they traveled through the Bronx and reported their advances to the revolutionaries. While following the British in Van Cortlandt Park East, the British discovered them and forced them into the woods, where they were later killed.