Tag Archives: John Russell Hayes

A Class featuring “Indian Hannah”

Between writing projects last year, I was busy with several classes hosted by the Chester County Night School.

Here’s one example:

Get to know the history of a region that was once predominately Quaker residents who had their own way of working with the native Lenape Indians and developing the area’s resources. Two classroom sessions will include illustrated lectures and discussions about the book, A Lenape Among Quakers. The third night will conclude with a walking tour of the borough of Kennett Square.


As part of my lecture,  generally include photos such as this one. It depicts  the famous Indian burial ground in Northbrook, Chester County.  I find it interesting that the site was discovered by chance –  a farmer was out hunting with his dogs and they dug up some bones.

Note the tiny figures. One man is John Russell Hayes (1866-1945), who was nationally known at the time as the “The Bard of the Brandywine.”  He wrote the popular poem of “Indian Hannah” that featured the line “last of her race,” underscoring the legend that the native woman listed as “Hannah Freeman” on early documents was the last Lenni Lenape Indian to live in Chester County.  (I say “legend” since there were other native Indians still living in the county but “Indian Hannah” was the most famous.)

Indian H burial marker







Hayes was also responsible for honoring her with a plaque placed on a stone.  He is shown here at the extreme left at the plaque’s location at the former Chester County Poorhouse.  However, her real grave is unmarked and is at somewhere in “Potter’s field,” now under the management of the Natural Lands Trust’s Cheslen Preserve. At one point, they had a map you could download to walk to the site. https://natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/cheslen-preserve/