The first people to live in the Mount
Laurel area were the Lenni Lenape
Indians. Their territory was the Delaware River Basin which
is now southeastern New York, eastern Pennyslvania and most of
Delaware and New Jersey. The word Lenape (len-ah-pee) means "original
Go to the Delaware
of Lenni-Lenape Area
The Lenape Indians lived in bark
houses called wigwams. The
frame was made by bending branches to form a dome shape. These
branches were tied together with vines or leather thongs. The
wigwam was then covered by bark or hides. There was a hole at
the top to let out smoke from the small fireplace inside.
here to view a modern day wigwam being built!
Click to see a longhouse
| The inside of the wigwam was
very plain. There was a warm hide of some kind to cover the dirt
floor. Other hides were used for sitting or sleeping. Sometimes
a small frame raised from the floor was used for sleeping also.
|Men and boys hunted deer, wolves, raccoons,
rabbits, bear, turkeys and pheasants. They were in charge of butchering,
skinning and getting the animals they had killed ready for cooking.
The Lenni Lenape used every part of the animals they had killed.
|Women, girls and young boys farmed
and gathered nuts and berries and fished for clams, crabs, oysters
and fish. The women and older girls did the cooking, often making
a stew from the foods they had found.
used by the Lenapes
| Stone, wood and bones were used
by the Lenapes to make tools.
| The Lenape used beads and shells
for decorations and wampum. The
strands of beads often told stories. The shells were collected when
the Lenape traveled along foot trails through Burlington pine forests
to get to the ocean. These same foot trails later became the major
highways on which we drive to get to the shore.