The Necklace
     Hannah's Necklace Mystery
The Necklace

  After securing a reasonably good copy of the photograph, I located  two experts*
    who identified the necklace as a relic from the Iroquois Six Nations Confederacy
   and/or Northern Cherokee. The necklace is what they call a 'family necklace' which
   is quite common and essentially the equivalent of wearing your genealogy or a coat of
   arms around your neck. It  was generally passed on from mother to daughter in a
   matrilineal society.  I believe Hannah Maria wanted us to know her heritage, though
   she and her children and grandchildren were forbidden to speak of it due to prevailing 
   prejudices. It is likely that at her death, Hannah was buried with this piece of her

The pendant part of the necklace is especially perplexing to even the most expert of my
   sources. At first, I thought it was a small, animal vertebrae  hanging from the main body
 of the necklace. The choker portion of the necklace appeared to be teeth or claws (possibly shark's teeth or turtle claws)
 with spacers or beads between. But through further research, I have discovered other possibilities. (see below).
 Humorously, the family  thought they were looking at a bear claw necklace, which it obviously IS NOT.  She may
 have had that type of necklace, but it wouldn't have been a family necklace.

 Following the Snake . . .
 Elders from two different tribes have indicated they believe the necklace was a figure of a snake. In Cherokee myth
 there is a story about the Uktena, which is a mythic snake.  There are many stories regarding this serpent and its supposed
 'medicine' in the cosmology of the Cherokee religious beliefs. One of the foremost Indian historians of the19th century, James
 Mooney wrote several essays on Uktena. See:  James Mooney

 One myth about the Uktena can be read at the Cherokee Phoenix website. On this site, there is a drawing that looks
 similar in representation to the one in the photo, but I have not yet found anyone who can verify if this is indeed what exists
 on Hannah's necklace, nor the history behind it.

 Other people have looked at the necklace and commented the hanging segment represented a Celtic knot. If the pendant
 represents a Celtic knot, one would reason the material from which it is manufactured would be silver.  The northeastern
 Indians had a lot of metal ornamentation, which originated from English trade goods. There are some excellent resources
 that show hundreds button, gorget, and pendant designs, but none that look like this  pendant. see: Beauchamp, William M.,
 Metallic Ornaments of the New York Indians,
New York State Museum Bulletin 73. 1903

 There are some Mississippian culture, copper figures that resemble the design, but are flat two-dimensional designs.

 The Mohican (Mahican) tribe has a symbol that is similar to this design, but it is flattened and two-dimensional. (see below).
 Sculpted in the proper way, the symbol below could be a manifestation of what we can see on the pendant. This is the
"Many Trails"  symbol used by the Stockbridge Mohicans.

The Mohegan tribe, too, has a similar symbol.  One can view it at: Mohegan button 
 The lore surrounding it is as follows, and is borrowed from the Mohegan site.
 "The button is thought to be from the mid-eighteenth century.  The carving
  design in the Mohegan Tribal symbol and has very ancient meaning.  The four
  large domes point to each of the sacred four directions.  The design represents
  the back of the Grandfather Turtle upon whose back all life was created or the
  wigwams where the Mohegans lived.  The v-shaped designs between the mounds
  of the domes are parts of the Tree of Life, which grows from the roots of Mohegan
  ancestors and branches toward future generations.  The small dots represent
Unfortunately, I was unable to reproduce the button on this page, so one must
  shift from this site to the Mohegan Button to compare.

The fact that the N.E. tribes are closely related and are descended from the Leni
  Lenape, or grandfather tribe, help us to understand the similarities in symbolism and inter-
  relationships between the tribes.  The Seneca for instance, have a similar traditional story.
  See: Seneca Traditions. 

  By viewing former family genealogy it is thought that perhaps Hannah's family actually began with the Wampanoag Tribe
  When the Wampanoag underwent grave changes during the colonization of America, the family was assimilated along the
  way with tribes who resided in the inland interiors of Vermont, Connecticut and New York.  We pick up Hannah's  great
  grandfather,  John Newberry in Groton, Connecticut in the early 1700's, who was descended from Tryal Newberry.
  The pilgrims  met The Wampanoag 
tribe led by Massasoit when they landed at Plymouth. Another arm of the family who
  intermarried with the Newberry's in the 1840's  has been traced back to the Wampanoag of Gay Head. Hannah's sister
  Lecty was married to George John Wixon who descends from Massasoit.

  After following this research into archaeological tribal history, it is possible that my primary assumption that the "teeth
  or claws" scenario is incorrect.  In studying a monograph from the Rochester Museum and Science Center,( who have
  a tremendous collection, and house the Louis Henry Morgan Iroquoian exhibit) I found a photo which I think may
  illustrate the chocker portion of Hannah's necklace.*  The necklace below is an antiquity from the 1600's. The
  description is as follows. Shell necklace (detail) from the Power House Site, Seneca Iroquois, c. A.D. 1640-1660. 
  bird effigies, length of bird effigies 4-6 cm (RMSC 856124)


  Hannah's Time

  My sources say the items on Hannah's necklace gave her  "important or special"  tribal social standing, such as a "Beloved
  Woman".  Investigation still continues regarding her status. Very little is available biographically about Hannah Maria.  Her life
  was controlled by her circumstances. She was apparently not literate, though  her brothers and father were. (A family journal
  exists written partially in her father's hand.  Other accounts of the family are written in her husband's hand.)

 Oral family lore said that she was a medicine woman. At this point in time (2005) the native people who have chosen to
 comment on her status say that there is nothing special about her tribal affiliation.  Born in 1823 and raised up in an LDS family,
 after 1831 but not baptized until 1843,  any uniqueness as to her heritage was probably lost forever, as times were brutal for
 native people. One thing is certain, in the autumn of her life she attempted to bring her two worlds together posing for
 a photographer  wearing her family necklace.

 The complete answer, when it comes, will ultimately be from elders of the proper tribe within  the Six Nations or the modern
 Mahican Confederacy or Cherokee Nation. The New England tribes pushed to near extinction, joined with other the Iroquoian
 tribes and pushed to the western frontier.
Most of those joined their cousins and brothers in New York, before being forced
 west to Ohio and then to other
reserves, where the United States government always forced them to cede their lands to advancing
 settlers. It is interesting to study and understand the dynamics and relationships with the tribes. One would think that each tribe
 was an entity in itself, and to some extent that is true, but all the tribes are inter-related and the process of understanding these
 relationships can boggle the mind of the uninitiated.

 Hannah's  line was diluted with European ancestry, as was often the case. In the early 19th century we believe the line was
 re-infused with Northern Cherokee ancestry. There are many possibilities but written records are scattered, or non-existent.
 None-the-less, hard to come by. This search too - continues.

 In looking into this family history, I have come a long way down a fascinating and exciting road. On the way, I have met
 family members from the mid-west who heard the same stories about their direct ancestors for the past 180 years. There
 still exists within the Newberry family, a homestead steeped in Iowa State history in Lee County, Iowa - where the original
 people set down roots in the 1830's.

Finally, I have met a lot of wonderful, supportive people who have selflessly helped to locate evidence, and in the process
 forged many new friendships. To these generous folks  who are flung like pebbles across our vast continent, I say - thank
 you for your generosity and sharing spirits!   
It seems that all the older Elders who might have known, have passed on.
 The knowledge has passed on with them.  So perhaps one day an answer will come to us,  but for now, I must put this
 aside, and ask the ancestors to send an answer. If it comes, I will surely let you all know.

 Wado,     Sue Simonich  

A special thanks to . . .

   *Dr. Donald R. Nicholson, Ph.D. (retired) Native American Affairs/History  (Cherokee)
*Robert Stewart, Archaeologist and Artist and owner of Archaic Art
    *Gwen Pouillon for all her encouragement and loving support
    *Janice Newberry Robinson for all her encouragement and support

    *Patricia Gunter,  (Cherokee)  fellow researcher     

Resources: (this is a short list)
* Hammett, Julia E. and Beverly A. Sizemore, "Shell beads and Ornaments: Socioeconomic Indicators of the Past". In Proceedings of the
1986 Shell Bead Conference: Selected Papers. C. F. Hayes III, ed. Pp. 125-138. Research Records No. 20. New York : Rochester Museum
and Science Center . 1989
*Beauchamp, William M., Metallic Ornaments of the New York Indians, New York State Museum Bulletin
* Since last fall I have contacted a non-Native author Lois Sher Dubin who has written an beautiful and authoritative volume
titled, North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment, Abrams, N. Y., N.Y.; however, she was unable to give any answer regarding
this particular object.
I also queried various museums in New York and Washington D.C..  None of whom were able to help very much.


Other Topics and Destinations:

Newberry Researcher's Corner - BRICK WALLS  This page is dedicated to the continuing research of the family and the
 researchers who continue with me to sift through the ancient records of the New England and New York.

All pages
Stage 1
/Connecticut / New York / More Newberry's in New York Samuel Smith / Smith Farm / Revolution /
Old School Baptists
/Native people in New England / Stage 2 / Ohio / Missouri / Illinois & Iowa / Nauvoo /
Flight to SW Iowa
/ The Half Breed Tract / Cutlerite membership / dissidence in NauvooDeath of James Newberry /
Wives and Family
/ Children who Went west /Stage 3 /Exodus to Utah / Utah Morrisites / Hannah's Children /
Hannah's Necklace
/ genealogy table / Addenda /Newberry Brick WallsWhispers - beginning the search /
/ Family Album / Jonathan Newberry Bible /