A discussion of origins and descendants as recalled by
Don Ahshapanek* and William H. Davis



From Don Ahshapanek to Mitsawokett, 4 April 2001:

I am a direct descendant of Whittington Johnson from the Nanticoke community at Millsboro and also my mother's ancestry is from Emanuel Harman and Nathaniel Clark also from the Nanticoke community. On her father's side, Robert Salmons married Elizabeth Ridgeway from, it is believed, Tilghman Ridgeway and Sina Mosley. We are now trying to determine if we have the right Elizabeth Ridgeway, because I have discovered another born about 1840 who married Boen (Bowen) Harmon. This one is a daughter to William and Deborah Handsor Ridgeway.

From Betty Terry to Don Ahshapanek, early 2001:

You say that Elizabeth Ridgeway who married Robert Salmons/Sammons is the daughter of Tilghman and Sina (Mosley) Ridgeway. Bill Davis of Millsboro says her father was Jeremiah Jack.

We visited with Bill Davis and have not resolved the differences between you and he regarding this lineage.


From William Davis of Millsboro, Delaware, to Sandy Marshall April, 1999:

...Don's (Ahshapanek) mother, Mabel Clark--who married my mother's brother Leon--told me that her grandmother, Victoria Hood, was the great-granddaughter of (the Indian) Robin Hood. 1742 Maryland officials signed a treaty with the following Indian groups:          (Also see Winnesoccum Incident)


Indian River Indians Tom Hill and Robert Nandum
Locust Neck Indians Robin Hood and Hopping Sam
Nanticokes on Broad Creek Simon and Captain John
Nanticokes on Chicacoan John Coursey and Chinehopper


Aunt Mabel also said that her grandmother Victoria Hood's mother was Elizabeth Wright--a Mohawk Indian who migrated here from what is now Rhode Island. In order to come here she had to get permission from the colonies involved. In her old age she lived with Aunt Mable's mother Airrie (Harmon) Clark.

Also that Victoria Hood had a brother Jack Hood and that our Aunt Carrie who married John Sockum was a half sister to Jack Hood.

Regarding Mary Priscilla Ridgeway: her sister was Elizabeth Ridgeway, her brother-in-law was Robert (Bob) Sammons (Salmons), her other sisters were Aunt Hester and Aunt Teen (nickname). I knew their sons who lived about a mile from me.

Mary Priscilla Ridgeway's father was Jeremiah "Jack" (Ridgeway, Rigware, etc.) and her mother was Ellizee Barker. "Hearsay" is that Ellizee Barker was 1/2 white and 1/2 Indian and that her father was Jerry Jack (a full-blooded Indian) and her mother was an Irish indentured servant who came over on a boat to serve her indenture. Also, that Jeremiah Jack's father was a Ridgeway and mother is unknown but that his surname came from his wife's father. Somewhere along the line the "Jack" designation became Ridgeway!

Mary Priscilla Ridgeway's first husband was Alec Johnson, her 2nd husband was Alexander Mosley. Recent hearsay info was that sometime later she either married or lived with "Barth" Thompson.



From Don Ahshapanek To Celeste Marshall, 20 Apr 2001:

I am related to both the Harman and Sockum families in one way or another. My mother, Mabel M. Clark is great-great grandaughter of Nathaniel Clark who moved from the Indian River Hundred area to the Milton area in the mid 1800's and great-great granddaughter of William Salmons (Sammons) and Tilghman Ridgeway. On her mother's side, she is a great-great granddaughter of Emanuel Harman, Sr. from the Milton area and Wingate Street in Indian River Hundred. On my father's side, Albert Leon Johnson, my great grandparents were Whittington Johnson and Anne Norwood, Warren Wright and Maria E. Harmon, Wingate E. Harman, another son of Emanuel Harman, Sr. and Letitia Hanzer and Levin Sockum and Eunice W. Ridgeway.

From Don Ahshapanek to Betty Terry, 25 Apr 2001

In response to your inquiry of April 25, 2001, I am offering the following based upon your Mitsawokett site, my investigations of the census records, and my mother's memories. My mother, Mabel M. Clark is the daughter of James Evan Clark, 1886-1936, and Airie May Harman, 1886-1962. On her father's side she is the granddaughter of Wingate T. Clark, 1862-1892 and Sarah Jane Salmons, 1867-1938. She is the great-granddaughter, from Sarah Jane Salmons, of Robert Salmons, abt. 1836- abt.1910 and Elizabeth Ridgeway (Jack), abt. 1840-abt. 1910.

For many years I thought this might be a different family from the Sammons family in the Cheswold area. First of all, my mother did not understand the difference between Sammons and Salmons. When I went back to the census records, it became apparent that neither did the census takers. It was quite possible that Sammons and Salmons might actually be the same family. From your Mitswokett site, it is becoming more apparent this might be true and actually, your Sammons family might have more brothers than two.

As a matter of fact it might be true that John and Nancy Sammons actually had seven sons and I know not how many daughters. It may be that John, b. 1765, and Nancy had James, b. 1790, William, b. June 27, 1792, Benjamin, Sr. b. 1793, Isaac, Sr., b. 1798, Thomas, b. 1805, John, Jr. b. 1808, and Robert, b. 1809. To complicate matters more, John may have had a brother Benjamin also.

As for my involvement, at present I am interested in the descendants of William and Nancy because I believe this is the line from which I am descended. In order to help you in your investigations and to pinpoint what I knew about the Salmons (Sammons) family, I submitted an ancestry chart earlier this year. All that I was asking was whether any evidence had become apparent to establish more accurately that ancestry. I respect what William Davis has had to tell you, but neither of us were here when many of these people were born or died. All we can do is provide you what evidence, whether heresay or actually recordings, of what we believe to be a matter of fact and hope someone in the group can do more.

There was a William Salmons, b. 1792 and his wife Catherine (maiden name unknown). living in the Dover area in the 1850 census. They had children, Isaac, b. 1815, Hetty A., b. 1832, Charles, b. 1829, and Mary A., b. 1844. Some of these children moved between uncles and aunts and are not recorded with their parents, but this is how my mother and I guessed this happened.

Robert, b. 1832-6 was also believed to be a son. This Robert or another from one of the other brothers married Elizabeth J. Ridgeway, b. 1840 in Dover Hundred, Delaware. She was believed to be the oldest daughter of Tilghman and Sina Mosley Ridgeway. I say believed, because we have no record of who her parents were, except heresay. From this marriage came Sarah Jane Salmons, who married first Wingate T. Clark, and second Benton H. Perkins. I guess all I was asking was to have your group check out this heresay and establish it as fact or fiction. Let me also say again, you may wish to check out the site When I put in the name Robert Salmons, I came across WFT, volume 16, Tree No. 431. Of course there are many Salmons (Sammons) families across the country, I'm sure. But in this case lineage was traced from a William J. Salmons, born December 25, 1874 who married Edith Mosley, b. August 1, 1881. The Edithe Tam may actually be Edith Mosley and perhaps she married a second time. This boy I believed to be the son of Robert and Elizabeth. Also note the wife of Robert is given not as Elizabeth Ridgeway or Jack but as Wharton. Was she married again or is this really her maiden name. William J. Salmons apparently moved to the Philadelphia area and it listed his children and what was known of his siblings, such as Clara P. Salmons, George P. Salmons and their descendants. George was married twice. First to a Miriam and second to a Sadie Ridgeway, b. 1894, d. 1968. I did not think much of it until I read the names of the children and they were the same which my mother had told me about and which I had recorded, for example, Estella (Stella) (Chief Kenneth Clark's relation), Robert, Viola, Olive or Ollie, Alwilda, Edna , Marie, Ann, and William, Jr. As I said this family tree was submitted to World Family Tree (WFT) but I have no idea who submitted it, but I doubt Don Fisher. I would guess it would be a member of William Salmons's family. My mother left pictures of this part of the family, but I have no idea in many cases who I am looking at. I hope this helps, but I realize there are a lot of questions which I have not exactly put into language with question marks behind them. I am interested in either proving or disproving this Salmons (Sammons) is all one and the same family, but that some individuals chose to go with Salmons but most chose to go Sammons.

-----Original Message-----

I have tried to critique your Word 6.0 document as closely as possible. You and I both know there are probably yet many errors and until it is verified in the court records, many are just guesses. Let me make several points:
(1) I know there are many families that use Harman or Harmon. What I have tried to do is keep the name Harman as recorded for the family of Emmanuel Harman, Sr. His heirs seem to have migrated from Murderkill Hundred, possibly Frederica or nearby areas to Indian River Hundred to find spouses in many cases. But there were already Harmons in that area, so to distinguish them I have used Harman for the northern most group and Harmon for the southernmost group. It's quite possible Mitsawokett volunteers may establish a connection in the future. As to the Salmons and Sammons family, my mother said the Salmons were not related to the Sammons - two different families. But maybe in the future we will find they are related or even the same family.

When it comes to the Mosley family, I am equally dumfounded. Do I use Moseley, Mosely, or Mosley? In any event I chose to use Mosley. The family still maintains the eldest daughter of Tilghman Ridgeway and Sina Mosley was named Elizabeth and that she married Robert Salmons. I say this because just this past week in surfing the net, I was browsing the Family Tree Maker site. I plugged in the name Robert Salmons to see what it might reveal and I found one listing in Delaware. When I went to the CD with the family tree, it appeared to be the same family tree I have given you with some additional information. However, the wife of Robert Salmons was not listed as a Ridgeway, but a Wharton. This is not a familiar name to me. Was Elizabeth married twice or are we looking at the same Elizabeth. You might have your volunteers look at this issue. Look at World Family Tree, v. 16, Tree No. 431.

It is further interesting because I have pictures which my mother left me of some of the children of William John Salmons, son of Robert and Elizabeth. It is possible I am not even a descendant of Tilghman and Sina as my relatives thought. I would be interested in any developments along this line. You will note I deleted every thing beyond No. 32 in the Sixth Generation. All data given was either in error or there seems to be a lack of evidence to even hint at possibilities. On No. 31, I was not aware of the children of Eli Norwood and I thought his wife's name was Ellen Rust. Also for No. 33. Emmanuel Harman, I only knew of the two boys. Is there evidence to indicate the other siblings? In No. 39, it is interesting you indicated that Thomas Clark and Elizabeth Morris were married? Is there evidence to indicate this and the names of the children? I believe Nos. 34, 36, 38, 41, 42, and 43 are in error and should be deleted.

Interesting is the question of the parents of Victoria Hood. We know the mother was Elizabeth Wright, but the identify of the father is unknown. At one time I believed it to be Samuel Hood, Sr. or Levin Hood from Dagsboro Hundred, but no evidence. The former seems more likely if at all true. There was also some speculation at home that the Hood family from that area were descendants of Robin Hood, one of the early treaty signers for the Nanticoke Tribe, but there is no evidence to prove this point other than the name similarity.

You also asked if there were other full-bloods. I have no evidence that any of the Indians of the area in the early 1800's were full-blood, even at that time. We may have to go back another generation or two to find this to be true. The State of Delaware didn't help any. As a southern state, the census takers chose to indicate Indian people without their true designation, maybe partly because all Indians by that time, to them, were located further west in the U.S. Coupled with this is the thought that land is worth money and the more we can disenfranchise people, the more money we will make and the more land we will hold. Therefore, governmental agencies in Delaware came up with a designation of C or M for any people of color, regardless of what actual race they may have been. Generally, the designation of N didn't become apparent for our people until after the 1880's.

Most of our people took names of non-Indians in the area, they thought a lot of or they intermarried and acquired the names through this process. In the treaty period wherein the tribes made agreements with, primarily England, Sweden, Holland, English given names are often used, but surnames seem to have evolved after the United States gained its independence in 1776 mostly by intermarriage. Thus, we today have names like Johnson, Wilson, Harmon, Clark, and even Hanzer, Handsor, Hansor, or even Mosely, Mosley, Moseley, or Ridgeway, Rigware, and Salmons, Sammons, etc.

I hope this "short" note will help your group in its efforts to uncover the truth. Let me also say I am also aware of your (Lenape) efforts to gain State recognition and possibly Federal. I had hoped by now the Nanticoke would have been further along in their efforts to gain Federal recognition, but now the fear of the non-Indian constituency centers on the development of economic prosperity, particularly as it relates to casinos, so this may be a bad time to pursue it up front. My own thought is that I am both Lenape (Delaware) and Nanticoke. The two tribes are closely related, like Sac & Fox. It would have been a nice thing to pursue this as a combined effort for the tribes in Delaware, but I am aware of the fear in doing this, also. Yet the tribes in Virginia have combined to do this through the legislative process. It will be interesting to follow this attempt. I am enclosing the revised ancestral lineage.

From Don Ahshapanek to Matthew Sammons, 24 May 2001:

My mother Mabel Marie Clark is a descendant of Robert Salmons (Sammons) and Elizabeth Ridgeway, the oldest daughter of Tilghman Ridgeway and Sina Mosley. At this time, this is all speculation and based on oral accounts. My mother, now deceased, is the granddaughter of Sarah Jane Salmons (Sammons) and Wingate T. Clark. Sarah Jane also married Benton H. Perkins after the death of Wingate.

At one time we thought the Salmons family located in Broadkiln Hundred in the 1850's was different from the Sammons family in the Cheswold area. Now there seems to be evidence from the Mitsawokett site it may be all one family. It is possible that James Sammons, b. 1790, William Salmons, b. 1792, Benjamin Sammons, Sr., b. 1793, Isaac Sammons, ! Sr. b. 1798, Thomas Salmons, b. 1805, John Sammons, Jr., b. 1808, and Robert Salmons, b. 1809 are actually brothers. Some of these brothers actually moved into Canada and now use Simons.

In any event I sent to Betty and Ray Terry a copy of my lineage chart and I have transmitted to Preston the data for the Salmons (Sammons) connection. It would be nice to finally determine whether these were actually brothers and in my case if Robert M. Salmons, b. 1836 is the son of William and Catherine Salmons and was the husband of Elizabeth J. Ridgeway, the eldest daughter of Tilghman and Sina Ridgeway.

I am sending this information to you, Preston, and Betty in hopes your research group will be able to validate these suppositions.

By the way, when I was on the internet at the worldfamilytree site, I ran across a lineage chart for William P. Salmons (Salmon), b. December 25, 1874. He married Edith Mosley (Tam) and their descendants are in this chart. I believe this William to be a son of Robert and Elizabeth Salmons (Sammons) and a brother to Sarah Jane Salmons (Sammons). This William apparently went to Philadelphia and this segment of the Salmons (Sammons)(Salmon) family has removed itself from the rest of the group.

Since Preston could not retrieve it off the internet because of a cost factor, I made a copy and have it attached for all three of you. If you are unable to retrieve it, please inform me. I have put into a word text document. I trust this information will be of value to you in updating the documents for the Salmons (Sammons) family.

From Don Ahshapanek to Betty Terry, 3 Nov 2001:

One other observation I noted on the John Sammons lineage was that it still has not been established that William Salmons, b. 1792 is a descendant of John Sammons. If you will recall I mailed you an extensive family tree for Robert Salmons and Elizabeth Ridgeway (daughter of Tilghman) and descendants to date. This was not found on the John Sammons lineage. It is possible that Preston is still working on this documentation, but it did not occur on the lineage for John Sammons. Recently I have had contact with William Salmon III in Utah. He submitted a family tree to Family Tree Maker and I made this available to both you and Preston also. His information at least verifies that he is related to my mother and Robert Salmons and pictures which my mother had in her estate were those of his aunts and uncle so he tells me.

Any feedback on these problems would be appreciated. I have also informed William III of your site on Mitsawokett and I believe he has visited it several times with gratitude.

From Don Ahshapanek To Rose Marie Ridgeway:

I am sending the enclosed information because what I found on the Mitsawokett site was incorrect. I am not sure who put the family tree for Tilghman Ridgeway on the internet site, but it was not correct, nor did it follow the family tree which I left you when I visited last year. I am not a descendant of Rebecca Ridgeway, but of Elizabeth Ridgeway, his oldest daughter. No descendants of Elizabeth were entered in his family tree, but I did give than to you as I knew them. For your information, I am enclosing what my family tree has on the descendants of both Rehecca & Elizabeth. You will note I have little on Rebecca's family. Perhaps the errors entered on the site can he corrected in your next update. Should there be questions regarding the enclosed materials you may reach me at my e-mail site flentico%t;caiict. net. A happy New Year to all.

From Don Ahshapanek to Betty Terry, 25 Feb 2001:

I know this is going to sound confusing, but that is one of the good points about your site. We have an opportunity to see a point from all sides and check it against whatever written evidence we have and finally draw hopefully a wise conclusion.

I have looked at all the census records from 1850 forward and I have the oral record primarily of my mother who is now deceased. I have been interested in family lines since I stayed with Bill's mother & father during my teen years and I'm almost 70 now. Bill's mother & my father were sister & brother, so I am descended from the family of Whittington Johnson, one of the earliest Nanticoke tribal members. During my stay with them I constructed a very crude family tree (we didn't have computers and no typewriters in our household). I also wrote down the answers to many questions posed to relatives.

My mother used to say that Elizabeth Ridgeway, her great grandmother was married to Robert Salmons. Robert was apparently from the Broadkiln Hundred in Sussex County, but Elizabeth was from Dover Hundred in Kent County. Elizabeth's parents were Tilghman (Tilman or Tillman) Ridgeway (Jack) and his wife was Sina Mosley.

She spoke often of a brother to her great grandmother, called Jerry (Jeremiah) Jack (Ridgeway). She also spoke of an Aunt Teen and Aunt Hester. She said Aunt Teen married Peter Mosley, also from Broadkiln Hundred. This would be Elizabeth's sister, Eliza Jane Ridgeway. She also said Aunt Hester who was Eliza Jane's sister had married Joseph Morris. If this is true, I believe this would be Letishia Ridgeway. Joseph Morris is the son of Thomas & Letitia Morris also from Broadkiln Hundred.

As to Mary Priscilla Ridgeway, I know little except she apparently is the daughter of Jeremiah (Jerry) Ridgeway (Jack). I have on my record Jeremiah Ridgeway married Harriet Hughes but this might be in error. I was not aware of Elizee Barker as a spouse. I did ask if the Salmons family was related to the Sammons family at Cheswold, but she replied they were not. I also asked if she knew the parents of Robert Salmons, but her reply was no. However, the census records, because of the residence closeness might indicate his parents could be Isaac (Israel) Salmons and his wife Elizabeth. I have no proof of this.

I hope this will not confuse you even more and hope it will eventually help to clarify this family line. I was also interested in the Perkins family line from Vincent Perkins, as the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Salmons, Sarah Jane Salmons, first married Wingate T. Clark, my grandmother and grandfather, then she married Benton Perkins one of his descendants, but I have never seen this family tree online. Yet it is speculated he is related to the Perkins family you do have on line, but I am not sure as to how.

Sincerely, Don (please keep me posted as to future findings regarding this family line)


*About Don Ahshapanek:

"I am one of those students sent to Haskell (now Haskell Indian Nations University). Upon finishing school there I got my PhD in biological sciences from the University of Oklahoma and have spent the last 35 years teaching at the University level. First, at Emporia State University for over 10 years and then I returned to teach at Haskell for over 20 years when it became a college. I am a direct descendant of Whittington Johnson and Emmanuel Harman from the Indian River Hundred area, and have a sister and brother who also attended Haskell.

"You may wonder why I don't use Johnson as my last name. The answer is simple. Upon graduating from Haskell, I no longer wanted to carry an English name. Uncles Cus and Luther and Aunt Ella told me that my great-great grandfather, Whittington, had an Indian name but they only knew it in English. When I went to college I constantly looked for the way to say it in Nanticoke. I ran across a vocabulary listing of Nanticoke words, in particular the word for Flying Squirrel, in one of the American Philosophical Archival records and decided to use it and not the English name Johnson any longer. I legally changed the English word to the Nanticoke word and have used it ever since.

"A few years ago when they developed William Arthur's or his son William Howard's property north of Indian Mission Church, ...Bill Davis built a white fence around Whittington's original gravesite and some of his heir's and also added his Indian name Ah-sha-pa-nek.

" I was very proud he did this to forever commemorate our ancestor.

"My mother's descendancy is traced to both Nanticoke in Indian River Hundred and Lenape from the Cheswold community."





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