Mandush, 17th Century Sachem of Shinnecock

Mandush-David-Bunn-Martine-Painting Mandush, 17th Century Sachem of Shinnecock Jeremy Dennis On This Site
Mandush, Shinnecock Sachem – CA 1640. By David Bunn Martine (Shinnecock/Montauk, Chiricahua Apache) Copyright David Bunn Martine 2018.


Mandush is one of the Shinnecock Sachems during the first contact period of 1640. His name is recorded in two early land deeds relating to the founding of Southampton town.

Transfer of Leadership

Following the murder of Southampton colonist Phoebe Halsey in 1649, Montaukett Sachem Wyandanch is called upon to relieve tensions between the Shinnecock Indians and Southampton settlers.

Mandush and Wyandanch came to the agreement that the Shinnecock people and their land will be under the control of Wyandanch, who was trusted by the English through Lion Gardiner.

As a result of the agreement, Wyandanch came into control of the Shinnecock land which he leased and sold without being questioned during his lifetime.1


Mandush has a son and daughter, but their names were not recorded, and a widow who remarries.

Murder Attempt

According to the assassin’s own testimony, Ninigret, Sachem of the Ninigret of New England, had sent him to live on Long Island among relatives until he had a chance to get Mandush in his sights.

When the time came, he missed with a pistol (also said to have misfired) and it fell into the hands of Mandush.

Mandush, taking a page of Mohegan Sachem Uncas of Connecticut, dragged the captive assassin before the General Court of Connecticut for interrogation, during which he confessed to Ninigret’s role.

The English returned the prisoner to the Shinnecock Captors, who promptly executed him just outside of Hartford.2

This event may have led to later Long Island raids by Ninigret including major raids at Massacre Valley, Montauk.


  1. From Shelter Island Historical Society Archives, Relations with the Dutch, The Founding of East Hampton, and other articles, pp 23[]
  2. Julie A. Fisher and David J. Silverman, Ninigret, Sachem of the Niantics and Narragansetts, pp. 79[]