we conquered the Nations residing there, and that Land, if
ever the Virginians get a good Right to it, it must be by Us." (p 712).
Note the reference above to the "Conoy-uch-such-roona." This is one of the earliest references to the name change of the Piscataways, as they called themselves. According to C. HaleSipe in his book The Indian Chiefs Of Pennsylvania, first published in 1927, the Conoy were the Piscataway who moved into Pennsylvania after the Iroquois defeat of the Conestogas in 1675 caused the Conestogas to invade the land of the Conoy in western Maryland. The Iroquois assigned land to the Conoy to settle on in Pennsylvania and New York. "Conoy" is simply a shortened version of "Conoy-uch-such-roona," the Iroquois term for the Piscataway.
Being conquered by the Iroquois had its advantages, for then, under the "Pax Iroquoia," the Conoy were under the protectorate (or under the thumb, depending on your point of view) of the Onondaga Council. This is why the Council assigned to the Piscataway lands to live upon, in order to keep them from wandering about and settling willy-nilly on lands the Council might see fit to sell to one or another of the British colonies. Hence, the Iroquois laid claim to all the lands west of the Alleghenies by right of conquest and expected to be paid for any of those lands the Virginians wanted.
So it is likely that at the time of the Piscataway emigration from the land "on the Back of the Great Mountains in Virginia" (around 1675), the term "Conoy" and its variants was applied to the lands west of the Allegheny Mountains. This makes the name an Iroquoian one applied to the land of a
people of the Lenape language family. Reverend John Heckewelder, writing about languages in chapter IX of his book An Account Of The History, Manners, And Customs Of The Indian Nations Who Once Inhabitated Pennsylvania
And The Neighboring States (1971, 1876, 1819), stated on page 122, "The Canai or Kanhawas, who have given the name to a river in Virginia which empties itself into the Ohio, are known to have been of the same stock. The Indian names of rivers, mountains, and towns, through that vast extent of
country, appear generally derived from the Lenape language." Apparently, Rev. Heckewelder was unaware that the Canai were originally the Piscataways and that the name he was familiar with was the name given them by their Iroquois conquerors turned protectors. However, his observation about the
place names in use during his time being primarily derived from the Lenape language family, was correct.
An historical hypothesis you may find interesting is that present-day Little Kanawha River was the original Kanawha River of the earliest English-speaking explorers and traders. Present-day Kanawha River was almost always referred to as "Great" or "Big" "Conhaway/Conhanway/Conaway/Conoy/Conoise/Cunnaway/Kenhaway/Kanhaway/etc."Also, by and large, the name