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Home: Surnames: Donnell Family Genealogy Forum

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Chief ORONO of the Penobscot nation in Maine was actually William DONNELL???
Posted by: melissa1 (ID *****3873) Date: April 10, 2004 at 05:25:42
  of 687

Whoa...this is interesting, from an article in 1992 of the Maine Historical Society's Quarterly, there was info about Chief Joseph ORONO of the Penobscot nation of Indians in Maine (Old Town).
It said that Samuel Donnell and wife Alice Chadbourne's son William Donnell at around age 7 was captured by the Indians and taken off to Canada. Some years later William and a group of Indians were coming through York when family members spotted him and begged him to return to the family.
William refused to leave the Indians who had raised him since a small boy.
Later on William took on the name "Orono" and became the Chief of the Penobscot people.
He became Chief Joseph ORONO. (Susep / Sosep in their tongue is Joseph).
He died at around 112 years old in Feb. 1801. There is a statue erected in his honor in Orono, ME which is where the University of Maine is located.
From a Rootsweb site quoting from Sprague's Journals, a man by the last name of Williamson made this observation of Chief Orono....he noted that he was mostly "white" and this skin did have the "coppery" color to it and that his eyes were a bright blue and that he was a tall straight man who walked with a graceful yet purposeful manner and commanded an heir of authority about him (not quoted verbatim but that's the jist of it...the article is online), and that when aged his hair turned a milky white which gave him the appearance of a "cloistered saint."

He said that Orono married a full blood native and that she died several years after him. It did not mention any children but I am certain he and his wife had them.

I thought this was Most interesting.
So for those of us who descend from this family we now know we have a famous Indian Chief in our family tree and we can pass that on to our families.

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