Legend of Lake Winnipesaukee
(Aka, Legend of Chief Wonaton)
How did Lake
Winnipesaukee get it's name?
Legend of Lake Winnipesaukee is a New
Hampshire legend based in the Lakes Region of NH and is said that this
legend is how Lake
Winnipesaukee got it's name.
In the mid 1500's on the north shores of
what is now known as Lake Winnipesaukee lived a great Indian Chief known
as Chief Wonaton. chief Wonaton was a courageous man with a beautiful
daughter "Mineola" that he protected profusely, keeping the young lads
that lived in the village away from his daughter became a full time job
for Chief Wonaton.
One day, a young chief named "Adiwando"
from a very hostile Indian tribe on the South side of Lake Winnipesaukee
paddled his way across the entire lake after hearing stories about this
beautiful young woman known as Mineola that lived to the north. Adiwando
entered the northern village fearlessly in search of Mineola. Mineola's
father, Chief Wonaton was away from the village at the time of the
unwanted invasion. Others in the village were too afraid to battle the
violent chief from the South without their fearless leader, Chief
After a short time, Adiwando and Mineola
were deeply in love. Chief Wonaton learned of this new relationship with
his daughter and was furious to learn that the young chief was the rival
enemy from the South. Chief Wonaton searched the village for the young
boy who dared to take his daughter's hand. Once found, Chief Wonaton
chased the man with his Tomahawk, swinging it violently to kill his
enemy, Mineola ran to her lover's aid and begged her father not to kill
him. Chief Wonaton's daughter succeeded in convincing her father to let
them be together forever.
On the day of their very traditional
wedding, all tribe members were ordered to paddle their canoes to the
middle of Lake Winnipesaukee. The sky was dark and gray. Tribe members
prepared for bad weather and got into their canoes. by the time they all
reached the middle of the lake, the sky cleared, the sun came out and
the water sparkled from the bright sunlight, but only around the canoe
of Mineola and Adiwando. Chief Wonaton said "This is a good omen," these
waters will now be called "Winnipesaukee (Indian name for "Smile of the
And so it is said that this is how Lake Winnipesaukee got it's name
New Hampshire Legends, Mysteries and Folklore