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Trumbull, J. Hammond (James Hammond) / The Composition of Indian Geographical Names Illustrated from the Algonkin Languages
Produced by Thierry Alberto, Henry Craig, Linda Cantoni,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images
generously made available by the Canadian Institute for
Historical Microreproductions (www.canadiana.org).)






Hartford, Conn.

[Transcriber's Note: Published 1870]

* * * * *

[Transcriber's Note: The original book contains some diacriticals that
are represented in this e-text as follows:

1. A macron is represented by an =, e.g. [=a]

2. A breve is represented by a ), e.g., [)a]

3. [n] represents a superscripted n (see Footnote 4).

4. [oo] represents an oo ligature (see Footnote 4.)]

* * * * *



A proper name has been defined to be "a mere mark put upon an
individual, and of which it is the characteristic property _to be
destitute of meaning_."[1] If we accept this definition, it follows
that there are no proper names in the aboriginal languages of America.
Every Indian synthesis--names of persons and places not excepted--must
"preserve the consciousness of its roots," and must not only have a
meaning but be so framed as to convey that meaning with precision, to
all who speak the language to which it belongs. Whenever, by phonetic
corruption or by change of circumstance, it loses its
self-interpreting or self-defining power, it must be discarded from
the language. "It requires tradition, society, and literature to
maintain forms which can no longer be analyzed at once."[2] In our own
language, such forms may hold their places by prescriptive right or
force of custom, and names absolutely unmeaning, or applied without
regard to their original meaning, are accepted by common consent as
the distinguishing marks of persons and places. We call a man William
or Charles, Jones or Brown,--or a town, New Lebanon, Cincinnati, Baton
Rouge, or Big Bethel--just as we put a number on a policeman's badge
or on a post-office box, or a trademark on an article of merchandise;
and the number and the mark are as truly and in nearly the same sense
proper names as the others are.

[Footnote 1: Mill's Logic, B. I. ch. viii.]

[Footnote 2: Max Müller, Science of Language, (1st Series,) p. 292.]

Not that personal or proper names, in any language, were _originally_
mere arbitrary sounds, devoid of meaning. The first James or the first
Brown could, doubtless, have given as good a reason for his name as
the first Abraham. But changes of language and lapse of time made the
names independent of the reasons, and took from them all their
significance. Patrick is not now, _eo nomine_, a 'patrician;' Bridget
is not necessarily 'strong' or 'bright;' and in the name of Mary,
hallowed by its associations, only the etymologist can detect the
primitive 'bitterness.' Boston is no longer 'St. Botolph's Town;'
there is no 'Castle of the inhabitants of Hwiccia'
(_Hwic-wara-ceaster_) to be seen at Worcester; and Hartford is neither
'the ford of harts,' (which the city seal has made it,) nor 'the red
ford,' which its name once indicated.

In the same way, many Indian geographical names, after their adoption
by Anglo-American colonists, became unmeaning sounds. Their original
character was lost by their transfer to a foreign tongue. Nearly all
have suffered some mutilation or change of form. In many instances,
hardly a trace of true original can be detected in the modern name.
Some have been separated from the localities to which they belonged,
and assigned to others to which they are etymologically inappropriate.
A mountain receives the name of a river; a bay, that of a cape or a
peninsula; a tract of land, that of a rock or a waterfall. And so
'Massachusetts' and 'Connecticut' and 'Narragansett' have come to be
_proper names_, as truly as 'Boston' and 'Hartford' are in their
cis-Atlantic appropriation.

The Indian languages tolerated no such 'mere marks.' Every name
_described_ the locality to which it was affixed. The description was
sometimes _topographical_; sometimes _historical_, preserving the
memory of a battle, a feast, the dwelling-place of a great sachem, or
the like; sometimes it indicated one of the _natural products_ of the
place, or the _animals_ which resorted to it; occasionally, its
_position_ or _direction_ from a place previously known, or from the
territory of the nation by which the name was given,--as for example,
'the land on the other side of the river,' 'behind the mountain,' 'the
east land,' 'the half-way place,' &c. The same name might be, in fact
it very often was, given to more places than one; but these must not
be so near together that mistakes or doubts could be occasioned by the
repetition. With this precaution, there was no reason why there might
not be as many 'Great Rivers,' 'Bends,' 'Forks,' and 'Water-fall
places' as there are Washingtons, Franklins, Unions, and Fairplays in
the list of American post-offices.

With few exceptions, the structure of these names is simple. Nearly
all may be referred to one of three classes:

I. Those formed by the union of two elements, which we will call
_adjectival_ and _substantival_;[3] with or without a locative suffix
or post-position meaning 'at,' 'in,' 'by,' 'near,' &c.

[Footnote 3: These terms, though not strictly appropriate to Indian
synthesis, are sufficiently explicit for the purposes of this paper.
They are borrowed from the author of "Words and Places" (the Rev.
Isaac Taylor), who has employed them (2d ed., p. 460) as equivalents
of Förstemann's "Bestimmungswort" and "Grundwort," (_Die deutschen
Ortsnamen._ Nordhausen, 1863, pp. 26-107, 109-174). In Indian names,
the "Bestimmungswort" sometimes corresponds to the English
adjective--sometimes to a noun substantive--but is more generally an

II. Those which have a single element, the _substantival_ or
'ground-word,' with its locative suffix.

III. Those formed from verbs, as participials or verbal nouns,
denoting a _place where_ the action of the verb is performed. To this
class belong, for example, such names as _Mushauwomuk_ (Boston),
'where there is going-by-boat,' _i.e._, a ferry, or canoe-crossing.
Most of these names, however, may be shown by rigid analysis to belong
to one of the two preceding classes, which comprise at least
nine-tenths of all Algonkin local names which have been preserved.

The examples I shall give of these three classes, will be taken from
Algonkin languages; chiefly from the Massachusetts or Natick (which
was substantially the same as that spoken by the Narragansetts and
Connecticut Indians), the Abnaki, the Lenni-Lenâpe or Delaware, the
Chippewa or Ojibway, and the Knisteno or Cree.[4]

[Footnote 4: It has not been thought advisable to attempt the
reduction of words or names taken from different languages to a
uniform orthography. When no authorities are named, it may be
understood that the Massachusetts words are taken from Eliot's
translation of the Bible, or from his Indian Grammar; the
Narragansett, from Roger Williams's Indian Key, and his published
letters; the Abnaki, from the Dictionary of Râle (Rasles), edited by
Dr. Pickering; the Delaware, from Zeisberger's Vocabulary and his
Grammar; the Chippewa, from Schoolcraft (Sch.), Baraga's Dictionary
and Grammar (B.), and the Spelling Books published by the American
Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions; and the Cree, from Howse's
Grammar of that language.

The character _[oo]_ (_oo_ in 'food;' _w_ in 'Wabash,' 'Wisconsin'),
used by Eliot, has been substituted in Abnaki words for the Greek
[Greek: ou ligature] of Râle and the Jesuit missionaries, and for the
[Greek: omega] of Campanius. A small [n] placed above the line, shows
that the vowel which it follows is _nasal_,--and replaces the ń
employed for the same purpose by Râle, and the short line or dash
placed under a vowel, in Pickering's alphabet.

In Eliot's notation, _oh_ usually represents the sound of _o_ in
_order_ and in _form_,--that of broad _a_; but sometimes it stands for
short _o_, as in _not_.]

* * * * *

Of names of the _first_ class, in central and southern New England,
some of the more common substantival components or 'ground-words' are
those which denote _Land_ or _Country_, _River_, _Water_, _Lake_ or
_Pond_, _Fishing-place_, _Rock_, _Mountain_, _Inclosure_, and

1. The Massachusetts OHKE (Narr. _aűke_; Delaware, _hacki_; Chip.
_ahke_; Abnaki, _'ki_;) signifies LAND, and in local names, PLACE or
COUNTRY. The final vowel is sometimes lost in composition. With the
locative suffix, it becomes _ohkit_ (Del. _hacking_; Chip. _ahki[n]_;
Abn. _kik_;) _at_ or _in_ a place or country.

To the Narragansetts proper, the country east of Narragansett Bay and
Providence River was _wa[n]pan-auke_, 'east land;' and its people were
called by the Dutch explorers, _Wapenokis_, and by the English,
_Wampanoags_. The tribes of the upper St. Lawrence taught the French,
and tribes south of the Piscataqua taught the English, to give the
name of East-landers--_Abenaquis_, or _Abinakis_--to the Indians of
Maine. The country of the Delawares was 'east land,' _Wapanachki_, to
Algonkin nations of the west.

The '_Chawwonock_,' or '_Chawonocke_,' of Capt. John Smith,--on what
is now known as Chowan River, in Virginia and North Carolina,--was, to
the Powhattans and other Virginian tribes, the 'south country,' or
_sowan-ohke_, as Eliot wrote it, in Gen. xxiv. 62.

With the adjectival _sucki_, 'dark-colored,' 'blackish,' we have the
aboriginal name of the South Meadow in Hartford,--_sucki-ohke_,
(written _Sicaiook_, _Suckiaug_, &c.), 'black earth.'

_Wuskowhanan-auk-it_, 'at the pigeon country,' was the name (as given
by Roger Williams) of a "place where these fowl breed abundantly,"--in
the northern part of the Nipmuck country (now in Worcester county,

'_Kiskatamenakook_,' the name of a brook (but originally, of some
locality near the brook) in Catskill, N.Y.,[5] is
_kiskato-minak-auke_, 'place of thin-shelled nuts' (or shag-bark
hickory nuts).

[Footnote 5: Doc. Hist. of New York (4to), vol. iii. p. 656.]

2. RIVER. _Seip_ or _sepu_ (Del. _sipo_; Chip. _s[=e]p[=e]_; Abn.
_sip[oo]_;) the Algonkin word for 'river' is derived from a root that
means 'stretched out,' 'extended,' 'become long,' and corresponds
nearly to the English 'stream.' This word rarely, if ever, enters into
the composition of local names, and, so far as I know, it does not
make a part of the name of any river in New England. _Mississippi_ is
_missi-sipu_, 'great river;' _Kitchi-sipi_, 'chief river' or 'greatest
river,' was the Montagnais name of the St. Lawrence;[6] and
_Miste-shipu_ is their modern name for the Moise or 'Great River'
which flows from the lakes of the Labrador peninsula into the Gulf of
St. Lawrence.[7]

[Footnote 6: Jesuit Relations, 1633, 1636, 1640.]

[Footnote 7: Hind's Exploration of Labrador, i. 9, 32.]

Near the Atlantic seaboard, the most common substantival components of
river names are (1) _-tuk_ and (2) _-hanne_, _-han_, or _-huan_.
Neither of these is an independent word. They are inseparable
nouns-generic, or generic affixes.

-TUK (Abn. _-teg[oo]é_; Del. _-ittuk_;) denotes a river whose waters
are driven _in waves_, by tides or wind. It is found in names of tidal
rivers and estuaries; less frequently, in names of _broad and deep_
streams, not affected by tides. With the adjectival _missi_, 'great,'
it forms _missi-tuk_,--now written _Mystic_,--the name of 'the great
river' of Boston bay, and of another wide-mouthed tidal river in the
Pequot country, which now divides the towns of Stonington and Groton.

Near the eastern boundary of the Pequot country, was the river which
the Narragansetts called _Paquat-tuk_, sometimes written _Paquetock_,
now _Pawcatuck_, 'Pequot river,'--the present eastern boundary of
Connecticut. Another adjectival prefix, _pohki_ or _pahke_, 'pure,'
'clear,' found in the name of several tidal streams, is hardly
distinguishable from the former, in the modern forms of _Pacatock_,
_Paucatuck_, &c.

_Quinni-tuk_ is the 'long tidal-river.' With the locative affix,
_Quinni-tuk-ut_, 'on long river,'--now _Connecticut_,--was the name of
the valley, or lands both sides of the river. In one early deed
(1636), I find the name written _Quinetucquet_; in another, of the
same year, _Quenticutt_. Roger Williams (1643) has _Qunnihticut_, and
calls the Indians of this region _Quintik-óock_, i.e. 'the long river
people.' The _c_ in the second syllable of the modern name has no
business there, and it is difficult to find a reason for its

'_Lenapewihittuck_' was the Delaware name of 'the river of the
Lenape,' and '_Mohicannittuck_,' of 'the river of the Mohicans'
(Hudson River).[8]

[Footnote 8: Heckewelder's Historical account, &c., p. 33. He was
mistaken in translating "the word _hittuck_," by "a rapid stream."]

Of _Pawtucket_ and _Pawtuxet_, the composition is less obvious; but we
have reliable Indian testimony that these names mean, respectively,
'at the falls' and 'at the little falls.' Pequot and Narragansett
interpreters, in 1679, declared that Blackstone's River, was "called
in Indian _Pautuck_ (which signifies, a Fall), because there the fresh
water falls into the salt water."[9] So, the upper falls of the
Quinebaug river (at Danielsonville, Conn.) were called "_Powntuck_,
which is a general name for all Falls," as Indians of that region
testified.[10] There was another Pautucket, 'at the falls' of the
Merrimac (now Lowell); and another on Westfield River, Mass.
_Pawtuxet_, i.e. _pau't-tuk-es-it_, is the regularly formed diminutive
of _paut-tuk-it_. The village of Pawtuxet, four miles south of
Providence, R.I., is "at the little falls" of the river to which their
name has been transferred. The first settlers of Plymouth were
informed by Samoset, that the place which they had chosen for their
plantation was called '_Patuxet_,'--probably because of some 'little
falls' on Town Brook.[11] There was another 'Pautuxet,' or 'Powtuxet,'
on the Quinebaug, at the lower falls; and a river 'Patuxet'
(Patuxent), in Maryland. The same name is ingeniously disguised by
Campanius, as '_Poaetquessing_,' which he mentions as one of the
principal towns of the Indians on the Delaware, just below the lower
falls of that river at Trenton; and 'Poutaxat' was understood by the
Swedes to be the Indian name both of the river and bay.[12] The
adjectival _pawt-_ or _pauat-_ seems to be derived from a root meaning
'to make a loud noise.' It is found in many, perhaps in all Algonkin
languages. '_Pawating_,' as Schoolcraft wrote it, was the Chippewa
name of the Sault Ste. Marie, or Falls of St. Mary's
River,--pronounced _poú-at-ing´_, or _pau-at-u[n]_, the last syllable
representing the locative affix,--"at the Falls." The same name is
found in Virginia, under a disguise which has hitherto prevented its
recognition. Capt. John Smith informs us that the "place of which
their great Emperor taketh his name" of _Powhatan_, or _Pawatan_, was
near "the Falls" of James River,[13] where is now the city of
Richmond. 'Powatan' is _pauat-hanne_, or 'falls on a rapid stream.'

[Footnote 9: Col. Records of Connecticut, 1677-89, p. 275.]

[Footnote 10: Chandler's Survey of the Mohegan country, 1705.]

[Footnote 11: See Mourt's Relation, Dexter's edition, pp. 84, 91, 99.
Misled by a form of this name, _Patackosi_, given in the Appendix to
Savage's Winthrop (ii. 478) and elsewhere, I suggested to Dr. Dexter
another derivation. See his note 297, to Mourt, p. 84.]

[Footnote 12: Descrip. of New Sweden, b. ii. ch. 1, 2; Proud's Hist.
of Pennsylvania, ii. 252.]

[Footnote 13: "True Relation of Virginia," &c. (Deane's edition,
Boston, 1866), p. 7. On Smith's map, 1606, the 'King's house,' at
'_Powhatan_,' is marked just below "The Fales" on '_Powhatan flu:_' or
James River.]

_Acáwmé_ or _Ogkomé_ (Chip. _agami_; Abn. _aga[n]mi_; Del.
_achgameu_;) means 'on the other side,' 'over against,' 'beyond.' As
an adjectival, it is found in _Acawm-auké_, the modern 'Accomac,' a
peninsula east of Chesapeake Bay, which was 'other-side land' to the
Powhatans of Virginia. The site of Plymouth, Mass., was called
'Accomack' by Capt. John Smith,--a name given not by the Indians who
occupied it but by those, probably, who lived farther north, 'on the
other side' of Plymouth Bay. The countries of Europe were called
'other-side lands,'--Narr. _acawmen-óaki_; Abn. _aga[n]men-[oo]ki_.
With _-tuk_, it forms _acawmen-tuk_ (Abn. _aga[n]men-teg[oo]_),
'other-side river,' or, its diminutive, _acawmen-tuk-es_ (Abn.
_aga[n]men-teg[oo]éss[oo]_), 'the small other-side river,'--a name
first given (as _Agamenticus_ or _Accomenticus_) to York, Me., from
the 'small tidal-river beyond' the Piscataqua, on which that town was

_Peske-tuk_ (Abn. _peské-teg[oo]é_) denotes a '_divided_ river,' or a
river which another _cleaves_. It is not generally (if ever) applied
to one of the 'forks' which unite to form the main stream, but to some
considerable tributary received by the main stream, or to the division
of the stream by some obstacle, near its mouth, which makes of it a
'double river.' The primary meaning of the (adjectival) root is 'to
divide in two,' and the secondary, 'to split,' 'to divide _forcibly_,
or _abruptly_.' These shades of meaning are not likely to be detected
under the disguises in which river-names come down to our time. Râle
translates _ne-peské_, "je vas dans le chemin qui en coupe un autre:"
_peskahak[oo]n_, "branche."

_Piscataqua_, Pascataqua, &c., represent the Abn. _peské-teg[oo]é_,
'divided tidal-river.' The word for 'place' (_ohke_, Abn. _'ki_,)
being added, gives the form _Piscataquak_ or _-quog_. There is another
_Piscataway_, in New Jersey,--not far below the junction of the north
and south branches of the Raritan,--and a Piscataway river in
Maryland, which empties into the Potomac; a _Piscataquog_ river,
tributary to the Merrimac, in New Hampshire; a _Piscataquis_
(diminutive) in Maine, which empties into the Penobscot. _Pasquotank_,
the name of an arm of Albemarle Sound and of a small river which flows
into it, in North Carolina, has probably the same origin.

The adjectival _peské_, or _piské_, is found in many other compound
names besides those which are formed with _-tuk_ or _-hanne_: as in
_Pascoag_, for _peské-auké_, in Burrilville, R.I., 'the dividing
place' of two branches of Blackstone's River; and _Pesquamscot_, in
South Kingston, R.I., which (if the name is rightly given) is "at the
divided (or cleft) rock,"--_peské-ompsk-ut_,--perhaps some ancient
land-mark, on or near the margin of Worden's Pond.

_Nôeu-tuk_ (_Nóahtuk_, Eliot), 'in the middle of the river,' may be,
as Mr. Judd[14] and others have supposed, the name which has been
variously corrupted to Norwottock, Nonotuck, Noatucke, Nawottok, &c.
If so, it probably belonged, originally to one of the necks or
peninsulas of meadow, near Northampton,--such as that at Hockanum,
which, by a change in the course of the river at that point, has now
become an island.

[Footnote 14: History of Hadley, pp. 121, 122.]

_Tetiquet_ or _Titicut_, which passes for the Indian name of Taunton,
and of a fishing place on Taunton River in the north-west part of
Middleborough, Mass., shows how effectually such names may be
disguised by phonetic corruption and mutilation. _Kehte-tuk-ut_ (or as
Eliot wrote it in Genesis xv. 18, _Kehteihtukqut_) means 'on the great
river.' In the Plymouth Colony Records we find the forms
'_Cauteeticutt_' and '_Coteticutt_,' and elsewhere,
_Kehtehticut_,--the latter, in 1698, as the name of a place on the
great river, "between Taunton and Bridgewater." Hence, 'Teghtacutt,'
'Teightaquid,' 'Tetiquet,' &c.[15]

[Footnote 15: See Hist. Magazine, vol. iii. p. 48.]

(2). The other substantival component of river-names, -HANNE or -HAN
(Abn. _-ts[oo]a[n]n_ or _-ta[n]n_; Mass. _-tchuan_;) denotes 'a rapid
stream' or 'current;' primarily, 'flowing water.' In the Massachusetts
and Abnaki, it occurs in such compounds as _anu-tchuan_ (Abn.
_ari'ts[oo]a[n]n_), 'it _over_-flows:' _kussi-tchuan_ (Abn.
_kesi'ts[oo]a[n]n_), 'it _swift_ flows,' &c.

In Pennsylvania and Virginia, where the streams which rise in the
highlands flow down rapidly descending slopes, _-hanné_ is more common
than _-tuk_ or _sepu_ in river names. _Keht-hanné_ (_kittan_, Zeisb.;
_kithanne_, Hkw.) was a name given to the Delaware River as 'the
principal or greatest stream' of that region: and by the western
Delawares, to the Ohio.[16] With the locative termination,
_Kittanning_ (Penn.) is a place 'on the greatest stream.' The
Schuylkill was _Ganshow-hanné_, 'noisy stream;' the Lackawanna,
_Lechau-hanné_, 'forked stream' or 'stream that forks:'[17] with
affix, _Lechauhannak_ or _Lechauwahannak_, 'at the river-fork,'--for
which Hendrick Aupamut, a Muhhekan, wrote (with dialectic exchange of
_n_ for Delaware _l_) '_Naukhuwwhnauk_,' 'The Forks' of the Miami.[18]
The same name is found in New England, disguised as Newichawanock,
Nuchawanack, &c., as near Berwick, Me., 'at the fork' or confluence of
Cocheco and Salmon Fall rivers,--the '_Neghechewanck_' of Wood's Map
(1634). _Powhatan_, for _Pauat-hanne_, 'at the Falls on a rapid
stream,' has been previously noticed.

[Footnote 16: Heckewelder, on Indian names, in Trans. Am. Phil. Soc.
vol. iv.]

[Footnote 17: Ibid.]

[Footnote 18: Narrative, &c., in Mem. Hist. Society of Pennsylvania,
vol. ii. p. 97.]

_Alleghany_, or as some prefer to write it, Allegheny,--the Algonkin
name of the Ohio River, but now restricted to one of its
branches,--is probably (Delaware) _welhik-hanné_ or _[oo]lik-hanné_,
'the best (or, the fairest) river.' _Welhik_ (as Zeisberger wrote
it)[19] is the inanimate form of the adjectival, meaning 'best,' 'most
beautiful.' In his Vocabulary, Zeisberger gave this synthesis, with
slight change of orthography, as "_Wulach'neü_" [or
_[oo]lakhanne[oo]_, as Eliot would have written it,] with the free
translation, "_a fine River_, without Falls." The name was indeed more
likely to belong to rivers 'without falls' or other obstruction to the
passage of canoes, but its literal meaning is, as its composition
shows, "best rapid-stream," or "finest rapid-stream;" "La Belle
Riviere" of the French, and the _Oue-yo´_ or _O hee´ yo Gä-hun´-dä_,
"good river" or "the beautiful river," of the Senecas.[20] For this
translation of the name we have very respectable authority,--that of
Christian Frederick Post, a Moravian of Pennsylvania, who lived
seventeen years with the Muhhekan Indians and was twice married among
them, and whose knowledge of the Indian languages enabled him to
render important services to the colony, as a negotiator with the
Delawares and Shawanese of the Ohio, in the French war. In his
"Journal from Philadelphia to the Ohio" in 1758,[21] after mention of
the 'Alleghenny' river, he says: "The _Ohio_, as it is called by the
Sennecas. _Alleghenny_ is the name of the same river in the Delaware
language. _Both words signify the fine_ or _fair river_." La Metairie,
the notary of La Salle's expedition, "calls the Ohio, the
_Olighinsipou_, or _Aleghin_; evidently an Algonkin name,"--as Dr.
Shea remarks.[22] Heckewelder says that the Delawares "still call the
Allegany (Ohio) river, _Alligéwi Sipu_,"--"the river of the
_Alligewi_" as he chooses to translate it. In one form, we have
_wulik-hannésipu_, 'best rapid-stream long-river;' in the other,
_wuliké-sipu_, 'best long-river.' Heckewelder's derivation of the
name, on the authority of a Delaware legend, from the mythic
'Alligewi' or 'Talligewi,'--"a race of Indians said to have once
inhabited that country," who, after great battles fought in
pre-historic times, were driven from it by the all-conquering
Delawares,[23]--is of no value, unless supported by other testimony.
The identification of _Alleghany_ with the Seneca "_De o´ na gä no_,
cold water" [or, cold spring,[24]] proposed by a writer in the
_Historical Magazine_ (vol. iv. p. 184), though not apparent at first
sight, might deserve consideration if there were any reason for
believing the name of the river to be of Iroquois origin,--if it were
probable that an Iroquois name would have been adopted by Algonkin
nations,--or, if the word for 'water' or 'spring' could be made, in
any American language, the substantival component of a _river_ name.

[Footnote 19: Grammar of the Lenni-Lenape, transl. by Duponceau, p. 43.
"_Wulit_, good." "_Welsit_ (masc. and fem.), the best." "Inanimate,
_Welhik_, best."]

[Footnote 20: Morgan's League of the Iroquois, p. 436.]

[Footnote 21: Published in London, 1759, and re-printed in Appendix to
Proud's Hist. of Penn., vol. ii. pp. 65-132.]

[Footnote 22: Shea's Early Voyages on the Mississippi, p. 75.

La Metairie's '_Olighinsipou_' suggests another possible derivation
which may be worth mention. The Indian name of the Alleghanies has
been said,--I do not now remember on whose authority,--to mean
'Endless Mountains.' 'Endless' cannot be more exactly expressed in any
Algonkin language than by 'very long' or 'longest,'--in the Delaware,
_Eluwi-guneu_. "The very long or longest river" would be _Eluwi-guneu
sipu_, or, if the words were compounded in one, _Eluwi-gunesipu_.]

[Footnote 23: Paper on Indian names, _ut supra_, p. 367; Historical
Account, &c., pp. 29-32.]

[Footnote 24: Morgan's League of the Iroquois, pp. 466, 468.]

From the river, the name appears to have been transferred by the
English to a range of the "Endless Mountains."

3. NIPPE, NIPI (= _n'pi_; Narr. _nip_; Muhh. _nup_; Abn. and Chip.
_nebi_; Del. _m'bi_;) and its diminutives, _nippisse_ and _nips_, were
employed in compound names to denote WATER, generally, without
characterizing it as 'swift flowing,' 'wave moved,' 'tidal,' or
'standing:' as, for example, in the name of a part of a river, where
the stream widening with diminished current becomes lake-like, or of a
stretch of tide-water inland, forming a bay or cove at a river's
mouth. By the northern Algonkins, it appears to have been used for
'lake,' as in the name of _Missi-nippi_ or _Missinabe_ lake ('great
water'), and in that of Lake _Nippissing_, which has the locative
affix, _nippis-ing_, 'at the small lake' north-east of the greater
Lake Huron, which gave a name to the nation of 'Nipissings,' or as the
French called them, '_Nipissiriniens_,'--according to Charlevoix, the
true Algonkins.

_Quinnipiac_, regarded as the Indian name of New Haven,--also written
Quinnypiock, Quinopiocke, Quillipiack, &c., and by President
Stiles[25] (on the authority of an Indian of East Haven)
_Quinnepyooghq_,--is, probably, 'long water place,'
_quinni-nippe-ohke_, or _quin-nipi-ohke_. _Kennebec_ would seem to be
another form of the same name, from the Abnaki, _k[oo]né-be-ki_, were
it not that Râle wrote,[26] as the name of the river,
'_Aghenibékki_'--suggesting a different adjectival. But Biard, in the
_Relation de la Nouvelle-France_ of 1611, has '_Kinibequi_,'
Champlain, _Quinebequy_, and Vimont, in 1640, '_Quinibequi_,' so that
we are justified in regarding the name as the probable equivalent of

[Footnote 25: Ms. Itinerary. He was careful to preserve the Indian
pronunciation of local names, and the form in which he gives this name
convinces me that it is not, as I formerly supposed, the
_quinnuppohke_ (or _quinuppeohke_) of Eliot,--meaning 'the surrounding
country' or the 'land all about' the site of New Haven.]

[Footnote 26: Dictionary, s.v. 'Noms.']

_Win-nippe-sauki_ (Winnipiseogee) will be noticed hereafter.

4. -PAUG, -POG, -BOG, (Abn. _-béga_ or _-bégat_; Del. _-pécat_;) an
inseparable generic, denoting 'WATER AT REST,' 'standing water,' is
the substantival component of names of small lakes and ponds,
throughout New England.[27] Some of the most common of these names

[Footnote 27: _Paug_ is regularly formed from _pe_ (Abn. _bi_), the
base of _nippe_, and may be translated more exactly by 'where water
is' or 'place of water.']

_Massa-paug_, 'great pond,'--which appears in a great variety of
modern forms, as Mashapaug, Mashpaug, Massapogue, Massapog, &c. A
pond in Cranston, near Providence, R.I.; another in Warwick, in the
same State; 'Alexander's Lake,' in Killingly; 'Gardiner's Lake,' in
Salem, Bozrah and Montville; 'Tyler Pond,' in Goshen; ponds in Sharon,
Groton, and Lunenburg, Mass., were each of them the 'Massapaug' or
'great pond' of its vicinity.

_Quinni-paug_, 'long pond.' One in Killingly, gave a name to
_Quinebaug_ River and the 'Quinebaug country.' Endicott, in 1651,
wrote this name 'Qunnubbágge' (3 Mass. Hist. Coll., iv. 191).
"Quinepoxet," the name of a pond and small river in Princeton, Mass.,
appears to be a corruption of the diminutive with the locative affix;
_Quinni-paug-es-it_, 'at the little long pond.'

_Wongun-paug_, 'crooked (or bent) pond.' There is one of the name in
Coventry, Conn. Written, 'Wangunbog,' 'Wungumbaug,' &c.

_Petuhkqui-paug_, 'round pond,' now called 'Dumpling Pond,' in
Greenwich, Conn., gave a name to a plain and brook in that town, and,
occasionally, to the plantation settled there, sometimes written

_Nunni-paug_, 'fresh pond.' One in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, gave
a name (Nunnepoag) to an Indian village near it. Eliot wrote
_nunnipog_, for 'fresh water,' in James iii. 12.

_Sonki-paug_ or _so[n]ki-paug_, 'cool pond.' (_Sonkipog_, 'cold
water,' Eliot.) Egunk-sonkipaug, or 'the cool pond (spring) of Egunk'
hill in Sterling, Conn., is named in Chandler's Survey of the Mohegan
country, as one of the east bounds.

_Pahke-paug_, 'clear pond' or 'pure water pond.' This name occurs in
various forms, as 'Pahcupog,' a pond near Westerly, R.I.;[28]
'Pauquepaug,' transferred from a pond to a brook in Kent and New
Milford; 'Paquabaug,' near Shepaug River, in Roxbury, &c. 'Pequabuck'
river, in Bristol and Farmington, appears to derive its name from some
'clear pond,'--perhaps the one between Bristol and Plymouth.

[Footnote 28: A bound of Human Garret's land, one mile north-easterly
from Ninigret's old Fort. See _Conn. Col. Records_, ii. 314.]

Another noun-generic that denotes 'lake' or 'fresh water at rest,' is
found in many Abnaki, northern Algonkin and Chippewa names, but not,
perhaps, in Massachusetts or Connecticut. This is the Algonkin
_-g[)a]mi_, _-g[)o]mi_, or _-gummee_. _Kitchi-gami_ or
'_Kechegummee_,' the Chippewa name of Lake Superior, is 'the greatest,
or chief lake.' _Caucomgomoc_, in Maine, is the Abn. _kaäkou-gami-k_,
'at Big-Gull lake.' _Temi-gami_, 'deep lake,' discharges its waters
into Ottawa River, in Canada; _Kinou-gami_, now Kenocami, 'long lake,'
into the Saguenay, at Chicoutimi.

There is a _Mitchi-gami_ or (as sometimes written) _machi-gummi_,
'large lake,' in northern Wisconsin, and the river which flows from it
has received the same name, with the locative suffix,
'_Machig[=a]mig_' (for _mitchi-gaming_). A branch of this river is now
called 'Fence River' from a _mitchihikan_ or _mitchikan_, a 'wooden
fence' constructed near its banks, by the Indians, for catching
deer.[29] Father Allouez describes, in the 'Relation' for 1670 (p.
96), a sort of 'fence' or weir which the Indians had built across Fox
River, for taking sturgeon &c., and which they called '_Mitihikan_;'
and shortly after, he mentions the destruction, by the Iroquois, of a
village of Outagamis (Fox Indians) near his mission station, called
_Machihigan-ing_, ['at the _mitchihikan_, or weir?'] on the 'Lake of
the Illinois,' now _Michigan_. Father Dablon, in the next year's
Relation, calls this lake '_Mitchiganons_.' Perhaps there was some
confusion between the names of the 'weir' and the 'great lake,' and
'Michigan' appears to have been adopted as a kind of compromise
between the two. If so, this modern form of the name is corrupt in
more senses than one.[30]

[Footnote 29: Foster and Whitney's Report on the Geology of Lake
Superior, &c., Pt. II p. 400.]

[Footnote 30: Râle gives Abn. _mitsegan_, 'fianté.' Thoreau, fishing
in a river in Maine, caught several sucker-like fishes, which his
Abnaki guide threw away, saying they were '_Michegan fish_, i.e., soft
and stinking fish, good for nothing.'--_Maine Woods_, p. 210.]

5. -AMAUG, denoting 'A FISHING PLACE' (Abn. _a[n]ma[n]gan_, 'on pęche
lŕ,') is derived from the root _âm_ or _âma_, signifying 'to take by
the mouth;' whence, _âm-aü_, 'he fishes with hook and line,' and Del.
_âman_, a fish-hook. _Wonkemaug_ for _wongun-amaug_, 'crooked
fishing-place,' between Warren and New Preston, in Litchfield county,
is now 'Raumaug Lake.' _Ouschank-amaug_, in East Windsor, was perhaps
the 'eel fishing-place.' The lake in Worcester, _Quansigamaug_,
_Quansigamug_, &c., and now _Quinsigamond_, was 'the pickerel
fishing-place,' _qunnosuog-amaug_.

6. ROCK. In composition, -PISK or -PSK (Abn. _pesk[oo]_; Cree,
_-pisk_; Chip. _-bik_;) denotes _hard_ or _flint-like_ rock;[31]
-OMPSK or O[N]BSK, and, by phonetic corruption, -MSK, (from _ompaé_,
'upright,' and _-pisk_,) a 'standing rock.' As a substantival
component of local names, _-ompsk_ and, with the locative affix,
_-ompskut_, are found in such names as--

[Footnote 31: Primarily, that which 'breaks,' 'cleaves,' 'splits:'
distinguishing the _harder_ rocks--such as were used for making spear
and arrow heads, axes, chisels, corn-mortars, &c., and for striking
fire,--from the _softer_, such as steatite (soap-stone) from which
pots and other vessels, pipe-bowls, &c., were fashioned.]

_Petukqui-ompskut_, corrupted to _Pettiquamscut_, 'at the round rock.'
Such a rock, on the east side of Narrow River, north-east from Tower
Hill Church in South Kingston, R.I., was one of the bound marks of,
and gave a name to, the "Pettiquamscut purchase" in the Narragansett

_Wanashqui-ompskut_ (_wanashquompsqut_, Ezekiel xxvi. 14), 'at the top
of the rock,' or at 'the point of rock.' _Wonnesquam_, _Annis Squam_,
and _Squam_, near Cape Ann, are perhaps corrupt forms of the name of
some 'rock summit' or 'point of rock' thereabouts. _Winnesquamsaukit_
(for _wanashqui-ompsk-ohk-it_?) near Exeter Falls, N.H., has been
transformed to _Swampscoate_ and _Squamscot_. The name of Swamscot or
Swampscot, formerly part of Lynn, Mass., has a different meaning. It
is from _m'squi-ompsk_, 'Red Rock' (the modern name), near the north
end of Long Beach, which was perhaps "The clifte" mentioned as one of
the bounds of Mr. Humfrey's Swampscot farm, laid out in 1638.[32]
_M'squompskut_ means 'at the red rock.' The sound of the initial _m_
was easily lost to English ears.[33]

[Footnote 32: Mass. Records, i. 147, 226.]

[Footnote 33: _Squantam_, the supposed name of an Algonkin deity, is
only a corrupt form of the verb _m'squantam_, = _musqui-antam_, 'he is
angry,' literally, 'he is _red_ (bloody-) minded.']

_Penobscot_, a corruption of the Abnaki _pa[n]na[oo]a[n]bskek_, was
originally the name of a locality on the river so called by the
English. Mr. Moses Greenleaf, in a letter to Dr. Morse in 1823, wrote
'_Pe noom´ ske ook_' as the Indian name of Old Town Falls, "whence the
English name of the River, which would have been better,
_Penobscook_." He gave, as the meaning of this name, "Rocky Falls."
The St. Francis Indians told Thoreau, that it means "Rocky River."[34]
'At the fall of the rock' or 'at the descending rock' is a more nearly
exact translation. The first syllable, _pen-_ (Abn. _pa[n]na_)
represents a root meaning 'to fall from a height,'--as in
_pa[n]n-tek[oo]_, 'fall of a river' or 'rapids;' _pena[n]-ki_, 'fall
of land,' the descent or downward slope of a mountain, &c.

[Footnote 34: Maine Woods, pp. 145, 324.]

_Keht-ompskqut_, or 'Ketumpscut' as it was formerly written,[35]--'at
the greatest rock,'--is corrupted to _Catumb_, the name of a reef off
the west end of Fisher's Island.

[Footnote 35: Pres. Stiles's Itinerary, 1761.]

_Tomheganomset_[36]--corrupted finally to 'Higganum,' the name of a
brook and parish in the north-east part of Haddam,--appears to have
been, originally, the designation of a locality from which the Indians
procured stone suitable for making axes,--_tomhegun-ompsk-ut_, 'at the
tomahawk rock.' In 'Higganompos,' as the name was sometimes written,
without the locative affix, we have less difficulty in recognizing the
substantival _-ompsk_.

[Footnote 36: Conn. Col. Records, i. 434.]

QUSSUK, another word for 'rock' or 'stone,' used by Eliot and Roger
Williams, is not often--perhaps never found in local names. _Hassun_
or _Assun_ (Chip. _assin´_; Del. _achsin_;) appears in New England
names only as an adjectival (_assuné_, _assini_, 'stony'), but farther
north, it occasionally occurs as the substantival component of such
names as _Mistassinni_, 'the Great Stone,' which gives its name to a
lake in British America, to a tribe of Indians, and to a river that
flows into St. John's Lake.[37]

[Footnote 37: Hind's Exploration of Labrador, vol. ii. pp. 147, 148.]

7. WADCHU (in composition, -ADCHU) means, always, 'mountain' or
'hill.' In _Wachuset_, we have it, with the locative affix _-set_,
'near' or 'in the vicinity of the mountain,'--a name which has been
transferred to the mountain itself. With the adjectival _massa_,
'great,' is formed _mass-adchu-set_, 'near the great mountain,' or
'great hill country,'--now, _Massachusetts_.

'_Kunckquachu_' and '_Quunkwattchu_,' mentioned in the deeds of Hadley
purchase, in 1658,[38] are forms of _qunu[n]kqu-adchu_, 'high
mountain,'--afterwards belittled as 'Mount Toby.'

[Footnote 38: History of Hadley, 21, 22, 114.]

'_Kearsarge_,' the modern name of two well-known mountains in New
Hampshire, disguises _k[oo]wass-adchu_, 'pine mountain.' On Holland's
Map, published in 1784, the southern Kearsarge (in Merrimack county)
is marked "Kyarsarga Mountain; by the Indians, _Cowissewaschook_."[39]
In this form,--which the termination _ok_ (for _ohke_, _auke_,
'land,') shows to belong to the _region_, not exclusively to the
mountain itself,--the analysis becomes more easy. The meaning of the
adjectival is perhaps not quite certain. _K[oo]wa_ (Abn. _k[oo]é_) 'a
pine tree,' with its diminutive, _k[oo]wasse_, is a derivative,--from
a root which means 'sharp,' 'pointed.' It is _possible_, that in this
synthesis, the root preserves its primary signification, and that
'Kearsarge' is the 'pointed' or 'peaked mountain.'

[Footnote 39: W.F. Goodwin, in Historical Magazine, ix. 28.]

_Mauch Chunk_ (Penn.) is from Del. _machk_, 'bear' and _wachtschunk_,
'at, or on, the mountain,'--according to Heckewelder, who writes
'_Machkschúnk_,' or the Delaware name of 'the bear's mountain.'

In the Abnaki and some other Algonkin dialects, the substantival
component of mountain names is -ÁDENÉ,--an inseparable noun-generic.
_Katahdin_ (pronounced _Ktaadn_ by the Indians of Maine), Abn.
_Ket-ádené_, 'the greatest (or chief) mountain,' is the equivalent of
'_Kittatinny_,' the name of a ridge of the Alleghanies, in New Jersey
and Pennsylvania.

8. -KOMUK or KOMAKO (Del. _-kamik_, _-kamiké_; Abn. _-kamighe_; Cree,
_-gómmik_; Powhatan, _-comaco_;) cannot be exactly translated by any
one English word. It denotes 'place,' in the sense of _enclosed_,
_limited_ or _appropriated_ space. As a component of local names, it
means, generally, 'an enclosure,' natural or artificial; such as a
house or other building, a village, a planted field, a thicket or
place surrounded by trees, &c. The place of residence of the Sachem,
which (says Roger Williams) was "far different from other houses
[wigwams], both in capacity, and in the fineness and quality of their
mats," was called _sachimâ-komuk_, or, as Edward Winslow wrote it,
'_sachimo comaco_,'--the Sachem-house. _Werowocomoco_, _Weramocomoco_,
&c. in Virginia, was the 'Werowance's house,' and the name appears on
Smith's map, at a place "upon the river Pamauncke [now York River],
where the great King [Powhatan] was resident."

_Kuppi-komuk_, 'closed place,' 'secure enclosure,' was the name of a
Pequot fastness in a swamp, in Groton, Conn.

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