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Title: The Composition of Indian Geographical Names - Illustrated from the Algonkin Languages
Author: Trumbull, J. Hammond (James Hammond), 1821-1897
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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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 ñ
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. _aûke_; 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 pêche
là,') 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. Roger Williams wrote this
name "Cuppacommock," and understood its meaning to be "a refuge, or
hiding place." Eliot has _kuppóhkomuk_ for a planted 'grove,' in Deut.
xvi. 21, and for a landing-place or safe harbor, Acts xxvii. 40.

_Nashaue-komuk_, 'half-way house,' was at what is now Chilmark, on
Martha's Vineyard, where there was a village of praying Indians[40] in
1698, and earlier.

[Footnote 40: About half-way from Tisbury to Gay Head.]

The Abnaki _keta-kamig[oo]_ means, according to Râle, 'the main
land,'--literally, 'greatest place;' _teteba-kamighé_, 'level place,'
a plain; _pépam-kamighek_, 'the _all_ land,' 'l'univers.'

_Néssa[oo]a-kamíghé_, meaning 'double place' or '_second_ place,' was
the name of the Abnaki village of St. Francis de Sales, on the St.
Lawrence,[41]--to which the mission was removed about 1700, from its
_first_ station established near the Falls of the Chaudière in

[Footnote 41: Râle, s.v. VILLAGE.]

[Footnote 42: Shea's Hist. of Catholic Missions, 142, 145.]

9. Of two words meaning _Island_, MUNNOHAN or, rejecting the
formative, MUNNOH (Abn. _menahan_; Del. _menatey_; Chip. _minís_, a
diminutive,) is the more common, but is rarely, if ever, found in
composition. The 'Grand _Menan_,' opposite Passammaquoddy Bay, retains
the Abnaki name. Long Island was _Menatey_ or _Manati_, '_the_
Island,'--to the Delawares, Minsi and other neighboring tribes. Any
smaller island was _menatan_ (Mass. _munnohhan_), the _indefinite_
form, or _menates_ (Mass. _munnises_, _manisses_), the _diminutive_.
Campanius mentions one '_Manathaan_,' Coopers' Island (now Cherry
Island) near Fort Christina, in the Delaware,[43] and "_Manataanung_
or _Manaates_, a place settled by the Dutch, who built there a clever
little town, which went on increasing every day,"--now called New
York. (The termination in _-ung_ is the locative affix.) New York
Island was sometimes spoken of as '_the_ island'--'Manaté,'
'Manhatte;' sometimes as '_an_ island'--Manathan, Menatan,
'_Manhatan_;' more accurately, as 'the _small_ island'--Manhaates,
Manattes, and 'the Manados' of the Dutch. The Island Indians
collectively, were called _Manhattans_; those of the small island,
'_Manhatesen_.' "They deeply mistake," as Gov. Stuyvesant's agents
declared, in 1659,[44] "who interpret the general name of
_Manhattans_, unto the particular town built upon a _little Island_;
because it signified the whole country and province."

[Footnote 43: Description of New Sweden, b. ii. c. 8. (Duponceau's

[Footnote 44: N.Y. Hist. Soc. Collections, iii. 375.]

_Manisses_ or Monasses, as Block Island was called, is another form
of the diminutive,--from _munnoh_; and _Manhasset_, otherwise written,
Munhansick, a name of Shelter Island, is the same diminutive with the
locative affix, _munna-es-et_. So is 'Manusses' or 'Mennewies,' an
island near Rye, N.Y.,--now written (with the southern form of the
locative,) _Manussing_.

_Montauk_ Point, formerly Montauket, Montacut, and by Roger Williams,
_Munnawtawkit_, is probably from _manati_, _auke_, and _-it_ locative;
'in the Island country,' or 'country of the Islanders.'

The other name of 'Island,' in Algonkin languages, is AHQUEDNE or
OCQUIDNE; with the locative; _ahquednet_, as in Acts xxvii. 16.
(Compare, Cree, _ákootin_, "it suspends, is _sit_-uate, e.g. an island
in the water," from _âkoo_, a verbal root "expressive of a state of
rest." Howse's Grammar, p. 152. Micmac, _agwitk_, "it is in the
water;" whence, _Ep-agwit_, "it lies [sits?] in the water,"[45] the
Indian name of Prince Edward's Island.) This appears to have been
restricted in its application, to islands lying near the main land or
spoken of _with reference_ to the main land. Roger Williams learned
from the Narragansetts to call Rhode Island, _Aquiday_, Aquednet, &c.,
'_the_ Island' or 'at the Island,' and a "little island in the mouth
of the Bay," was _Aquedenesick_,[46] or Aquidneset, i.e. 'at the small

[Footnote 45: Dawson's Acadian Geology, App. p. 673.]

[Footnote 46: 4th Mass. Hist. Collections, vi. 267.]

_Chippaquiddick_, the modern name of an island divided by a narrow
strait from Martha's Vineyard, is from _cheppi-aquidne_, 'separated

Abnaki names ending in _-ka[n]tti_, or _-kontee_ (Mass. _-kontu_;
Etchemin or Maliseet, _-kodiah_, _-quoddy_; Micmac, _-ka[n]di_, or
_-aikadee_;) may be placed with those of the first class, though this
termination, representing a substantival component, is really only the
locative affix of nouns in the _indefinite plural_. Exact location was
denoted by affixing, to inanimate nouns-singular, _-et_, _-it_ or
_-ut_; proximity, or something _less_ than exact location, by _-set_,
(interposing _s_, the characteristic of diminutives and derogatives)
between the noun and affix. _Plural_ nouns, representing a _definite
number_ of individuals, or a number which might be regarded _as_
definite, received _-ettu_, _-ittu_, or _-uttu_, in the locative: but
if the number was _indefinite_, or many individuals were spoken of
collectively, the affix was _-kontu_, denoting 'where many are,' or
'place of abundance.' For example, _wadchu_, mountain; _wadchu-ut_,
to, on, or at the mountain; _wadchu-set_, near the mountain;
_wadchuuttu_ (or _-ehtu_), in or among _certain mountains_, known or
indicated (as in Eliot's version of Numbers xxxiii. 47, 48);
_wadchué-kontu_, among mountains, where there are a great many
mountains, for 'in the hill country,' Joshua xiii. 6. So,
_nippe-kontu_, 'in the waters,' i.e. in _many_ waters, or 'where there
is much water,' Deut. iv. 18; v. 8. In Deuteronomy xi. 11, the
conversion to a verb of a noun which had previously received this
affix, shows that the idea of _abundance_ or of _multitude_ is
associated with it: "_ohke wadchuuhkontu[oo]_," i.e.
_wadechué-kontu-[oo]_, "the land is a land of hills," that is, where
are _many_ hills, or where hills are _plenty_.

This form of verb was rarely used by Eliot and is not alluded to in
his Grammar. It appears to have been less common in the Massachusetts
than in most of the other Algonkin languages. In the Chippewa, an
'abundance verb,' as Baraga[47] calls it, may be formed from any noun,
by adding _-ka_ or _-[)i]ka_ for the indicative present: in the Cree,
by adding _-skow_ or _-ooskow_. In the Abnaki, _-ka_ or _-k[oo]_, or
_-ik[oo]_, forms similar verbs, and verbals. The final _'tti_ of
_ka[n]tti_, represents the impersonal _a'tté_, _eto_, 'there belongs
to it,' 'there is there,' _il y a_. (Abn. _meskik[oo]i'ka[n]tti_,
'where there is abundance of grass,' is the equivalent of the Micmac
"_m'skeegoo-aicadee_, a meadow."[48])

[Footnote 47: Otchipwe Grammar, pp. 87, 412.]

[Footnote 48: Mr. Rand's Micmac Vocabulary, in Schoolcraft's
Collections, vol. v. p. 579.]

Among Abnaki place-names having this form, the following deserve

_A[n]mes[oo]k-ka[n]tti_, 'where there is plenty of _alewives_ or
_herrings_;' from Abn. _a[n]ms[oo]ak_ (Narr. _aumsûog_; Mass.
_ômmissuog_, cotton;) literally, 'small fishes,' but appropriated to
fish of the herring tribe, including alewives and menhaden or
bony-fish. Râle gives this as the name of one of the Abnaki villages
on or near the river 'Aghenibekki.' It is the same, probably, as the
'Meesee Contee' or 'Meesucontee,' at Farmington Falls, on Sandy River,
Me.[49] With the suffix of 'place' or 'land,' it has been written
_Amessagunticook_ and _Amasaquanteg_.

[Footnote 49: Coll. Me. Hist. Society, iv. 31, 105.]

'_Amoscoggin_,' 'Ammarescoggen,' &c., and the '_Aumoughcawgen_' of
Capt. John Smith, names given to the Kennebec or its main western
branch, the Androscoggin,[50]--appear to have belonged, originally, to
'fishing places' on the river, from Abn. _a[n]m's[oo]a-khíge_, or
_a[n]m's[oo]a-ka[n]gan_. 'Amoskeag,' at the falls of the Merrimack,
has the same meaning, probably; _a[n]m's[oo]a-khíge_ (Mass.
_ômmissakkeag_), a 'fishing-place for alewives.' It certainly does
_not_ mean 'beavers,' or 'pond or marsh' of beavers,--as Mr.
Schoolcraft supposed it to mean.[51]

[Footnote 50: The statement that the Androscoggin received its present
name in compliment to Edmond Andros, about 1684, is erroneous. This
form of the name appears as early as 1639, in the release by Thomas
Purchase to the Governor of Massachusetts,--correctly printed (from
the original draft in the handwriting of Thomas Lechford) in Mass.
Records, vol. i. p. 272.]

[Footnote 51: Information respecting the Indian Tribes, &c., vol. iii.
p. 526.]

_Madamiscomtis_ or _Mattammiscontis_, the name of a tributary of the
Penobscot and of a town in Lincoln county, Me., was translated by Mr.
Greenleaf, in 1823, "Young Alewive stream;" but it appears to
represent _met-a[n]ms[oo]ak-ka[n]tti_, 'a place where there _has been_
(but is not now) plenty of alewives,' or to which they no longer
resort. Compare Râle's _met-a[n]m[oo]ak_, "les poissons ont faites
leurs oeufs; ils s'en sont allés; il n'y en a plus."

_Cobbosseecontee_ river, in the south part of Kennebec county, is
named from a place near "the mouth of the stream, where it adjoineth
itself to Kennebec river,"[52] and 'where there was plenty of

[Footnote 52: Depositions in Coll. Me. Histor. Society, iv. 113.]

'_Peskadamioukkanti_' is given by Charlevoix, as the Indian name of
"the river of the Etchemins," that is, the St. Croix,--a name which is
now corrupted to _Passamaquoddy_; but this latter form of the name is
probably derived from the _Etchemin_, while Charlevoix wrote the
_Abnaki_ form. The Rev. Elijah Kellogg, in 1828,[53] gave, as the
meaning of 'Passamaquoddie,' 'pollock fish,' and the Rev. Mr. Rand
translates 'Pestumoo-kwoddy' by 'pollock ground.'[54] Cotton's
vocabulary gives '_pâkonnótam_' for 'haddock.' Perhaps
_peskadami[oo]k_, like _a[n]ms[oo]ak_, belonged to more than one
species of fish.

[Footnote 53: 3 Mass. Hist. Coll., iii. 181.]

[Footnote 54: Dawson's Acadian Geology, 2d ed., (London, 1868), pp. 3,

Of Etchemin and Micmac words having a similar termination, we find
among others,--

_Shubenacadie_ (_Chebenacardie_ on Charlevoix' map, and _Shebenacadia_
on Jeffry's map of 1775). One of the principal rivers of Nova Scotia,
was so named because '_sipen-ak_ were plenty there.' Professor Dawson
was informed by an "ancient Micmac patriarch," that "_Shuben_ or
_Sgabun_ means ground-nuts or Indian potatoes," and by the Rev. Mr.
Rand, of Hantsport, N.S., that "_segubbun_ is a ground-nut, and
_Segubbuna-kaddy_ is the place or region of ground-nuts," &c.[55] It
is not quite certain that _shuben_ and _segubbun_ denote the same
esculent root. The Abnaki name of the wild potato or ground-nut was
_pen_, pl. _penak_ (Chip. _opin-[=i]g_; Del. _obben-ak_); '_sipen_,'
which is obviously the equivalent of _sheben_, Râle describes as
"blanches, plus grosses que des _penak_:" and _sheep'n-ak_ is the
modern Abnaki (Penobscot) name for the bulbous roots of the Yellow
Lily (_Lilium Canadense_). Thoreau's Indian guide in the 'Maine Woods'
told him that these bulbs "were good for soup, that is to cook with
meat to thicken it,"--and taught him how to prepare them.[56] Josselyn
mentions such "a water-lily, with yellow flowers," of which "the
Indians eat the roots" boiled.[57]

[Footnote 55: Acadian Geology, pp. 1, 3.]

[Footnote 56: Maine Woods, pp. 194, 284, 326.]

[Footnote 57: Voyages, p. 44.]

"_Segoonuma-kaddy_, place of _gaspereaux_; Gaspereau or Alewife
River," "_Boonamoo-kwoddy_, Tom Cod ground," and "_Kata-kaddy_,
eel-ground,"--are given by Professor Dawson, on Mr. Rand's authority.
_Segoonumak_ is the equivalent of Mass. and Narr. _sequanamâuquock_,
'spring (or early summer) fish,' by R. Williams translated 'bream.'
And _boonamoo_,--the _ponamo_ of Charlevoix (i. 127), who confounded
it with some 'species of dog-fish (chien de mer),'--is the
_ap[oo]na[n]-mes[oo]_ of Rasles and _papônaumsu_, 'winter fish,' of
Roger Williams, 'which some call frost-fish,'--_Morrhua pruinosa_.

The frequent occurrence of this termination in Micmac, Etchemin and
Abnaki local names gives probability to the conjecture, that it came
to be regarded as a general name for the region which these tribes
inhabited,--'L'arcadia,' 'l'Accadie,' and 'la Cadie,' of early
geographers and voyagers. Dr. Kohl has not found this name on any
earlier map than that published by Girolamo Ruscelli in 1561.[58] That
it is of Indian origin there is hardly room for doubt, and of two or
three possible derivations, that from the terminal _-kâdi_, _-kodiah_,
or _-ka[n]tti_, is on the whole preferable. But this termination, in
the sense of 'place of abundance' or in that of 'ground, land, or
place,' cannot be used _separately_, as an independent word, in any
one of the languages which have been mentioned; and it is singular
that, in two or three instances, only this termination should have
been preserved after the first and more important component of the
name was lost.

[Footnote 58: See Coll. Me. Hist. Society, 2d Ser., vol. i. p. 234.]

There are two Abnaki words which are not unlike _-ka[n]tti_ in sound,
one or both of which may perhaps be found in some local names: (1)
_ka[oo]di_, 'where he sleeps,' a _lodging place_ of men or animals;
and (2) _ak[oo]daï[oo]i_, in composition or as a prefix, _ak[oo]dé_,
'against the current,' up-stream; as in _ned-ak[oo]té'hémen_, 'I go up
stream,' and _[oo]derak[oo]da[n]na[n]_, 'the fish go up stream.' Some
such synthesis may have given names to fishing-places on tidal rivers,
and I am more inclined to regard the name of 'Tracadie' or 'Tracody'
as a corruption of _[oo]derak[oo]da[n]_, than to derive it (with
Professor Dawson[59] and the Rev. Mr. Rand) from "_Tulluk-kaddy_;
probably, place of residence; dwelling place,"--or rather (for the
termination requires this), where residences or dwellings are
_plenty_,--where there is _abundance_ of dwelling place. There is a
Tracadie in Nova Scotia, another (_Tregaté_, of Champlain) on the
coast of New Brunswick, a Tracody or Tracady Bay in Prince Edward's
Island, and a Tracadigash Point in Chaleur Bay.

[Footnote 59: Acadian Geology, l.c.]

Thevet, in _La Cosmographie universelle_,[60] gives an account of his
visit in 1556, to "one of the finest rivers in the whole world which
we call _Norumbegue_, and the aborigines _Agoncy_,"--now Penobscot
Bay. In 'Agoncy' we have, I conjecture, another form of the Abnaki
_-ka[n]tti_, and an equivalent of 'Acadie.'

[Footnote 60: Cited by Dr. Kohl, in Coll. Me. Hist. Society, N.S., i.

       *       *       *       *       *

II. Names formed from a single ground-word or substantival,--with or
without a locative or other suffix.

To this class belong some names already noticed in connection with
compound names to which they are related; such as, _Wachu-set_, 'near
the mountain;' _Menahan_ (_Menan_), _Manati_, _Manathaan_, 'island;'
_Manataan-ung_, _Aquedn-et_, 'on the island,' &c. Of the many which
might be added to these, the limits of this paper permit me to mention
only a few.

1. NÂÏAG, 'a corner, angle, or point.' This is a verbal, formed from
_nâ-i_, 'it is angular,' 'it _corners_.' Eliot wrote "_yaue naiyag
wetu_" for the "four corners of a house," Job i. 19. Sometimes, _nâi_
receives, instead of the formative _-ag_, the locative affix (_nâï-it_
or _nâï-ut_); sometimes it is used as an adjectival prefixed to
_auke_, 'land.' One or another of these forms serves as the name of a
great number of river and sea-coast 'points.' In Connecticut, we find
a '_Nayaug_' at the southern extremity of Mason's Island in Mystic
Bay, and '_Noank_' (formerly written, _Naweag_, _Naiwayonk_, _Noïank_,
&c.) at the west point of Mystic River's mouth, in Groton; _Noag_ or
_Noyaug_, in Glastenbury, &c. In Rhode Island, _Nayatt_ or _Nayot_
point in Barrington, on Providence Bay, and _Nahiganset_ or
Narragansett, 'the country about the Point.'[61] On Long Island,
_Nyack_ on Peconick Bay, Southampton,[62] and another at the west end
of the Island, opposite Coney Island. There is also a _Nyack_ on the
west side of the Tappan Sea, in New Jersey.

[Footnote 61: See _Narragansett Club Publications_, vol. i. p. 22
(note 6).]

[Footnote 62: On Block's Map, 1616, the "Nahicans" are marked on the
easternmost point of Long Island.]

2. WONKUN, 'bended,' 'a bend,' was sometimes used without affix. The
Abnaki equivalent is _[oo]a[n]ghíghen_, 'courbe,' 'croché' (Râle).
There was a _Wongun_, on the Connecticut, between Glastenbury and
Wethersfield, and another, more considerable, a few miles below, in
Middletown. _Wonki_ is found in compound names, as an adjectival; as
in _Wonki-tuk_, 'bent river,' on the Quinebaug, between Plainfield and
Canterbury,--written by early recorders, 'Wongattuck,' 'Wanungatuck,'
&c., and at last transferred from its proper place to a _hill_ and
_brook_ west of the river, where it is disguised as _Nunkertunk_. The
Great Bend between Hadley and Hatfield, Mass., was called
_Kuppo-wonkun-ohk_, 'close bend place,' or 'place shut-in by a bend.'
A tract of meadow west of this bend was called, in 1660,
'Cappowonganick,' and 'Capawonk,' and still retains, I believe, the
latter name.[63] _Wnogquetookoke_, the Indian name of Stockbridge,
Mass., as written by Dr. Edwards in the Muhhecan dialect, describes "a
bend-of-the-river place."

[Footnote 63: Judd's History of Hadley, 115, 116, 117.]

Another Abnaki word meaning 'curved,'
'crooked,'--_pika[n]ghén_--occurs in the name _Pika[n]ghenahik_, now
'Crooked Island,' in Penobscot River.[64]

[Footnote 64: Mr. Moses Greenleaf, in 1823, wrote this name,

3. HÓCQUAUN (UHQUÔN, Eliot), 'hook-shaped,' 'a hook,'--is the base of
_Hoccanum_, the name of a tract of land and the stream which bounds
it, in East Hartford, and of other Hoccanums, in Hadley and in
Yarmouth, Mass. Heckewelder[65] wrote "_Okhúcquan, Woâkhúcquoan_ or
(short) _Húcquan_," for the modern 'Occoquan,' the name of a river in
Virginia, and remarked: "All these names signify _a hook_." Campanius
has '_hóckung_' for 'a hook.'

[Footnote 65: On Indian names, in Trans. Am. Phil. Society, N.S., vol.
iv., p. 377.]

_Hackensack_ may have had its name from the _húcquan-sauk_, 'hook
mouth,' by which the waters of Newark Bay find their way, around
Bergen Point, by the Kill van Cul, to New York Bay.

3. [Transcriber's Note: sic] SÓHK or SAUK, a root that denotes
'pouring out,' is the base of many local names for 'the outlet' or
'discharge' of a river or lake. The Abnaki forms, _sa[n]g[oo]k_,
'sortie de la rivière (seu) la source,' and _sa[n]ghede'teg[oo]é_ [=
Mass. _saukituk_,] gave names to _Saco_ in Maine, to the river which
has its outflow at that place, and to _Sagadahock_ (_sa[n]ghede'aki_),
'land at the mouth' of Kennebeck river.

_Saucon_, the name of a creek and township in Northampton county,
Penn., "denotes (says Heckewelder[66]) the outlet of a smaller stream
into a larger one,"--which restricts the denotation too narrowly. The
name means "the outlet,"--and nothing more. Another _Soh´coon_, or
(with the locative) _Saukunk_, "at the mouth" of the Big Beaver, on
the Ohio,--now in the township of Beaver, Penn.,--was a well known
rendezvous of Indian war parties.[67]

[Footnote 66: Ibid. p. 357.]

[Footnote 67: Paper on Indian Names, ut supra, p. 366; and 3 Mass.
Historical Collections, vi. 145. [Compare, the Iroquois _Swa-deh´_ and
_Oswa´-go_ (modern _Oswego_), which has the same meaning as Alg.
_sauki_,--"flowing out."--_Morgan's League of the Iroquois_.]]

_Saganaum_, _Sagana_, now _Saginaw_[68] Bay, on Lake Huron, received
its name from the mouth of the river which flows through it to the

[Footnote 68: _Saguinam_, Charlevoix, i. 501; iii. 279.]

The _Mississagas_ were people of the _missi-sauk_, _missi-sague_, or
(with locative) _missi-sak-ing_,[69] that is 'great outlet.' In the
last half of the seventeenth century they were seated on the banks of
a river which is described as flowing into Lake Huron some twenty or
thirty leagues south of the Sault Ste. Marie (the same river probably
that is now known as the Mississauga, emptying into Manitou Bay,) and
nearly opposite the Straits of Mississauga on the South side of the
Bay, between Manitoulin and Cockburn Islands. So little is known
however of the history and migrations of this people, that it is
perhaps impossible now to identify the 'great outlet' from which they
first had their name.

[Footnote 69: _Relations des Jésuites_, 1658, p. 22; 1648, p. 62;
1671, pp. 25, 31.]

The _Saguenay_ (Sagnay, Sagné, Saghuny, etc.), the great tributary of
the St. Lawrence, was so called either from the well-known
trading-place at its mouth, the annual resort of the Montagnars and
all the eastern tribes,[70] or more probably from the 'Grand
Discharge'[71] of its main stream from Lake St. John and its strong
current to and past the rapids at Chicoutimi, and thence on to the St.
Lawrence.[72] Near Lake St. John and the Grand Discharge was another
rendezvous of the scattered tribes. The missionary Saint-Simon in 1671
described this place as one at which "all the nations inhabiting the
country between the two seas (towards the east and north) assembled to
barter their furs." Hind's Exploration of Labrador, ii. 23.

[Footnote 70: Charlevoix, Nouv. France, iii. 65; Gallatin's Synopsis,
p. 24.]

[Footnote 71: This name is still retained.]

[Footnote 72: When first discovered the Saguenay was not regarded as a
river, but as a strait or passage by which the waters of some northern
sea flowed to the St. Lawrence. But on a French map of 1543, the 'R.
de Sagnay' and the country of 'Sagnay' are laid down. See Maine Hist.
Soc. Collections, 2d Series, vol. i., pp. 331, 354. Charlevoix gives
_Pitchitaouichetz_, as the Indian name of the River.]

In composition with _-tuk_, 'river' or 'tidal stream,' _sauki_
(adjectival) gave names to '_Soakatuck_,' now Saugatuck, the mouth of
a river in Fairfield county, Conn.; to '_Sawahquatock_,' or
'_Sawkatuck-et_,' at the outlet of Long Pond or mouth of Herring
River, in Harwich, Mass.; and perhaps to _Massaugatucket_,
(_missi-saukituk-ut_?), in Marshfield, Mass., and in South Kingston,
R.I.,--a name which, in both places, has been shortened to

'_Winnipiseogee_' (pronounced _Win´ ni pe sauk´ e_,) is compounded of
_winni_, _nippe_, and _sauki_, 'good-water discharge,' and the name
must have belonged originally to the _outlet_ by which the waters of
the lake pass to the Merrimack, rather than to the lake itself.
Winnepesauke, Wenepesioco and (with the locative) Winnipesiockett, are
among the early forms of the name. The translation of this synthesis
by 'the Smile of the Great Spirit' is sheer nonsense. Another, first
proposed by the late Judge Potter of New Hampshire, in his History of
Manchester (p. 27),[73]--'the beautiful water of the high place,'--is
demonstrably wrong. It assumes that _is_ or _es_ represents _kees_,
meaning 'high;' to which assumption there are two objections: first,
that there is no evidence that such a word as _kees_, meaning 'high,'
is found in any Algonkin language, and secondly, that if there be such
a word, it must retain its significant root, in any synthesis of which
it makes part,--in other words, that _kees_ could not drop its initial
_k_ and preserve its meaning. I was at first inclined to accept the
more probable translation proposed by 'S.F.S.' [S.F. Streeter?] in
the Historical Magazine for August, 1857,[74]--"the land of the placid
or beautiful lake;" but, in the dialects of New England, _nippisse_ or
_nips_, a diminutive of _nippe_, 'water,' is never used for _paug_,
'lake' or 'standing water;'[75] and if it were sometimes so used, the
extent of Lake Winnepiseogee forbids it to be classed with the 'small
lakes' or 'ponds,' to which, only, the _diminutive_ is appropriate.

[Footnote 73: And in the _Historical Magazine_, vol. i. p. 246.]

[Footnote 74: Vol. i. p. 246.]

[Footnote 75: See pp. 14, 15.]

4. NASHAUÉ (Chip. _nássawaiï_ and _ashawiwi_), 'mid-way,' or
'between,' and with _ohke_ or _auk_ added, 'the land between' or 'the
half-way place,'--was the name of several localities. The tract on
which Lancaster, in Worcester county (Mass.) was settled, was
'between' the branches of the river, and so it was called '_Nashaway_'
or '_Nashawake_' (_nashaué-ohke_); and this name was afterwards
transferred from the territory to the river itself. There was another
_Nashaway_ in Connecticut, between Quinnebaug and Five-Mile Rivers in
Windham county, and here, too, the mutilated name of the
_nashaue-ohke_ was transferred, as _Ashawog_ or _Assawog_, to the
Five-Mile River. _Natchaug_ in the same county, the name of the
eastern branch of Shetucket river, belonged originally to the tract
'between' the eastern and western branches; and the Shetucket itself
borrows a name (_nashaue-tuk-ut_) from its place 'between' Yantic and
Quinebaug rivers. A neck of land (now in Griswold, Conn.) "between
Pachaug River and a brook that comes into it from the south," one of
the Muhhekan east boundaries, was called sometimes, _Shawwunk_, 'at
the place between,'--sometimes _Shawwâmug_ (_nashaué-amaug_), 'the
fishing-place between' the rivers, or the 'half-way

[Footnote 76: Chandler's Survey and Map of the Mohegan country, 1705.
Compare the Chip. _ashawiwi-sitagon_, "a place from which water runs
two ways," a dividing ridge or portage _between_ river courses. Owen's
Geological Survey of Wisconsin, etc., p. 312.]

5. ASHIM, is once used by Eliot (Cant. iv. 12) for 'fountain.' It
denoted a _spring_ or brook from which water was obtained for
drinking. In the Abnaki, _asiem nebi_, 'il puise de l'eau;' and
_ned-a'sihibe_, 'je puise de l'eau, _fonti vel fluvio_.' (Rasles.)

_Winne-ashim-ut_, 'at the good spring,' near Romney Marsh, is now
Chelsea, Mass. The name appears in deeds and records as Winnisimmet,
Winisemit, Winnet Semet, etc. The author of the 'New English Canaan'
informs us (book 2, ch. 8), that "At _Weenasemute_ is a water, the
virtue whereof is, to cure barrennesse. The place taketh his name of
that fountaine, which signifieth _quick spring_, or _quickning
spring_. Probatum."

_Ashimuit_ or _Shumuit_, an Indian village near the line between
Sandwich and Falmouth, Mass.,--_Shaume_, a neck and river in Sandwich
(the _Chawum_ of Capt. John Smith?),--_Shimmoah_, an Indian village on
Nantucket,--may all have derived their names from springs resorted to
by the natives, as was suggested by the Rev. Samuel Deane in a paper
in _Mass. Hist. Collections_, 2d Series, vol. x. pp. 173, 174.

6. MATTAPPAN, a participle of _mattappu_ (Chip. _namátabi_), 'he sits
down,' denotes a 'sitting-down place,' or, as generally employed in
local names, _the end of a portage_ between two rivers or from one arm
of the sea to another,--where the canoe was launched again and its
bearers re-embarked. Râle translates the Abnaki equivalent,
_mata[n]be_, by 'il va au bord de l'eau,--a la grève pour
s'embarquer,' and _meta[n]béniganik_, by 'au bout de delà du portage.'

_Mattapan-ock_, afterwards shortened to _Mattapan_, that part of
Dorchester Neck (South Boston) where "the west country people were set
down" in 1630,[77] may have been so called because it was the end of a
carrying place from South Bay to Dorchester Bay, across the narrowest
part of the peninsula, or--as seems highly probable--because it was
the temporary 'sitting-down place' of the new comers. Elsewhere, we
find the name evidently associated with _portage_.

[Footnote 77: Blake's Annals of Dorchester, p. 9; Winthrop's Journal,
vol. i. p. 28.]

On Smith's Map of Virginia, one '_Mattapanient_' appears as the name
of the northern fork (now the _Mattápony_) of Pamaunk (York) River;
another (_Mattpanient_) near the head waters of the Pawtuxunt; and a
third on the 'Chickahamania' not far above its confluence with
Powhatan (James) River.

_Mattapoiset_, on an inlet of Buzzard's Bay, in Rochester,
Mass.,--another Mattapoiset or 'Mattapuyst,' now Gardner's Neck, in
Swanzea,--and 'Mattapeaset' or 'Mattabesic,' on the great bend of the
Connecticut (now Middletown), derived their names from the same word,

On a map of Lake Superior, made by Jesuit missionaries and published
in Paris in 1672, the stream which is marked on modern maps as
'Rivière aux Traines' or 'Train River,' is named 'R. _Mataban_.' The
small lake from which it flows is the 'end of portage' between the
waters of Lake Michigan and those of Lake Superior.

7. CHABENUK, 'a bound mark'; literally, 'that which separates or
divides.' A hill in Griswold, Conn., which was anciently one of the
Muhhekan east bound-marks, was called _Chabinu[n]k_, 'Atchaubennuck,'
and 'Chabunnuck.' The village of praying Indians in Dudley (now
Webster?) Mass., was named _Chabanakongkomuk_ (Eliot, 1668,) or
_-ongkomum_, and the Great Pond still retains, it is said, the name of
Chaubenagungamaug (_chabenukong-amaug_?), "the boundary
fishing-place." This pond was a bound mark between the Nipmucks and
the Muhhekans, and was resorted to by Indians of both nations.

       *       *       *       *       *

III. Participials and verbals employed as place-names may generally,
as was before remarked, be referred to one or the other of the two
preceding classes. The distinction between noun and verb is less
clearly marked in Indian grammar than in English. The name
_Mushauwomuk_ (corrupted to _Shawmut_) may be regarded as a
participle from the verb _mushau[oo]m_ (Narr. _mishoonhom_) 'he goes
by boat,'--or as a noun, meaning 'a ferry,'--or as a name of the first
class, compounded of the adjectival _mush[oo]-n_, 'boat or canoe,' and
_wom[oo]-uk_, habitual or customary _going_, i.e., 'where there is

The analysis of names of this class is not easy. In most cases, its
results must be regarded as merely provisional. Without some clue
supplied by history or tradition and without accurate knowledge of the
locality to which the name belongs, or _is supposed_ to belong, one
can never be certain of having found the right key to the synthesis,
however well it may seem to fit the lock. Experience Mayhew writing
from Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard, in 1722, gives the Indian name of
the place where he was living as _Nimpanickhickanuh_. If he had not
added the information that the name "signifies in English, _The place
of thunder clefts_," and that it was so called "because there was once
a tree there split in pieces by the thunder," it is not likely that
any one in this generation would have discovered its precise
meaning,--though it might have been conjectured that _neimpau_, or
_nimbau_, 'thunder,' made a part of it.

_Quilútámende_ was (Heckewelder tells us[78]) the Delaware name of a
place on the Susquehanna, in Pennsylvania, where, as the Indians say,
"in their wars with the Five Nations, they fell by surprise upon their
enemies. The word or name of this place is therefore, _Where we came
unawares upon them_, &c." Without the tradition, the meaning of the
name would not have been guessed,--or, if guessed, would not have been
confidently accepted.

[Footnote 78: On Indian Names, in _Trans. Am. Philos. Society_, N.S.
iv. 361.]

The difficulty of analyzing such names is greatly increased by the
fact that they come to us in corrupt forms. The same name may be
found, in early records, written in a dozen different ways, and some
three or four of these may admit of as many different translations.
Indian grammatical synthesis was _exact_. Every consonant and every
vowel had its office and its place. Not one could be dropped or
transposed, nor could one be added, without _change of meaning_. Now
most of the Indian local names were first written by men who cared
nothing for their meaning and knew nothing of the languages to which
they belonged. Of the few who had learned to speak one or more of
these languages, no two adopted the same way of writing them, and no
one--John Eliot excepted--appears to have been at all careful to write
the same word twice alike. In the seventeenth century men took
considerable liberties with the spelling of their own surnames and
very large liberty with English polysyllables--especially with local
names. Scribes who contrived to find five or six ways of writing
'Hartford' or 'Wethersfield,' were not likely to preserve uniformity
in their dealings with Indian names. A few letters more or less were
of no great consequence, but, generally, the writers tried to keep on
the safe side, by putting in as many as they could find room for;
prefixing a _c_ to every _k_, doubling every _w_ and _g_, and tacking
on a superfluous final _e_, for good measure.

In some instances, what is supposed to be an Indian place-name is in
fact a _personal_ name, borrowed from some sachem or chief who lived
on or claimed to own the territory. Names of this class are likely to
give trouble to translators. I was puzzled for a long time by
'_Mianus_,' the name of a stream between Stamford and Greenwich,--till
I remembered that _Mayano_, an Indian warrior (who was killed by Capt.
Patrick in 1643) had lived hereabouts; and on searching the Greenwich
records, I found the stream was first mentioned as _Moyannoes_ and
_Mehanno's_ creek, and that it bounded 'Moyannoe's neck' of land.
_Moosup_ river, which flows westerly through Plainfield into the
Quinebaug and which has given names to a post-office and factory
village, was formerly _Moosup's_ river,--Moosup or _Maussup_ being one
of the aliases of a Narragansett sachem who is better known, in the
history of Philip's war, as Pessacus. Heckewelder[79] restores
'Pymatuning,' the name of a place in Pennsylvania, to the Del.
'_Pihmtónink_,' meaning, "the dwelling place of the man with the
crooked mouth, or the crooked man's dwelling place," and adds, that he
"knew the man perfectly well," who gave this name to the locality.

[Footnote 79: On Indian Names (_ut supra_), p. 365.]

Some of the examples which have been given,--such as _Higganum_,
_Nunkertunk_, _Shawmut_, _Swamscot_ and _Titicut_,--show how the
difficulties of analysis have been increased by phonetic corruption,
sometimes to such a degree as hardly to leave a trace of the original.
Another and not less striking example is presented by _Snipsic_, the
modern name of a pond between Ellington and Tolland. If we had not
access to Chandler's Survey of the Mohegan Country, made in 1705, who
would suppose that 'Snipsic' was the surviving representative of
_Moshenupsuck_, 'great-pond brook' or (literally) 'great-pond outlet,'
at the south end of _Moshenups_ or _Mashenips_ 'great pond?' The
territories of three nations, the Muhhekans, Nipmucks and River
Indians, ran together at this point.

'_Nameroake_,' '_Namareck_' or '_Namelake_,' in East Windsor, was
transformed to _May-luck_, giving to a brook a name which 'tradition'
derives from the 'luck' of a party of emigrants who came in 'May' to
the Connecticut.[80] The original name appears to have been the
equivalent of 'Nameaug' or 'Nameoke' (New London), and to mean 'the
fishing place,'--_n'amaug_ or _nama-ohke_.

[Footnote 80: Stiles's History of Ancient Windsor, p. 111.]

But none of these names exhibits a more curious transformation than
that of '_Bagadoose_' or '_Bigaduce_,' a peninsula on the east side of
Penobscot Bay, now Castine, Me. Williamson's History of Maine (ii.
572) states on the authority of Col. J. Wardwell of Penobscot, in
1820, that this point bore the name of a former resident, a Frenchman,
one 'Major Biguyduce.' Afterwards, the historian was informed that
'_Marche bagyduce_' was an Indian word meaning 'no good cove.' Mr.
Joseph Williamson, in a paper in the Maine Historical Society's
Collections (vol. vi. p. 107) identifies this name with the
_Matchebiguatus_ of Edward Winslow's quitclaim to Massachusetts in
1644,[81] and correctly translates the prefix _matche_ by 'bad,' but
adds: "What _Biguatus_ means, I do not know." Purchas mentions
'_Chebegnadose_,' as an Indian town on the 'Apananawapeske' or
Penobscot.[82] Râle gives, as the name of the place on "the river
where M. de Gastin [Castine] is," _Matsibig[oo]ad[oo]ssek_, and on his
authority we may accept this form as nearly representing the original.
The analysis now becomes more easy. _Matsi-a[n]baga[oo]at-ek_, means
'at the bad-shelter place,--bad _covert_ or cove;' and
_matsi-a[n]baga[oo]at[oo]s-ek_ the diminutive, 'at the small
bad-shelter place.' About two miles and a half above the mouth of the
Kenebec was a place called by the Indians '_Abagadusset_' or
'_Abequaduset_'--the same name without the prefix--meaning 'at the
cove, or place of shelter.'

[Footnote 81: Printed in note to Savage's Winthrop's Journal, ii.

[Footnote 82: See Thornton's Ancient Pemaquid, in Maine Hist.
Collections, v. 156.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The adjectivals employed in the composition of Algonkin names are very
numerous, and hardly admit of classification. Noun, adjective, adverb
or even an active verb may, with slight change of form, serve as a
prefix. But, as was before remarked, every prefix, strictly
considered, is an adverb or must be construed as an adverb,--the
synthesis which serves as a name having generally the verb form. Some
of the most common of these prefixes have been mentioned on preceding
pages. A few others, whose meanings are less obvious and have been
sometimes mistaken by translators, may deserve more particular notice.

1. POHQUI, POHQUAE´; Narr. _pâuqui_; Abn. _p[oo]'k[oo]ié_; 'open,'
'clear' (primarily, 'broken'). In composition with _ohke_, 'land,' or
formed as a verbal in _-aug_, it denotes 'cleared land' or 'an open
place:' as in the names variously written 'Pahquioque,' 'Paquiaug;'
'Pyquaag;' 'Poquaig,' 'Payquaoge,' &c., in Danbury and Wethersfield,
and in Athol, Mass.

2. PAHKE (Abn. _pa[n]g[oo]i_,) 'clear,' 'pure'. Found with _paug_,
'standing water' or 'pond,' in such names as 'Pahcupog,' 'Paquabaug,'
&c. See page 16.

3. PÂGUAN-AÜ, 'he destroys,' 'he slaughters' (Narr. _paúquana_, 'there
is a slaughter') in composition with _ohke_ denotes 'place of
slaughter' or 'of destruction,' and commemorates some sanguinary
victory or disastrous defeat. This is _probably_ the meaning of nearly
all the names written 'Poquannoc,' 'Pequannoc,' 'Pauganuck,' &c., of
places in Bridgeport (Stratfield), Windsor and Groton, Conn., and of a
town in New Jersey. Some of these, however, may possibly be derived
from _paukunni_ and _ohke_, 'dark place.'

4. PEMI (Abn. _pemai-[oo]i_; Del. _pimé-u_; Cree, _peemé_;) denotes
deviation from a straight line; 'sloping,' 'aslant,' 'twisted.'
PUMMEECHE (Cree, _pimich_; Chip. _pemiji_; Abn. _pemetsi_;)
'crosswise; traverse.' Eliot wrote '_pummeeche may_' for 'cross-way,'
Obad. 14; and _pumetshin_ (literally, 'it crosses') for 'a cross,' as
in _up-pumetshin-eum_, 'his cross,' Luke xiv. 27. _Pemiji-gome_ or
_Pemiji-guma_, 'cross water,' is the Chippewa name for a lake whose
longest diameter crosses the general course of the river which flows
through it,--which stretches _across_, not _with_ the stream. There is
such a lake in Minnesota, near the sources of the Mississippi, just
below the junction of the two primary forks of that river; another
('Pemijigome') in the chain of small lakes which are the northern
sources of the Manidowish (and Chippewa) River in Wisconsin, and still
another near the Lacs des Flambeaux, the source of Flambeau River, an
affluent of the Manidowish.

The same prefix or its equivalent occurs in the name of a lake in
Maine, near the source of the Alligash branch of St. John's River. Mr.
Greenleaf, in a list of Indian names made in 1823,[83] gave this as
"BAAM´CHE_nun´gamo_ or _Ah_P´MOOJEE`_negmook_." Thoreau[84] was
informed by his Penobscot guide, that the name "means 'Lake that is
crossed;' because the usual course lies across, not along it." There
is another "Cross Lake," in Aroostook county, near the head of Fish
River. We seem to recognize, and with less difficulty, the same prefix
in _Pemigewasset_, but the full composition of that name is not clear.

[Footnote 83: Report of American Society for Promoting Civilization of
the Indian Tribes, p. 52.]

[Footnote 84: Maine Woods, 232.]

PEMI- denotes, not a _crossing of_ but _deviation from_ a straight
line, whether vertical or horizontal. In place-names it may generally
be translated by 'sloping' or 'aslant;' sometimes by 'awry' or
'tortuous.' _Pemadené_, which Râle gives as the Abnaki word for
'mountain,' denotes a _sloping_ mountain-side (_pemi-adené_), in
distinction from one that is steep or precipitous. '_Pemetiq_,' the
Indian name of Mount Desert Island, as written by Father Biard in
1611, is the Abnaki _peme'teki_, 'sloping land.' _Pemaquid_ appears to
be another form of the word which Râle wrote '_Pemaa[n]kke_,' meaning
(with the locative suffix) 'at the place where the land slopes;' where
"le terre penche; est en talus."[85] _Pymatuning_, in Pennsylvania, is
explained by Heckewelder, as "the dwelling place of the man with the
crooked mouth; _Pihmtónink_" (from _pimeu_ and _'t[oo]n_).

[Footnote 85: Abnaki Dictionary, s.v. PENCHER. Compare, p. 545,
"_bimk[oo]é_, il penche naturellement la tête sur un côte."]

WANASHQUE, ANASQUI, 'at the extremity of,' 'at the end;' Abn.
_[oo]anask[oo]i[oo]i_, 'au bout;' Cree, _wánnusk[oo]tch_; Chip.
_ishkuè_, _eshqua_. See (pp. 18, 19,) _Wanashqu-ompsk-ut_,
_Wonnesquam_,[86] _Winnesquamsaukit_, _Squamscot_. _Wonasquatucket_, a
small river which divides North Providence and Johnston, R.I., retains
the name which belonged to the point at which it enters an arm of
Narragansett Bay (or Providence River), 'at the end of the
tidal-river.' A stream in Rochester, Mass., which empties into the
head of an inlet from Buzzard's Bay, received the same name.
_Ishquagoma_, on the upper Embarras River, Minnesota, is the 'end
lake,' the extreme point to which canoes go up that stream.

[Footnote 86: _Wonnesquam_ (as should have been mentioned on the page
referred to) may possibly represent the Abnaki
_[oo]anask[oo]a[n]a[n]mi[oo]i_ or _-mek_ 'at the end of the peninsula'
('au bout de la presqu'ile.' Râle).]

Names of _fishes_ supply the adjectival components of many place-names
on the sea-coast of New England, on the lakes, and along
river-courses. The difficulty of analyzing such names is the greater
because the same species of fish was known by different names to
different tribes. The more common substantivals are _-amaug_, 'fishing
place; _-tuk_ or _sipu_, 'river;' _ohke_, 'place;' Abn. _-ka[n]tti_,
'place of abundance;' and _-keag_, _-keke_, Abn. _-khigé_, which
appears to denote a peculiar _mode of fishing_,--perhaps, by a
_weir_;[87] possibly, a _spearing-place_.

[Footnote 87: Schoolcraft derives the name of the _Namakagun_ fork of
the St. Croix river, Wisc., from Chip. "_namai_, sturgeon, and
_kagun_, a yoke or weir."]

From the generic _namaus_ (_namohs_, El.; Abn. _namés_; Del.
_namees_;) 'a fish'--but probably, one of the _smaller_ sort, for the
form is a diminutive,--come such names as _Nameoke_ or _Nameaug_ (New
London), for _namau-ohke_, 'fish country;' _Namasket_ or _Namasseket_
(on Taunton River, in Middleborough, Mass.) 'at the fish place,' a
favorite resort of the Indians of that region; _Namaskeak_, now
Amoskeag, on the Merrimack, and _Nam'skeket_ or _Skeekeet_, in
Wellfleet, Mass.

_M'squammaug_ (Abn. _mesk[oo]amék[oo]_), 'red fish,' i.e. salmon, gave
names to several localities. _Misquamacuck_ or _Squamicut_, now
Westerly, R.I., was 'a salmon place' of the Narragansetts. The initial
_m_ often disappears; and sometimes, so much of the rest of the name
goes with it, that we can only guess at the original synthesis.
'_Gonic_,' a post office and railroad station, near Dover, N.H., on
the Cocheco river, was once '_Squammagonic_,'--and probably, a
salmon-fishing place.

_Kaúposh_ (Abn. _kabassé_, plu. _kabassak_), 'sturgeon,' is a
component of the name _Cobbosseecontee_, in Maine (page 26, ante),
'where sturgeons are plenty;' and _Cobscook_, an arm of Passamaquoddy
Bay, Pembroke, Me., perhaps stands for _kabassakhigé_,
'sturgeon-catching place.'

_Aumsuog_ or _Ommissuog_ (Abn. _a[n]ms[oo]ak_), 'small
fish,'--especially alewives and herrings,--is a component of the name
of the Abnaki village on the Kennebec, _A[n]mes[oo]k-ka[n]tti_; of
_Mattammiscontis_, a tributary of the Kennebec (see p. 25, ante), and
_probably_, of _Amoscoggin_ and _Amoskeag_.

_Qunnôsu_ (pl. _-suog;_ Abn. _k[oo]n[oo]sé;_ Old Alg. _kino[n]jé_;
Chip. _keno´zha_;) is found in the name of _Kenosha_, a town and
county in Wisconsin; perhaps, in _Kenjua_ or _Kenzua_ creek and
township, in Warren county, Pa. _Quinshepaug_ or _Quonshapauge_, in
Mendon, Mass., seems to denote a 'pickerel pond' (_qunnosu-paug_).
_Maskinongé_, i.e. _massa-kino[n]jé_, 'great pike' or maskelunge,
names a river and lake in Canada.

_Pescatum_, said to mean 'pollock,' occurs as an adjectival in
_Peskadamioukka[n]tti_, the modern _Passamaquoddy_ (p. 26).

_Naha[n]m[oo]_, the Abnaki name of the 'eel,' is found in
"_Nehumkeag_, the English of which is _Eel Land_, ... a stream or
brook that empties itself into Kennebec River," not far from
Cobbissecontee.[88] This brook was sometimes called by the English,
_Nehumkee_. The Indian name of Salem, Mass., was _Nehumkeke_ or
_Naümkeag_, and a place on the Merrimac, near the mouth of Concord
River (now in Lowell, I believe,) had the same name,--written,

[Footnote 88: Col. William Lithgow's deposition, 1767,--in New England
Historical and General Register, xxiv. 24.]

       *       *       *       *       *

In view of the illustrations which have been given, we repeat what was
stated in the beginning of this paper, that Indian place-names are not
_proper names_, that is unmeaning marks, but significant
_appellatives_, each conveying a _description_ of the locality to
which it belongs. In those parts of the country where Indian languages
are still spoken, the analysis of such names is comparatively easy.
Chippewa, Cree, or (in another family) Sioux-Dakota geographical names
may generally be translated with as little difficulty as other words
or syntheses in the same languages. In New England, and especially in
our part of New England, the case is different. We can hardly expect
to ascertain the meaning of all the names which have come down to us
from dead languages of aboriginal tribes. Some of the obstacles to
accurate analysis have been pointed out. Nearly every geographical
name has been mutilated or has suffered change. It would indeed be
strange if Indian polysyntheses, with their frequent gutturals and
nasals, adopted from unwritten languages and by those who were
ignorant of their meanings, had been exempted from the phonetic change
to which all language is subject, as a result of the universal
disposition "to put more facile in the stead of more difficult sounds
or combination of sounds, and to get rid altogether of what is
unnecessary in the words we use."[89] What Professor Haldeman calls
_otosis_, 'that error of the ear by which words are perverted to a
more familiar form,'[90] has effected some curious transformations.
_Swatara_,[91] the name of a stream in Pennsylvania, becomes 'Sweet
Arrow;' the _Potopaco_ of John Smith's map (_p[oo]tuppâg_, a bay or
cove; Eliot,) on a bend of the Potomac, is naturalized as 'Port
Tobacco.' _Nama'auke_, 'the place of fish' in East Windsor, passes
through _Namerack_ and _Namalake_ to the modern 'May Luck.'
_Moskitu-auke_, 'grass land,' in Scituate, R.I., gives the name of
'Mosquito Hawk' to the brook which crosses it.[92]

[Footnote 89: Whitney's Language and the Study of Language, p.
69.--"Ein natürliches Volksgefühl, oft auch der Volkswitz, den nicht
mehr verstandenen Namen neu umprägte und mit anderen lebenden Wörtern
in Verbindung setzte." Dr. J. Bender, _Die deutschen Ortsnamen_ (2te
Ausg.) p. 2.]

[Footnote 90: Haldeman's Analytic Orthography, §279, and "Etymology as
a means of Education," in Pennsylvania School Journal for October,

[Footnote 91: "Swatawro," on Sayer and Bennett's Map, 1775.]

[Footnote 92: "Whiskey Jack," the name by which the Canada Jay
(Perisoreus Canadensis) is best known to the lumbermen and hunters of
Maine and Canada, is the Montagnais _Ouishcatcha[n]_ (Cree,
_Ouiskeshauneesh_), which has passed perhaps through the transitional
forms of 'Ouiske Jean' and 'Whiskey Johnny.' The Shagbark Hickory
nuts, in the dialect of the Abnakis called _s'k[oo]skada´mennar_,
literally, 'nuts to be cracked with the teeth,' are the
'Kuskatominies' and 'Kisky Thomas' nuts of descendants of the Dutch
colonists of New Jersey and New York. A contraction of the _plural_
form of a Massachusetts noun-generic,--_asquash_, denoting 'things
which are eaten green, or without cooking,' was adopted as the name of
a garden vegetable,--with conscious reference, perhaps, to the old
English word _squash_, meaning 'something soft or immature.' Sometimes
etymology overreaches itself, by regarding an aboriginal name as the
corrupt form of a foreign one. Thus the _maskalongé_ or 'great
long-nose' of the St. Lawrence (see p. 43) has been reputed of French
extraction,--_masque elongé_: and _sagackomi_, the northern name of a
plant used as a substitute for or to mix with tobacco,--especially, of
the Bearberry, _Arctostaphylos uva-ursi_,--is resolved into
_sac-à-commis_, "on account of the Hudson's Bay officers carrying it
in bags for smoking," as Sir John Richardson believed (Arctic
Searching Expedition, ii. 303). It was left for the ingenuity of a
Westminster Reviewer to discover that _barbecue_ (denoting, in the
language of the Indians of Guiana, a wooden frame or grille on which
all kinds of flesh and fish were dry-roasted, or cured in smoke,)
might be a corruption of the French _barbe à queue_, i.e. 'from snout
to tail;' a suggestion which appears to have found favor with

In Connecticut and Rhode Island special causes operated to corrupt and
transform almost beyond possibility of recognition, many of the Indian
place names. Five different dialects at least were spoken between
Narragansett Bay and the Housatonic River, at the time of the first
coming of the English. In early deeds and conveyances in the colonial
and in local records, we find the same river, lake, tract of land or
bound-mark named sometimes in the Muhhekan, sometimes in the
Narragansett, or Niantic, or Nipmuck, or Connecticut valley, or
Quinnipiac (Quiripee) dialect. The adopted name is often
_extra-limitary_ to the tribe by which it was given. Often, it is a
mixture of, or a sort of compromise between, two dialects; half
Muhhekan, half Narragansett or Nipmuck. In the form in which it comes
to us, we can only guess from what language or languages it has been

The analysis of those names even whose composition appears to be most
obvious must be accepted as _provisional_ merely. The recovery of a
lost syllable or of a lost guttural or nasal, the correction of a
false accent even, may give to the synthesis another and hitherto
unsuspected meaning. It would be surprising if some of the
translations which have been hazarded in this paper do not prove to be
wide of their mark. Even English etymology is not reckoned among the
exact sciences yet,--and in Algonkin, there is the additional
disadvantage of having no Sanskrit verbs "to go," to fall back on as a
last resort.

Recent manifestations of an increasing interest in Indian onomatology,
or at least of awakened curiosity to discover the meanings of Indian
names, may perhaps justify the writer in offering, at the close of
this paper, a few suggestions, as to the method of analysis which
appears most likely to give correct results, and as to the tests by
which to judge of the _probability_ that a supposed translation of any
name is the true one.

1. The earliest recorded form of the name should be sought for, and
every variation from it should be noted. These should be taken so far
as possible from original manuscripts, not from printed copies.

2. Where the difference of forms is considerable, knowledge of the
character and opportunities of the writer may sometimes determine the
preference of one form to others, as probably the most accurate. A
Massachusetts or Connecticut name written by John Eliot or Experience
Mayhew--or by the famous interpreter, Thomas Stanton--may safely be
assumed to represent the original combination of sounds more exactly
than the form given it by some town-recorder, ignorant of the Indian
language and who perhaps did not always write or spell his own

3. The name should be considered with some reference to the
topographical features of the region to which it belongs. These may
sometimes determine the true meaning when the analysis is doubtful, or
may suggest the meaning which would otherwise have been unsuspected
under the modern form.

4. Remembering that every letter or sound had its value,--if, in the
analysis of a name, it becomes necessary to get rid of a troublesome
consonant or vowel by assuming it to have been introduced 'for the
sake of euphony,'--it is probable that the interpretation so arrived
at is _not_ the right one.

5. The components of every place-name--or to speak more generally, the
elements of every Indian synthesis are _significant roots_, not mere
_fractions of words_ arbitrarily selected for new combinations. There
has been no more prolific source of error in dealings with the
etymology and the grammatical structure of the American languages than
that one-sided view of the truth which was given by Duponceau[93] in
the statement that "one or more syllables of each simple word are
generally chosen and combined together, in one compound locution,
often leaving out the harsh consonants for the sake of euphony,"--and
repeated by Heckewelder,[94] when he wrote, that "in the Delaware and
other American languages, parts or parcels of different words,
sometimes a single sound or letter, are compounded together in an
artificial manner so as to avoid the meeting of harsh or disagreeable
sounds," &c. The "single sound or letter" the "one or more syllables,"
were chosen not as "part or parcel" of a word but because of their
_inherent significance_. The Delaware "_Pilape_, a youth," is
_not_--as Heckewelder and Duponceau represented it to be[95]--"formed
from _pilsit_, chaste, innocent, and _lenape_, a man," but from PIL-
(Mass. _pen-_, Abn. _pir-_,) strange, novel, _unused_ (and hence)
pure,--and -A[N]PE (Mass. _-omp_, Abn. _a[n]bé_) a male, _vir_. It is
true that the same roots are found in the two words PIL-_sit_ (a
participle of the verb-adjective _pil-esu_, 'he is pure,') and
_len_-A[N]PE, 'common man:' but the statement that "one or more
syllables" are _taken from_ these words to form _Pilape_ is inaccurate
and misleading. It might with as much truth be said that the English
word _boyhood_ is formed from selected syllables of boy-ish and
man-hood; or that purity 'compounds together in an artificial manner'
fractions of _pur_ify and qual_ity_.

[Footnote 93: Correspondence of Duponceau and Heckewelder, in Trans.
Historical and Literary Committee of Am. Philos. Society, p. 403.]

[Footnote 94: Ibid., p. 406.]

[Footnote 95: Preface to Duponceau's translation of Zeisberger's
Grammar, p. 21. On Duponceau's authority, Dr. Pickering accepted this
analysis and gave it currency by repeating it, in his admirable paper
on "Indian Languages," in the Encyclopædia Americana, vol. vi.]

We meet with similar analyses in almost every published list of Indian
names. Some examples have been given in the preceding pages of this
paper,--as in the interpretation of 'Winnipisiogee' (p. 32) by 'the
beautiful water of the high place,' _s_ or _[=e]s_ being regarded as
the fractional representative of '_kees_, high.' _Pemigewasset_ has
been translated by 'crooked place of pines' and 'crooked mountain pine
place,'--as if _k[oo]-a_, 'a pine,' or its plural _k[oo]-ash_, could
dispense in composition with its significant base, _k[oo]_, and appear
by a grammatical formative only.

6. No interpretation of a place-name is correct which makes _bad
grammar_ of the original. The apparatus of Indian synthesis was
cumbersome and perhaps inelegant, but it was nicely adjusted to its
work. The grammatical relations of words were never lost sight of. The
several components of a name had their established order, not
dependent upon the will or skill of the composer. When we read modern
advertisements of "cheap gentlemen's traveling bags" or "steel-faced
carpenters' claw hammers," we may construe such phrases with a
latitude which was not permitted to the Algonkins. If 'Connecticut'
means--as some have supposed it to mean--'long deer place,' it denotes
a place where _long deer_ abounded; if 'Piscataqua' was named 'great
deer river,' it was because the deer found _in_ that river were of
remarkable size. 'Coaquanock' or, as Heckewelder wrote it,
'Cuwequenaku,' the site of Philadelphia, may mean 'pine long-place'
but cannot mean 'long pine-place' or 'grove of long pine trees.' If
'Pemigewasset' is compounded of words signifying 'crooked,' 'pines,'
and 'place,' it denotes 'a place of crooked pines,'--not 'crooked
place of pines.'

Again--every Indian name is _complete within itself_. A mere
adjectival or qualificative cannot serve independently, leaving the
real ground-word to be supplied by the hearer. River names must
contain some element which denotes 'river;' names of lakes or ponds
something which stands for 'lake' or 'pond.' The Indians had not our
fashion of speech which permits Hudson's River to be called 'the
Hudson,' drops the word 'lake' from 'Champlain' or 'Erie,' and makes
"the Alleghanies" a geographical name. This difference must not be
lost sight of, in analysis or translation. _Agawam_ or _Auguan_ (a
name given to several localities in New England where there are low
flat meadows or marshes,) cannot be the equivalent of the Abnaki
_ag[oo]a[n]n_, which means 'a smoke-dried fish,'[96]--though
_ag[oo]a[n]na-ki_ or something like it (if such a name should be
found), might mean 'smoked-fish place.' _Chickahominy_ does not stand
for 'great corn,' nor _Pawcatuck_ for 'much or many deer;'[97] because
neither 'corn' nor 'deer' designates _place_ or implies fixed
location, and therefore neither can be made the ground-word of a
place-name. _Androscoggin_ or _Amoscoggin_ is not from the Abnaki
'_amaskohegan_, fish-spearing,'[98] for a similar reason (and
moreover, because the termination _-h[=e]gan_ denotes always an
_instrument_, never an _action_ or a _place_; it may belong to 'a
fish-spear,' but not to 'fish spearing' nor to the locality 'where
fish are speared.')

[Footnote 96: It was so interpreted in the Historical Magazine for
May, 1865 (p. 90).]

[Footnote 97: Ibid. To this interpretation of _Pawcatuck_ there is the
more obvious objection that a prefix signifying 'much or many' should
be followed not by _ahtuk_ or _attuk_, 'a deer,' but by the plural

[Footnote 98: Etymological Vocabulary of Geographical Names, appended
to the last edition of Webster's Dictionary (1864). It may be proper
to remark in this connection, that the writer's responsibility for the
correctness of translations given in that vocabulary does not extend
beyond his own contributions to it.]

7. The locative post-position, _-et_, _-it_ or _-ut_,[99] means _in_,
_at_ or _on_,--not 'land' or 'place.' It locates, not the object to
the name of which it is affixed, but _something else_ as related to
that object,--which must be of such a nature that location can be
predicated of it. _Animate nouns_, that is, names of animate objects
cannot receive this affix. 'At the rock' (_ompsk-ut_), 'at the
mountain' (_wadchu-ut_), or 'in the country' (_ohk-it_, _auk-it_), is
intelligible, in Indian or English; 'at the deer,' 'at the bear,' or
'at the sturgeons,' would be nonsense in any language. When animate
nouns occur in place-names, they receive the formative of verbals, or
serve as adjectival prefixes to some localizing ground-word or

[Footnote 99: Abnaki and Cree, _-k_ or _-g_,--Delaware and Chippewa,
_-ng_; or _-[n]g_,--with a connecting vowel.]

8. Finally,--in the analysis of geographical names, differences of
_language_ and _dialect_ must not be disregarded. In determining the
primary meaning of roots, great assistance may be had by the
comparison of derivatives in nearly related languages of the same
stock. But in American languages, the diversity of dialects is even
more remarkable than the identity and constancy of roots. Every tribe,
almost every village had its peculiarities of speech. Names
etymologically identical might have widely different meanings in two
languages, or even in two nations speaking substantially the same
language. The eastern Algonkin generic name for 'fish' (_nâma-us_,
Del. _namai-s_) is restricted by northern and western tribes to a
single species, the sturgeon (Chip. _namai´_,) as _the_ fish, par
excellence. _Attuk_, in Massachusetts was the common fallow-deer,--in
Canada and the north-west the caribou or reindeer. The Abnaki Indian
called his _dog_ (_atié_) by a name which the Chippewa gives his
_horse_ (_oti-un_; _n'di_, my horse).[100] The most common
noun-generic of river names in New England (_-tuk_, 'tidal river')
occurs rarely in those of Pennsylvania and Virginia, where it is
replaced by _-hanne_ ('rapid stream'), and is unknown to western
Algonkin tribes whose streams are undisturbed by tides. The analysis
of a geographical name must be sought in the language spoken by the
name-givers. The correct translation of a Connecticut or Narragansett
name is not likely to be attained by searching for its several
components in a Chippewa vocabulary; or of the name of a locality near
Hudson's River, by deriving its prefix from an Abnaki adverb and its
ground-word from a Chippewa participle,--as was actually done in a
recently published list of Indian names.

[Footnote 100: Both words have the same meaning,--that of 'a domestic
animal,' or literally, 'animate property;' 'he who _belongs_ to


Abagadusset, Abequaduset, 39

Abnaki, 7

-ACADIE, 26, 27

_Acawme-_, 10

Accomack, 10


-ADENÉ, 21

Agamenticus, 10

Agoncy, 28


_Akoode-_, 28

Alleghany, 12

-AMAUG, 18

Amessagunticook, 25

Amoskeag, 25

_Anasqui-_, 41

Androscoggin, 25

Anmesookkantti, 25, 42

Annis-squam, 18

Aquednet, -nesit, 23

_Ashawi-_, 33

Ashawog, 33


Ashimuit, 34

_Assini-_, 20

-AÛKE, 6

Baamcheenunganoo, 40

Bagadoose, 38

-BIK, 18

_Boonamoo-_, 27

Capawonk, 29

Cappowonganick, 29

Catumb, 19

Caucomgomoc, 17

Chabanakongkomuk, 35


Chawonock, 7

Chebegnadose, 39

Chippaquiddick, 23

Cobbosseecontee, 26, 42

Cobbscook, 42


Connecticut, 8

Cuppacommock, 21

_-Ehtu_, _-ettu_, 23, 24

_Eshqua-_, 41

-GAMI, 17

Ganshow-hanne, 12

Gonic, 42

Hackensack, 30

-HAN, -HANNE, 8, 12

_Hassuni-_, 19

Higganum, 19


Hoccanum, 30


Ishquagoma, 41

_Kabassé-_, 42




Katahdin, 21

_Kauposh-_, 42

Kearsarge, 20

_Keht-_, _kit-_, 12, 19, 21

Kehtetukqut, 12

Kennebec, 15

Kenjua, 43

Kenosha, 43

Ketumpscut, 19

-KI, 6

Kinougami, 17

Kiskatamenakook, 7

Kittanning, 12

Kittatinny, 21

Kitchigami, 17

Kitchi-sipi, 7

-KOMUK, 21

-KONTU, 23

Kunckquachu, 20

_Kuppo-_, 21, 29

Lackawanna, 12

Lenapewi-hittuck, 8

Machigamig, 17

Manati, 22

Manhasset, 23

Manhatan, 22

Manisses, 22

Manussing, 23

_Massa-_, _Masha-_, 15

Massachusetts, 20

Massapaug, 15

Massaugatucket, 32

Mashenips, 38

Maskinonjé, 43

Mattabeset, 35

Mattammiscontis, 25

Mattapan, -ient, 34

Mattapony, 35

Mattapoiset, 35

Matchebiguatus, 39

Mauch-chunk, 20


Mennewies, 23

Meesucontee, 25

Mianus, 37

Michigan, 17

Missinippi, 15

Missisaking, 31

Mississippi, 7

Misquamacuck, 42

Mistassini, 20

Miste-shipu, 7

Mitchigami, 17

Mohicannittuck, 8

Montauk, 23

Moosup, 37

Moshenupsuck, 38

-MSK (for -OMPSK), 18

Munhansick, 23


Mushauwomuk, 5, 35

Mystic, 8

NÂ[=I]AG, 29

Namasket, 42

Nameaug, 38

Namelake, 38

Narragansett, 29

Nashauekomuk, 21

NASHAUÉ, 21, 33

Nashua, Nashaway, 33

Natchaug, 33

Na[=u]mkeag, 43

Nayatt, Nayot, 29

_Nessaooa-_, 22

Newichawanock, 12

Nimpanickhickanuh, 37


Nippissing, 15

Noank, 29

_Nó[=e]u-_, 11

Norwottock, 11

Noyaug, 29

_Nunni-_, 16

Nunnepoag, 16

Nunkertunk, 29

Nyack, 29

Occoquan, 30

_Ogkome-_, 10


Ohio, 13

-OHKE, -OKE, 6

Okhúcquan, 30

Olighin-sipoú, 13

-OMPSK, 18

Oswego, 31

Ouschankamaug, 18

Pacatock, 8

_Paguan-_, 40

_Pahke-_, 16, 40

Pahquioque, 39

Paquabaug, 16, 40

Paquiaug, 39

Pascoag, 11

Pasquotank, 11

Passamaquoddy, 26, 43

Patuxet, -ent, 9

-PAUG, 15

_Pauqui-_, 39

Pauquepaug, 16

Pauat-, 9

Pautuck, 9

Pawating, 9

Pawcatuck, 8

Pawtucket, 8, 9

Pemadené, 41

_Pemi-_, 40

Pemaquid, 41

Pemetiq, 41

Pemigewasset, 41

_Pemiji-_, 40

Pemijigomé, 40

_Pen-_, 19

Penobscot, 19

Pequabuck, 16

Pequannoc, 40

_Pescatum-_, 26, 43

_Peske-_, 10

Pesquamscot, 11

Pettiquamscut, 18

Petuckquapock, 16

_Petukqui-_, 16, 18

Pikanghenahik, 30

_Pimé-_, 40

-PISK, -PSK, 18

Piscataqua, -quog, 11

Piscataway,-aquis, 11

Poaetquessing, 9

_Pohqui-_, 39

_Ponamo-_, 27

Poquannoc, 40

Poutaxat, 9

Powhatan, 10

Pymatuning, 38, 41

Pyquaag, 39

_Pummeecke-_, 40

Quansigamaug, 18

Quilutamende, 36

_Quinni-_, 8, 15

Quinnihticut, 8

Quinebaug, 16

Quinepoxet, 16

Quinnipiac, 15

-QUODDY, -KANTTI, 26, 27

Quonshapang, 43

Qussuk, 16

Quunkwadchu, 20

Saco, 30

Sagadahock, 30

Saganaw, 31

Saguenay, 31

Saquatucket, 32

Saugatuck, 32

Saukunk, 31

Segoonumakaddy, 27

Segubbunakaddy, 26


Shaume, 34

Shawmut, 36

Shawwunk, 33

Shubenacadie, 26

Shumuit, 34

Sicaiook, Suckiaug, 7

Soakatuck, 32

_Sonki-_, 16

Sonkipaug, 16

Sowanohke, 7

Squam, 18

Squamacut, 42

Squammagonic, 42

Squamscot, 18

_Sucki-_, 7

Swamscot, 18


Temigami, 17

Tetiquet, Titicut, 11

Tomheganomset, 19

Tracady, -die, 28

-TUK, 8



Wampanoags, 6

_Wanashqué-_, 18, 41

Wangunbog, 16

Wapanachki, 7

Werowocomoco, 21

Winnepesaukee, 32, 33

Winnesquamsaukit, 18

Winnisimmit, 34

Wnogquetookoke, 30

Wonasquatucket, 41


Wongattuck, 29

Wonkemaug, 18

Wongunpaug, 16

Wonnesquam, 18

Wuskowhánanaukit, 7

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