The Composition of Indian Geographical Names - Part 3

Part 3

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

_Manisses_ or, as Block Island was called, is another form of the diminutive,--from _munnoh_; and _Manha.s.set_, otherwise written, Munhansick, a name of Shelter Island, is the same diminutive with the locative affix, _munna-es-et_. So is 'Ma.n.u.sses' or 'Mennewies,' an island near Rye, N.Y.,--now written (with the southern form of the locative,) _Ma.n.u.ssing_.

_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, _akootin_, "it suspends, is _sit_-uate, e.g. an island in the water," from _akoo_, 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 island.'

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

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

_Chippaquidd.i.c.k_, the modern name of an island divided by a narrow strait from Martha's Vineyard, is from _cheppi-aquidne_, 'separated island.'

Abnaki names ending in _-ka[n]tti_, or _-kontee_ (Ma.s.s. _-kontu_; Etchemin or Maliseet, _-kodiah_, _-quoddy_; Micmac, _-ka[n]di_, or _-aikadee_;) may be placed with those of the first cla.s.s, 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 x.x.xiii. 47, 48); _wadchue-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 _mult.i.tude_ is a.s.sociated with it: "_ohke wadchuuhkontu[oo]_," i.e.

_wadechue-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 Ma.s.sachusetts 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'tte_, _eto_, 'there belongs to it,' 'there is there,' _il y a_. (Abn. _meskik[oo]i'ka[n]tti_, 'where there is abundance of gra.s.s,' 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 notice:--

_A[n]mes[oo]k-ka[n]tti_, 'where there is plenty of _alewives_ or _herrings_;' from Abn. _a[n]ms[oo]ak_ (Narr. _aumsuog_; Ma.s.s.

_ommissuog_, cotton;) literally, 'small fishes,' but appropriated to fish of the herring tribe, including alewives and menhaden or bony-fish. Rale 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-khige_, 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-khige_ (Ma.s.s.

_ommissakkeag_), 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 Ma.s.sachusetts,--correctly printed (from the original draft in the handwriting of Thomas Lechford) in Ma.s.s.

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 Pen.o.bscot 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 Rale's _met-a[n]m[oo]ak_, "les poissons ont faites leurs oeufs; ils s'en sont alles; 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 sturgeons,'--_kaba.s.sak-ka[n]tti_.

[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 _Pa.s.samaquoddy_; 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 'Pa.s.samaquoddie,' 'pollock fish,' and the Rev. Mr. Rand translates 'Pestumoo-kwoddy' by 'pollock ground.'[54] Cotton's vocabulary gives '_pakonnotam_' for 'haddock.' Perhaps _peskadami[oo]k_, like _a[n]ms[oo]ak_, belonged to more than one species of fish.

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

[Footnote 54: Dawson's Acadian Geology, 2d ed., (London, 1868), pp. 3, 8.]

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 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_, Rale describes as "blanches, plus grosses que des _penak_:" and _sheep'n-ak_ is the modern Abnaki (Pen.o.bscot) name for the bulbous roots of the Yellow Lily (_Lilium Canadense_). Th.o.r.eau'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 Ma.s.s. and Narr. _sequanamauquock_, '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 _paponaumsu_, '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 _-kadi_, _-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]da[oo]i_, in composition or as a prefix, _ak[oo]de_, 'against the current,' up-stream; as in _ned-ak[oo]te'hemen_, '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 (_Tregate_, 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 Pen.o.bscot 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 cla.s.s 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. NaAG, 'a corner, angle, or point.' This is a verbal, formed from _na-i_, 'it is angular,' 'it _corners_.' Eliot wrote "_yaue naiyag wetu_" for the "four corners of a house," Job i. 19. Sometimes, _nai_ receives, instead of the formative _-ag_, the locative affix (_na-it_ or _na-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_, _Noank_, &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.]