History From America's Most Famous Valleys
The Indian In His Wigwam
Characteristics of The Red Race of America
From Original Notes and Manuscripts
By Henry R. Schoolcraft
Dewitt & Davenport
This is a lengthy book and covers many of the Red Race who
are not native to New York State. Pertinent parts of the book will be posted.
Thanks to Pamela Wozniak and David Collins for loaning this book for the purpose of using it on our website.
GEOGRAPHICAL TERMINOLOGY OF THE U. STATES,
DERIVED FROM THE INDIAN LANGUAGE.
These Extracts are made from " Cyclopaedia Indiaensis" a MS. work in preparation.
HUDSON RIVER.-By the tribes who inhabited the area of the present County of Dutchess, and other portions of its eastern banks, as low down as Tappan, this river was called Shatemuc-which is believed to be a derivative from Shata, a pelican. The Minisi, who inhabited the west banks, below the point denoted, extending indeed over all the east half of New Jersey, to the falls of the Raritan, where they joined their kindred the Lenni Lenape, or Delawares proper, called it Mohicanittuck-that is to say, River of the Mohicans. The Mohawks, and probably the other branches of the Iroquois, called it Cahohatatea-a term of which the interpreters who have furnished the word, do not give an explanation. The prefixed term Caho, it may be observed, is their name for the lower and principal falls of the Mohawk, Sometimes this prefix was doubled, with the particle ha, thrown in between. Hatalea is clearly one of those descriptive and affirmative phrases representing objects in the vegetable and mineral kingdoms, which admitted as we see, in other instances of their compounds, a very wide range. By some of the more westerly Iroquois, the river was called Sanataty.
ALBANY.-The name by which this place was known to the Iroquois, at an early day, was Schenectady, a term which, as recently pronounced by a daughter of Brant, yet living in Canada, has the still harsher sound of Skoh-nek-ta-ti, with a stress on the first, and the accent strongly on the second syllable, the third and fourth being pronounced rapidly and short. The transference of this name, to its present location, by the English, on the bestowal on the place by Col. Nichols, of a new name, derived from the Duke of York's Scottish title, is well known, and is statisd, with some connected traditions, by Judge Benson, in his eccentric memoir before the New York Historical Society. The meaning of this name, as derived from the authority above quoted, is Beyond the. Pines, having been applied exclusively in ancient times, to the southern end of the ancient portage path, from the Mohawk to the Hudson. By the Minci, owho did not live here, but extended, however, on the west shore above Coxackie, and even Coeymans, it appeals to have been called Gaishtinic. The Mohegans, who long continued to occupy the present area of Rensselear and Columbia counties, called it Pempotawuthut, that is to say, the City or Place of the Council Fire. None of these terms appear to have found favour with (he European settlers, and, together with their prior names of Beaverwyck and Fort Orange, they at once gave way, in 1664, to the present name. A once noted eminence, three miles west, on the plains, i. e. Trader's Hill, was called Isutchera, or by prefixing the name for a hill, Yonondio Isutchera. It means the hill of oil. Norman's Kill, which enters the Hudson a little below, the Mohawks called Towasentha, a term which is translated hy Dr. Yates, to mean; a place of many dead.
NIAGARA.-It is not in unison, perhaps, with general expectation, to find that the exact translation of this name does not entirely fulfil poetic pre- conception. By the term O-ne-aw-ga-ra, the Mohawks and their co-tribes described on the return of their war excursions, the neck of water which connects lake Erie with Ontario. The term is derived from their name for the human neck. Whether this term was designed to have, as many of their names do, a symbolic import, and to denote the importance of this communication in geography, as connecting the head and heart of the country, can only be conjectured. Nor is it, in this instance; probable. When Europeans came to see the gigantic falls which marked the strait, it was natural that they should have supposed the name descriptive of that particular feature, rather than the entire river and portage. We have been assured, however, that it is not their original name for the water-fall, although with them, as with us, it may have absorbed this meaning.
BUFFALO.-The name of this place in the Seneca; is Te-ho-sa-ro-ro. Its import is not stated.
DETROIT.-By the Wyandots, this place is called Teuchsagrondie ; by the Lake tribes of the Algic type, Wa-we-a-tun-ong: both terms signify the Place of the turning or Turned Channel. It has been remarked by visitors who reach this place at night, or in dark weather, or are other wise inattentive to the courses, that owing to the extraordinary involutions of the current the sun appears to rise in the wrong place.
CHICAGO.-This name, in the Lake Algonquin dialects, to preserve the same mode of orthography, is derived from Chicagowunzh, the wild onion or leek. The orthography is French, as they were the discoverers and early settlers of this part of the west. Kaug, in these dialects is a porcupine, and She kaug a polecat. The analogies in these words are apparent, but whether the onion was named before or after the animal, must be judged if the age of the derivation be sought for.
TUSCALOOSA, a river of Alabama. From the Chacta words tushka, a warrior, and lusa black.-[Gallatin.]
ABAGISKE, the Iroquois name for Virginia.
ASSARIGOA, the name of the Six Nations for the Governor of Virginia. OWENAGUNGAS, a general name of the Iroquois for the New England Indians.
OTESEONTEO, a spring which is the head of the river Delaware.
OSTONAGON ; a considerable river of lake Superior, noted from early times, for the large mass of native copper found on its banks. This name is said to have been derived from the following incident. It is known that there is a small bay and dead water for some distance within its mouth. In and out of this embayed water, the lake alternately flows, according to the influence of the winds, and other causes, upon its level. An Indian woman had left her wooden dish, or Onagon, on the sands, at the shore of this little bay, where she had been engaged. On coming back from her lodge, the outflowing current had carried off her valued utensil. Nia Nin-do-nau-gon ! she exclaimed, for it was a curious piece of workmanship. That is to say-Alas ! my dish !
CHUAH-NAH-WHAH-HAH, or Valley of the Mountains. A new pass in the Rocky Mountains, discovered within a few years. It is supposed to be in N. latitude about 40°. The western end of the valley gap is 30 miles wide, which narrows to 20 at its eastern termination, it then turns oblique to the north, and the opposing sides appear to close the pass, yet there is a narrow way quite to the foot of the mountain. On the summit there is a large beaver pond, which has outlets both ways, but the eastern stream dries early in the season, while there is a continuous flow of water west. In its course, it has several beautiful, but low cascades, and terminates in a placid and delightful stream. This pass is now used by emigrants.
AQUIDNECK.-The Narragansett name for Rhode Island. Roger Williams observes, that he could never obtain the meaning of it from the natives. The Dutch, as appears by a map of Novi Belgii published at Amsterdam in 1659, called it Roode Eylant, or Red Island, from the autumnal colour of its foliage. The present term, as is noticed, in Vol. III. of the Collections of the R. I. Hist. Soc. is derived from this.
INCAPATCHOW, a beautiful lake in the mountains at the sources of the river Hudson.-[Charles F. Hoflman, Esq.]
HOUSATONIC ; a river originating in the south-western part of Massachusetts, and flowing through the State of Connecticut into Long Island Sound, at Stratford. It is a term of Mohegan origin. This tribe on retiring eastward from the banks of the Hudson, passed over the High-lands, into this inviting valley. We have no transmitted etymology of the term, and must rely on the general principles of their vocabulary. It appears to have been called the valley of the stream beyond the Mountains, from ow, the notarial sign of wudjo, a mountain, atun, a generic phrase for stream or channel, and ic, the inflection for locality.
WEA-NUD-NEC.-The Indian name, as furnished by Mr. O'Sullivan, [D. Rev.] for Saddle Mountain, Massachusetts. It appears to be a derivative fnm Wa-we-a, round, i. e. any thing round or crooked, in the inanimate creation.
MA-HAI-WE ; The Mobeaan term, as given by Mr. Bryant [N. Y. E. P.] for Great Barrington, Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
MASSACHUSETTS.-This was not the name of a particular tribe, but a geographical term applied, it should seem; to that part of the shores of the North Atlantic, which is swept by the tide setting into, and around the peninsula of Cape Cod, and the wide range of coast trending southerly, It became a generic word, at an early day, for the tribes who inhabited this coast. It is said to be a word of Narragansett origin, and to signify the Blue Hills. This is the account given of it by Roger Williams, who was told, by the Indians, that it had its origin from the appearance of an island off the coast. It would be more in conformity to the general requisitions of ethnography, to denominate the language the New England-Algonquin, for there are such great resemblances in the vocabulary and such an identity in grammatical construction, in these tribes, that we are constantly in danger, by partial conclusions as to original supremacy, of doing injustice. The source of origin was doubtless west and south west, but we cannot stop at the Narragansetts, who were themselves derivative from tribes still faither south. The general meaning given by Williams seems, however, to be sustained, so far as can how be judged. The terminations in ett, and set, as well as those in at and ak, denoted locality in these various tribes. We see also, in the antipenultimate Chu, the root of Wudjo, a mountain.
TA-HA-WUS, a very commanding elevation, several thousand feet above the sea, which has of late years, been discovered at the sources of the Hudson, and named Mount Marcy. It signifies, he splits the sky.-- [Charles F. Hoffman, Esq.]
MONG, the name of a distinguished chief of New England, as it appears to be recorded in the ancient pictorial inscription on the Dighton Rock, in Massachusetts, who flourished, before the country was colonized by the English. He was both a war captain, and a prophet, and employed the arts of the latter office, to increase his power and influence, in the former. By patient application of his ceremonial arts, he secured the confidence of a large body of men, who were led on, in the attack on his enemies, by a man named Piz-hu. In this onset, it is claimed that he killed forty mon, and lost three. To the warrior who should be succesful, in this enterprize, he had promised his younger sister. [Such are the leading events symbolized by this inscription, of which extracts giving full details, as interpreted by an Indian chief, now living, and read before the Am. Ethnological Society, in 1843, will be furnished, in a subsequent number.]
TIOGA.-A stream, and a county of the State of New York. From Teoga, a swift current, exciting admiration.
DIONDEROGA, an ancient name of the Mohawk tribe, for the site at the mouth of the Schoharie creek, where Fort Hunter was afterwards built. [Col. W. L. Stone.]
AI.MOUCHICO, a generic name of the Indians for New England, as printed on the Amsterdam map of 1659, in which it is stated that it was thus " by d inwoonders genaemt." (So named by the natives.)
IROCOISIA, a name bestowed in the map, above quoted, on that portion of the present state of Vermont, which lies west of the Green Mountains, Stretching along- the eastern bank of Lake Champlain. By the application of the word, it is perceived that the French were not alone in the use they made of the apparently derivative term " Iroquois," which they gave 10 the (then) Five Nations.
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