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Samuel A[bbott] 1830-1918 Green.

Some Indian names online

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SOME INDIAN NAMES.



At a meeting of the Massachusetts Historical
Society, on Thursday, May 9, 1889, Dr. Samuel A.
Green made the followino; remarks on certain sreo-
graphical names of Indian origin : —

The Reverend John Wilson, first minister of Boston,
owned two large tracts of land in what is now Merrimack,
New Hampshire, but which then came within the limits of
Massachusetts. They contained, both together, one thousand
acres ; and Mr. Wilson's title was confirmed by the General
Court, at a session beginning on October 16, 1660. A grant
was made to him during the summer of 1639, more than
twenty years previousl}'' ; but, owing to " seuerall disappoint-
ments," the land had been neither surveyed nor selected.

In the Suffolk Registry of Deeds there is a record of the
sale of tins land, on December 3, 1660, to Simon Lynde,
a merchant of Boston ; and as the description of the prop-
erty mentions three Indian names, of which two are still
in use, I make the following extract from the deed, in order
to show their antiquity and to prolong their continued
application : —

one thousand acres of land bee it more or lesse scittuated lying &
beinff about tenn miles more or lesse from Groatteu being laid out in



two seuerall places (to witt) three hundred acres of meadow & vpland
lying at or vpon pennechuck brooke neere South eggenocke Riuer
bounded w*** the wildernes & a pond lying towards the southwest .Cor-
ner thereof and the bound tree marked w"' the Letter L and seuen
hundred acres of meadow & vpland and entervaile scittuat lying &,
being about one mile & halfe Distant from the aforementioned three
hundred acres of laud vpon Southheaganock Riuer aforesajd the Riuer
Runiug thr° the Same and the place Called by the Indians Quo=quuna=
pussackessa uay=noy bounded vpon the westward w"' the land or farme
of Cap' w'" Dauis of Boston easterly :
(Suffolk Deeds, Liber III. page 449.)

Both Pennichuck Pond in Hollis, New Hampshire, and
Pennichuck Brook, running from the pond into the Merri-
mack River and forming the boundary line between the city
of Nashua and the town of Merrimack, keep one of these
three names familiar to the present generation. " South
eggenocke " and " Southheaganock " — different forms of
the same word — represent another of these names, which
is now known as " Souhegan " and applied to a well-known
river in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. The name
" Quo=qunna=pussackessa nay=noy," as given in the deed,
is written " quohquima=paskessa=nahnoy " in the General
Court records ; and these two forms of an Indian word are
sufficiently similar to establish their identity. I am not
aware that any trace of this name still survives in the geo-
graphical nomenclature of the neighborhood. The " pond
lying towards the southwest Corner " of the first parcel of
land mentioned in the deed, is Pennichuck Pond, and so
called in the Colonial records.

Geographical names of Indian origin furnish now one of
the few links in New England that connect modern times
with the prehistoric period. In the absence of any correct



standard either of pronunciation or spelling, which always
characterizes an unwritten language, these words have been
greatly distorted and changed, and thus liave lost much of
their original meaning, but their root generally remains.
As the shards that lie scattered around the sites of old Indian
dwellings are eagerly picked up by the archaeologist for criti-
cal examination, so any fragmentary facts about the Indian
names of places are worth saving by the antiquary and scholar
for their historical and philological value.




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Online LibrarySamuel A[bbott] 1830-1918 GreenSome Indian names → online text (page 1 of 1)