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#1 Mar-23-2008 03:58:pm

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 2847

Indian placenames in and around Paterson, NJ

In the list, below, I have assigned a number, from 1 to 4, on each interpretation, which indicates my own level of confidence in the likelihood that the given translation is correct. 1 = about a 99% confidence level–their correctness being quite certain. 2 = about a 75% confidence level–their correctness being fairly certain. 3 = about a 50% confidence level–having an approximately even chance of being correct. 4 = a 25% confidence level–their correctness being subject to heightened uncertainty, despite their phonectic likeness to the placename under consideration. (By the way, the translations given in the original lists–excepting those very few which agree with my own–would be assigned a number 5, with an approximate 1% likelihood of being correct!)

Munsee was the dialect of Delaware (Lenape) spoken north of the Raritan River basin, in New Jersey; and for my reconstruction of these placenames, I use the Munsee dialect orthography employed in John O'Meara's DELAWARE-ENGLISH/ENGLISH-DELAWARE DICTIONARY, Toronto, 1996. (Bear in mind that "x" = German "ch," as in "Bach." The other phonetic values can be found in O'Meara's book.

English Version / Indian Version / Definition

Acquackanonk / *axkwaakahnung / "at the lamprey stream" [1] (Based on the old variant form, Achquakanonk.)

Apshawa / *ahpchuw / "upon the hill" [2]

Awosting / *awasahtune / "the other side of the mountain" [3]

Cupsaw / kpahaasuw / "it is closed" [3] (pehaps with reference to a
dammed-up stream)

Hackensack / *ahkiingeesahkuy / "place of sharp ground" [1] (This is the interpretation of the late Nora Thompson Dean, based on the variant, Achkinckeshacky, found in old records.)

Hoboken / *hoopookun / "tobacco pipe" [1] (This is a Pidgin Delaware word equivalent to Southern Unami "hupokën."

Ho-ho-kus / *mehohkohkwus / "red cedar" [2] (Assuming loss of the first syllable; and based on an old variant, Hoghakos.)

Macopin / *maxkwpiing / "at the bear water" [2]

Mahwah / maaweewii / "an assembly" [4]

Moonachie / *moonahkuy / "dug-up earth" [2]

Packanack / *pakahneek / "a flat stream" [3]

Paramus - 'plum creek,' from Dutch, "pruim" ('plum') + Munsee, *siipoos ('creek') [3]. The rendering is based on the variant form, Perampsepus, found in old records. Prior to the early 18th century, the modern Lenape "l" had an "r" sound.) 

Pascack / seekapaskahk / "wet grass" [2] (Assuming loss of the first two syllables. This type of corruption is common enough–and understandable.)

Passaic / *pahsaayeek / "valley" [1]

Peckman / peekhamaan / "you (sg.) who thresh grain" [4] (Would have to be a personal name. Very unlikely, though.)

Pequannock / *peekwahneek / "a creek between two hills" [2]

Pompton / *pumbahtun / "a down-sloping mountain" [3]

Potake / pahthaat / "one who hits someone by accident" [4] (To fit, this must be a name for an animal or person. The rendering is based on the variant, Pothat, which occurs in old records.)

Preakness / peelakunaas / "one who takes the outer layer off of a living being" [4] (Again, this works only as a name for an animal or person. It could refer to one who peels bark or skins animals, etc.)

Ramapo / *alaamaapoxkw / "underneath the rock" [2] (Based on the old variants, Romopock and Ramapough.)

Rockaway /*leekuwii / "sandy" [1]

Sicomac / *nzukameekw / "black fish" [3]

Singac / siingeek / "the outside angle of a corner [1] (Such as a tract of land defined by the bend of a river.)

Succasunna / nzukasunal / "black stones" (i.e., "iron ore") [1]

Totowa / *atohtooweew / "the deer ford" [4]

Towaco / *tuwehkw / "The Mudpuppy" [1] (Personal name of the well-known colonial era Pompton Indian, Jan Claes, a.k.a., Claes de Wilt, a.k.a., Long Claus, a.k.a., The Great Claes.)

Wagaraw / *waakeew / "it is curved [4]

Wanaque / *wanahkuy / "covered earth" [2]

Watchung / *wahchung / "in the hills" [1]

Wawayanda / *wehwaalhundi / "the ditch" [3] (The sound of "l" and "y" sometimes alternate in the dialects.}

Whippany / *xwihpunung / "place of big potatoes" [2]

Winbeam / wiimbung / "place of heartwood" [4]

Last edited by sschkaak (May-11-2013 01:24:am)

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#2 Aug-05-2008 04:54:am

Tokipahkinao
Member
Registered: Jul-22-2008
Posts: 212

Re: Indian placenames in and around Paterson, NJ

HE! Ray,

                       I was looking over some older posts, and I see where you mentioned TOTOWA, "my ol' home town", and that it means "the deer ford. If it meant a place for deer to cross the Passaic River, it would be one hard swim, as the river flows rapidly and deeply  around the bend from Little Falls. The boundary of the "Borough of Totowa" in one area is the River. (My father's in the Laural Grove Cemetery overlooking the river.)

                       I remember maaaaany years ago watching a local parade, (July 4, maybe) when a float went by that had a sign :"Totowa Means God's Token".  I was just starting my Lenape studies and this didn't seem right!

                       I remember a small book from Middle Atlantic Press: name of book???, which said: Totowa means: "the place between" because  the town is between the Passaic Falls and the hills of Preakness.

                           COMMENTS?

                                                       Wanishi,
                                               MaryEllen

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#3 Aug-05-2008 01:29:pm

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 2847

Re: Indian placenames in and around Paterson, NJ

Thanks, Tokipahkinao.

As shown in my post, I'm not overly confident that 'deer ford' is the correct interpretation of Totowa--having given the odds of that as one out of four.  It is possible that the original is "teetawii" ('between' - pronounced, "tay-tuh-wee."  Just about everything is "between" two other things!  I'd place the likelihood of that as one out of four, also.  Who really knows?  Maybe, it's from "taa theew" ('it is cold, indeed').

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#4 Aug-07-2008 02:24:am

NanticokePiney
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From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
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Re: Indian placenames in and around Paterson, NJ

sschkaak wrote:

Preakness / peelakunaas / "one who takes the outer layer off of a living being" [4] (Again, this works only as a name for an animal or person. It could refer to one who peels bark or skins animals, etc.)

I find this rather ironic considering the abuse horses take in show arenas and the race track........


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#5 Aug-07-2008 03:09:am

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 2847

Re: Indian placenames in and around Paterson, NJ

It might be the name of someone as innocent as a potato peeler--but, also, someone as nasty as a mule skinner.  "Living being" means "plant" or "animal"--dead or alive--so long as it is *grammatically* animate.  For instance, anyone skinning the carcass of a dead deer could be called this.  But, I understand the irony.

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#6 Aug-20-2008 12:47:pm

sschkaak
Moderator
Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 2847

Re: Indian placenames in and around Paterson, NJ

Tokipahkinao wrote:

HE! Ray,

                       I was looking over some older posts, and I see where you mentioned TOTOWA, "my ol' home town", and that it means "the deer ford. If it meant a place for deer to cross the Passaic River, it would be one hard swim, as the river flows rapidly and deeply  around the bend from Little Falls. The boundary of the "Borough of Totowa" in one area is the River. (My father's in the Laural Grove Cemetery overlooking the river.)

                       I remember maaaaany years ago watching a local parade, (July 4, maybe) when a float went by that had a sign :"Totowa Means God's Token".  I was just starting my Lenape studies and this didn't seem right!

                       I remember a small book from Middle Atlantic Press: name of book???, which said: Totowa means: "the place between" because  the town is between the Passaic Falls and the hills of Preakness.

                           COMMENTS?

                                                       Wanishi,
                                               MaryEllen

M-E:

It occurs to me that IF the 'deer ford' name is correct, then it may NOT refer to a place on the Passaic River, but on Naachpunkt Brook--a major tributary of the Passaic, which serves as the western boundary of Totowa.  ["Naachpunkt" is a more recent variant of the personal name of the Lenape, Onagpunk (1695) or Onachpong (1702), after whom the stream took its name.]

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#7 Aug-20-2008 01:47:pm

sschkaak
Moderator
Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 2847

Re: Indian placenames in and around Paterson, NJ

The list, above, also missed one of the most important placenames in
Paterson:  "Paquapick" - 'the noisy water' - the Indian name for the
Great Falls of the Passaic River. 

"When we reached here [i.e., 'Ackquekenon'], we took provisions and
whatever was loose out of the boat into a hut of the Indians, of whom
there is only one family on this whole tract. We ate our dinner by their
fire, and determined to go in the afternoon to the falls, although it
had already begun to rain. We started off accordingly under the guidance
of Hans, the Indian. The rain gradually increased, with snow, and did
not hold up the whole day. After we had travelled good three hours over
high hills, we came to a rocky one, where we could hear the noise of the
water, and clambering up to the top, saw the falls below us, a sight to
be seen in order to observe the power and wonder of God. Behind this
hill the land is much higher than on the other side, and continues so as
far as is known. A kill or river runs through this high land between the
hills, formed by several branches coming down from still higher land.
This river, running along the valley to seek the sea, comes to this hill
where it runs over a large blue rock, which is broken in two, obliquely
with the river. One part is dry, which is the hill before mentioned; the
other is where the river, running over a crevice or fissure between
both, appears to be eight or ten feet wide, having on either side smooth
precipices like walls, but some parts broken between them. The river
finding this chasm pours all its water into it headlong from a height,
according to guess, of about eighty feet; and all this pouring water
must break upon the undermost piece of stone lying in the crevice, which
causes a great roaring and foaming, so that persons standing there, side
by side, have to call out loud before they can understand each other. By
reason of the breaking of the water, and the wind which the falling
water carries with it, there is constantly spray ascending like smoke,
which scatters itself like rain. In this spray, when the sun shines, the
figure of a rainbow is constantly to be seen trembling and shaking, and
even appearing to move the rock. The water in this fissure runs out on
the south; and there at the end of the rock or point it finds a basin,
which is the beginning of the lower kill. This point is, I judge, about
one hundred feet above the water, and is steep like an upright wall.
When the fish come up the river, this basin is so full of all kinds of
them, that you can catch them with your hands, because they are stopped
there, and collect together, refreshing themselves, and sporting in and
under the falling fresh water, which brings with it, from above, bushes,
green leaves, earth, and mire, in which they find food. The water runs
hence east and northeast to Ackquekenon. The Indians come up this river
in canoes to fish, because it is one of the richest fisheries they
have..." [James, B.B. & James, J.F., ed., JOURNAL OF JASPER
DANCKAERTS, 1679-1680, New York, 1913, pages 176-7]

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#8 Aug-20-2008 04:56:pm

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 2847

Re: Indian placenames in and around Paterson, NJ

PAQUAPICK


http://waterfalls.nature.st/NewJersey/passaic.jpg

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#9 Aug-20-2008 06:43:pm

tree hugger
Site Admin
Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 9628

Re: Indian placenames in and around Paterson, NJ

That is beautiful. Thanks for putting the picture with the story.






I miss Jersey...sometimes.


http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e283/woodlandindians/Treehugger.jpg

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