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Maybe you could figure out the following place name?
I was at a dinner a few days ago on a road called Mansakenning (Rhinebeck, NY). I have noticed that in that area (northern Dutchess county) there seems to be a random mix of place names -- some clearly of Mahican origin, some of Lenape. I don't have time to go through the records, but in Beauchamp's "Aboriginal place names of New York" he lists many of these names in the county.
I am curious about these names:
Mansakenning (near Rhinebeck, NY)
"A fresh meadow called Mansakin" (south of Rhinebeck a ways)
Both names were, I believe, attested first in the late 17th century.
Sorry, Justin. I've tried all the various combinations of those sounds, but can't come up with anything that makes sense, to me. Some of these old names just defy interpretation.
"in the land of ants".... I wonder what the story is behind that one?
Thanks for trying to translate the Mansakenning one!
I wonder whether that's a name for a specific specie/s
Both of these last two names could refer to particular species of tubers--or, they may simply be descriptions of the wild potatoes found in these areas. (In fact, these two places are very near each other.) It's impossible to give a definitive answer, unless more information becomes available, sometime in the future.
That's a cool one (well they all are)!
Do you know what "schaback" means? I've tried to figure it out but the meaning has eluded me.
I suppose its etymology would be something like "rustling-noise-wood" = "tree or bush which makes a rustling sound."
I've never heard mountain laurel leaves rustling in the wind (I can't imagine they do much), but walking through an understory of them is very noisy and "rustly", as was noticed by Wied in his "Travels through the Interior of North America" in the early 19th century (this description is from his exploration of a forest near Bordentown, NJ in 1832):
"The undergrowth of this forest, in which pines were mixed with other trees, consisted of Rhododendron maximum (Pennsylvania mountain laurel) and kalmia, the latter of which, in the deep shade, was already out of flower; but the former still had its larger bunches of beautiful white or pale red blossoms, and was from ten to fifteen feet high. The stiff, laurel-like, dried leaves of this fine plant covered the ground, and crackled as we passed along, which reminded me of the Brazilian forests, where this occurs in a much greater degree.”
I'm always a little wary of walking (or rather crawling, lol) through mountain laurel, because rattlesnakes seem to like them a lot
Thanks as always Sschaak!
Thanks very much for the identification and information on this species. (My etymology is, of course, a guess.) The rhodadendron maximum and kalmia latifolia have quite similar characteristics. Certainly, one of them is the plant called "schaback." Maybe, they are similar enough that both were encompassed by this name--in the same way that both are called "laurel" (and even "mountain laurel") in English.
Here's what Zeisberger had to say about this shrub:
"Laurel, also called the wild box, grows along river banks, or in the swamps in cool places or on the north side of mountains. It grows so thickly that it is impossible to get through. In swamps of laurel, bears like to make their winter quarters. The wood is fine and hard. The Indians make spoons of it. The main stem does not become thicker than a leg. The leaves are green summer and winter."
History of the Northern American Indians, page 153.