H.L. Mencken (18801956). The American Language. 1921.
beginning to show Stockholms, Venices, Belgrades and Christianias.56
The influence of Indian names upon American nomenclature is quickly shown by a glance at the map. No fewer than 26 of the states have names borrowed from the aborigines, 57 and the same thing is true of most of our rivers and mountains, and of large numbers of our towns and counties. 58 There was an effort, at one time, to get rid of these Indian names. Thus the early Virginians changed the name of the Powhatan to the James, and the first settlers in New York changed the name of Horicon to Lake George. In the same way the present name of the White Mountains displaced Agiochook, and New Amsterdam, and later New York, displaced Manhattan, which has been recently revived. The law of Hobson-Jobson made changes in other Indian names, sometimes complete and sometimes
Note 56.Cf. Amerikanska Ortnamn af Svenskt Ursprung, by V. Berger; New York, 1915. The Swedish names listed by Mr. Berger are chiefly to be found in Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas. [back]
Note 57. In most of the states local antiquaries have investigated the state names. Vide, for example, The Origin and Meaning of the Name California, by George Davidson; San Francisco, 1910; California, the Name, by Ruth Putnam; Berkeley, 1917; Arizona, Its Derivation and Origin, by Merrill P. Freeman; Tucson, 1913; Ohio, 1803-1903, by Maria Ewing Martin; New Straitsville, 1903; The Naming of Indiana, by Cyrus W. Hodgin; Richmond (Ind.), 1903; Idaho, Its Meaning, Origin and Application, by John E. Rees; Portland (Ore.), 1917. [back]
Note 58. The student interested in the subject will find useful information in The History and Geography of Texas as Told in County Names, by Z. T. Fulmore; Austin, 1915; Spanish and Indian Place Names of California, by Nellie van de Grift Sanchez; San Francisco, 1914; The Powhatan Name for Virginia, by W. W. Tooker, American Anthropologist, vol. viii, no. 1, 1906; Chicago: Origin of the Name of Our City, by J. F. Steward; Chicago, 1904; Some More About Virginia Names, by W. W. Tooker, American Anthropologist, vol. vii, no. 3, 1905; The Origin of the Name of Buffalo, by Wm. Ketchum, Pub. Buffalo Hist. Society, vol. i, p. 17, 1879; The Origin of the Name Manhattan, by W. W. Tooker; New York, 1901; British Columbia Coast Names, by John D. Walbran; Ottawa, 1909; Place-Names in the Thousand Islands, by James White; Ottawa, 1910; Minnesota Geographic Names, by Warren Upham, Collections of the Minnesota Hist. Society, vol. xvii, 1920; Indian Names of Water Courses in the State of Indiana, by H. W. Beckwith (in Annual Report, Dept. of Geology and Natural History; Indianapolis, 1883); Origin of Ohio Place-Names, by Maria E. Martin, Ohio Archological and Historical Quarterly, vol. xiv, p. 272; Origin and Meaning of Wisconsin Place-Names, by Henry E. Legler, Tr. of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, vol. xiv, pt. i, 1903; Geographical Names on the Coast of Maine, by Edward Ballard (in Report of the Coast Survey; Washington, 1868); Baraboo and Other Place-Names in Sauk County, Wisconsin, by H. E. Cole; Baraboo, 1912; Names of Places of Interest on Mackinac Island, by Frank A. OBrien; Lansing (Mich.), 1916; The Niagara Frontier, by Orsamus H. Marshall; Buffalo, 1881; How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named, by David W. Eaton; Columbia (Mo.), 1917; Indian Place-Names, by Moses Greenleaf; Bangor (Me.), 1903; The Composition of Indian Geographical Names, by J. Hammond Trumbull, Collections of the Connecticut Hist. Society, vol. ii, p. 1, 1870; The Indian Place-Names on Long Island, by W. W. Tooker; New York, 1911; Indian Names of Places in Massachusetts, by Lincoln N. Kinnicutt; Worcester, 1909; Indian Names of Places in and on the Borders of Connecticut, by J. Hammond Trumbull; Hartford, 1881; Dictionary of American-Indian Place and Proper Names in New England, by R. A. Douglas-Lithgow; Salem (Mass.), 1909; California Place-Names of Indian Origin, by A. L. Kroeber; Berkeley, 1916; Indian Names of Places in Rhode Island, by Usher Parsons; Providence, 1861; Indian Geographic Names of Indian Origin, by A. L. Kroeber; Berkeley, 1916; Indian Names of Places Near the Great Lakes, by Dwight H. Kelton; Detroit, 1888; The Indian Names of Boston, by Eben N. Horsford; Cambridge, 1886; Footprints of the Red Men, by E. M. Ruttenber; Newburgh (N. Y.), 1906; Indian Names of Places in Worcester County, Mass., by Lincoln N. Kinnicutt; Worcester, 1905; Indian Names and History of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, by Dwight H. Kelton; Detroit, 1889; Proper Names from the Muskhogean Languages, by Noxon Toomey; St. Louis, 1917; Report of the Aboriginal Names and Geographical Terminology of the State of New York, by Henry R. Schoolcraft, pt. i; New York, 1845. Other works are listed in the Bibliography. [back]