Page:American Anthropologist NS vol. 1.djvu/195

This page needs to be proofread.



[n. s., 1, 1899

by the Massachuset (Eliot) pohqui; Narraganset (Williams) pauqui; Mohegan (Pierson) paughke; Abnaki (Rasles) p∞ ‘k∞ ié, "to open out," "to widen" (primarily "to break"). The terminal -sin is the regularly formed diminutive in s, with a locative, corresponding to the Lenápe -es-ing; Massachuset and Narraganset -es-et, or -es-it, denoting "at or near" (something understood). Trumbull[1] remarks as to the use of the locative in et: "It locates not the object to the name of which it is affixed, but something else as related to that object, which must be of such a nature that location can be predicated of it." Therefore, from this analysis we have the compound word poquo-es-in(g) "at or near the opening out or the widening." Compare, Otchipwe (Baraga) pâkisse, "it breaks open"; pâkissin, "it is open," plural paiâkissing, "it opens"; Abnaki (Rasles) psan̈ga∞ essen, "La rivieré est pleine b'p [beaucoup] d'eau, v. g. printems." The application of the term, therefore, in its linguistic sense was to indicate or to describe localities where water "backed up," as in spring freshets, or in rainy seasons, which, by reason of such happenings, became necessarily more or less marshy or boggy. In a valuable list of our adopted Indian words, contributed to a New York paper (Sun, June 30, 1895), W. R. Gerard suggests: "The word Poquoson apparently means 'place where there is but little water.'" This is a very good guess, for, as we have shown, there is something "little" in the word, but it is not water.

Heckewelder,[2] in suggesting a meaning for the Virginia river "Poccosen," derived it from "pduckassin [literally round-stone], the place of balls, bullets, lead,"—a nonsensical etymology; but he was fully as far from correct in his etymology of "Poquessing," the Lenápe equivalent (Poaquesson, Poetquessing, Poquessing)[3]—a creek flowing through meadow lands toward its mouth and emptying into Delaware river between Philadelphia and Bucks

  1. Indian Geographical Names.
  2. Names, etc.
  3. Colonial Records of Pennsylvania, vol. I, p. 126; Archeology of Pennsylvania, vol. I. pp. 116, 117.