Catasauqua, Tatamy, Aquashicola . . . . What do they mean??
About 500 years ago, before the Europeans settled in America, Stone Age people lived here leaving behind only stone arrowheads and tools, clay pots and wooden objects. These people called themselves the Lenape.
The Lenape lived in an area that stretched from the state of Delaware to New York, across eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The language they spoke was part of the eastern Algonquian family of languages. This group of languages stretched across the middle of North America.
The Lenape survived by hunting, fishing, gathering wild foods and possibly even gardening. The words they used to name places reflected their activities or the animals that lived there. The language was never written and was very difficult to speak.
Many geographical areas in the Lehigh Valley are named after the Lenape words. Here are a few with their meanings:
- Aquashicola - From the Lenape word Achquanschicola meaning the place from which we take fish by means of bush nets.
- Catasauqua - From the Lenape word Garroshacki meaning thirsty earth.
- Hokendauqua - From the Lenape words Haki(land) and undoech-wen (to come for some purpose) meaning searching for land.
- Kittatinny Ridge - From the Lenape word Kittatinny meaning great hill or endless mountain.
- Lehigh Township - From the Lenape word Lechauwekink meaning at the forks of a path or stream.
- Macungie - From the Lenape wrod Machk-unschi meaning feeeding place of the bears.
- Mahoning - From the Lenape word Mahononk meaning at the mineral lick, referring to a place frequented by deer, elk and other animals.
- Mauch Chunk - From the Lenape word Machk-tschunk meaning at the bear mountain.
- Maxatawny - From the Lenape word Machksit-hanne meaning bear path stream.
- Minisink - From the Lenape word Minisink meaning the place of the Minsi, who were Indians who lived north of the Delaware Water Gap.
- Monocacy Creek - From the Lenape word Menagassi meaning a stream with several large bends.
- Neshaminy - From the Lenape word Nischam-hanne meaning 2 streams or double stream.
- Nesquehoning - From the Lenape word Neska-honi meaning black mineral lick.
- Nockamixon - From the Lenape word Nochanischsink meaning where there are 3 houses
- Pocono - From the Lenape word Poco-hanne meaning a stream between mountains.
- Saucon - From the Lenape word Sacunk meaning the mouth of a stream.
- Skippack - From the Lenape word Skappeu-hacki meaning wet land.
- Tamaqua - From the Lenape word Tamaquameaning beaver.
- Tatamy - From the Lenape name Chief Moses Fonda Tatamy. The history is that Chief Tatamy lived in the region and died in 1761.
- Towamensing - From the Lenape word Towamensing meaning a fording place at the falls.
- Unami Creek - From the Lenape word Unami meaning person from down river.