LOCAL NAMES AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE
As copied from a late 1930s "Mountain Echo"
originally published in Shickshinny, PA
Shickshinny--This name, like many hereabouts, is of Indian origin and signifies "Where the five mountains meet." The formation of the mountains was noticed by the true American and he gave this locality, which was the point at which the Indian trail left the Susquehanna [River] for the West Branch [of the river], the name of Shick-a-shinna, which was modernized into Shickshinny by the Yankee settlers.
Mocanaqua stands as perpetual reminder of Frances Slocum who was stolen from Wyoming Valley during the struggles of the early settlers. The Indians called their little captive Mocanaqua, which means "little bear."
Koonsville was formerly known as Arch Bridge. The stone arch bridge crossing Shickshinny Creek was the only one of that kind in this section for many years. It was barely wide enough for the passage of a single wagon, and if a driver was reckless enough to shift his quid from one side to the other in going across, he was liable to go into the water. The "narrowness" of the bridge was the cause of a legislative enactment requiring Union Township to increase its width. There was no penalty attached and the bridge never grew in width until the Union Turnpike was built when the turnpike company doubled its width. When the post office was established the name was changed to Koonsville for William Koons who lived for many years at that place.
Reyburn bears the name of one of the late President Garfield's physicians. The post office came into being about the time of Garfield's death and the people not having a suitable name, the department gave the name of Reyburn to the post office.
Beach Haven was named in honor of Nathan Beach, one of the Connecticut settlers, who came to Salem in 1773 and had already located land in Beach Haven before the township was organized at Windham, Connecticut.
Conyngham Township was set off from Hollenback in 1865 and bears the honored name of Judge John N. Conygham.
Wapwallopen a jaw breaker to the uninitiated is of Indian origin, its English equivalent being "The place where the messengers were murdered." Who the messengers were and who murdered them is not recorded.
Fairmount Springs was first known as Fairmount Township post office but afterward assumed the present name owing to a fine spring on the property of Justice B. P. Smith. The township name came from the elevations-fairmount.
Hollenback was taken from Nescopeck in 1845 and named for Matthias Hollenback.
Hunlock's Creek took its name from Jonathan Hunlock, who located at the mouth of the stream and was driven out by the Indians in 1778. He returned three years later, from whom sprung the family bearing that name.
Huntington Township bears the name of Samuel Huntington, of Windham, Connecticut, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Huntington is one of the "seventeen certified townships" laid out by the Susquehanna Company and previous to 1776 was known as Bloomingdale Township.
Nescopeck, in the Indian language, is "deep black water." The township and borough get their name from the creek and [the] creek from the color of the water. If the aborigine could return and look upon the water in the creek now he would see how much better he built than he knew. The town occupies the site of the village of the Delaware Indians.
Hardpan is another one of the "didn't know it was loaded" cases. Several appropriate names were sent to the department when the post office was asked for, among them Dodson Chapel by which the locality had been known for some time. Hardpan was tacked on the tail end and partially as a joke. When the papers for the new office came the least desirable of all--Hardpan--was the name of the new office.
Town Line is just what the name indicates. The place is located on the township line dividing Huntington and Union Townships.
Ross was formed in 1842 from Union and Lehman [Townships] and named for William S. Ross, one of the Judges of Luzerne.
Salem was the town in Windham County [Connecticut], from which the Salem settlers came and bestowed the same name on their new home.
When the paper mills were built at Hublersville by the Koons brothers, the name was changed to Huntington Mills. J. K. Hubler owned the store and mill for several years and the place bore his name. The post office was not established until some years after the name was changed to Huntington Mills.
Waterton was named by the Watson brothers who succeeded Jared Harrison in the mercantile business at that point. In order to secure a post office
H. D. Watson carried the mail from Shickshinny free for several years. The route was finally extended to Forks and compensation granted.
James G. Jones gave his name to Jonestown the place where he opened a store near the junction of Huntington and Fishing Creeks. The post office was Fishing Creek.
The residents of New Columbus desired to do honor to the discoverer of America when the place was named but there already being a Columbus in Warren County the word, "new," was required as a prefix before the town could be christened by the postal authorities.
Cambra is probably a contraction of cranberry. The oldest people frequently call it Cranberry from the cranberry swamps that are located nearby.
Register is a selection of the post office department. Pine Creek, Westover, other names were chosen by the applicants but the odd name of Register came out of it.
Copied from the original article by H. Derr Kleintob
who added some grammatical and spelling changes and last updated his e-mail on 5/8/02.
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