Chenocetah's Weblog

Cherokee Place Names

Connestee Falls, North Carolina

This page is in process; some revisions may be made later.  I have also posted the legend of Kanasta [ from which Connestee takes its name], above.

I see that Tellico Village, Tennessee, also has street names of Cherokee origin.

Connestee Falls is a large housing development near Brevard, North Carolina.  It occupies some 3900 acres, with about 1300 homes.  I understand that about half of those homes belong to year-round residents.  There are some 50 miles of paved streets in the community.  Some historical information on the area is found at this link; however, for correct translations of the street names, you should look below on this site.  Those on the otherwise excellent historical site are not always very good.  You might also want to read the comments following my translations here.

What makes Connestee Falls of some interest to us?  Almost all of its streets bear Cherokee names.

I have never visited the community, but I have exchanged information with some local people about it, and I have spent a good deal of time studying the map of its streets.

The street names are taken from the names of historical Cherokee towns or places, plants, animals, birds, and famous Cherokee leaders.

Here, I am going to list the names of all the streets.  For each one, I will give a phonetic spelling that could be used by Connestee residents to help with pronunciation.  The pronunciation is intended to preserve at least the flavor of the Cherokee sounds, but it will be one that can be spoken by modern English speakers; it is not intended to be a perfect Cherokee pronunciation. As often as possible, I try to use some rough approximation of the Giduwa [Eastern Cherokee] Dialect as a starting point, because that is the major surviving dialect in North Carolina.  However, Giduwa is a more conservative form than the somewhat homogenized Western Dialect of Oklahoma and its sounds are sometimes much more difficult for English speakers [and for me to represent here], so, in several cases, the pronunciation given here is closer to the Western speech.

I hope this will be a helpful guide for Connestee Falls residents and visitors.

In many words, the “v” is best pronounced as “un.”  I have chosen to suggest “ch” as a pronunciation of those syllables beginning with “ts”; some speakers actually pronounce the “ts” sound, but most pronounce as “j” or “ch” or even “z.”  Syllables beginning with “tl” or “dl” are most correctly pronounced with a sound best represented by “hl,” but this combination is not always easy for English speakers, so I have usually suggested some similar sound.  [The "correct" pronunciation of "tl" is very similar to the correct pronunciation of the Ll in Welsh Llanfair.]

After the pronunciation, there will be a spelling of the name that would be readable to a Cherokee speaker and which could readily be written using the Cherokee Syllabary.  Please note that the letter “v” is used to represent the sound that is close to the UH in <HUH?>.

The next entry will be an authentic translation or explanation of the name.  There are still a few of the names that I simply cannot decipher into some original meaning as yet, but I will continue the research and update those names whenever possible.

Anyone who wishes to print out this list is welcome to do so.  I would appreciate it if you would mention the source on the printout.

This is the format:

Street name  [best pronunciation] (Cherokee word, by syllables): meaning

Adawehi [ah-DAH-way-hee]  (a-da-we-hi):  Medicine man, magician, conjurer

Adayahi [ah-DAH-ya-hee]  (a-da-ya-hi):  Oak

Adelv [ah-DAY-la] (a-de-lv): Silver, money

Adohi [ah-DOE-hee] (a-do-hi): Woody place, forest

Agaliha [ah-GAH-li-ha] (a-ga-li-ha): It is shining, so: sunshine or moonshine

Ama [AH-ma] (a-ma): Water or salt.  Probably water was intended.

Amacola [ah-ma-KOH-la] (a-ma u-qua-le-lv-yi): An attempt at Amicalola, place where water makes rolling thunder noise.  The name of the famous water falls and state park in Georgia.  Some old maps spelled it Amacola.

Amayi [ah-MAH-yee] (a-ma-yi): In the water

Annakesta [anna-KES-ta]: I am still trying to decipher this one.

Anv [AH-na] (a-nv, modern form a-ni): Strawberry.  Please don’t pronounce it “Ann-vee!.

Atisvgi [ah-ti-SUN-gi]  Still researching this one

Atsadi [a-CHAH-di] (a-tsa-di): Fish

Awi [ah-WEE or ah-WHEE] (a-wi): Deer

Ayugidv [ah-YOO-gi-DUN] (modern yu-gi-da): Hazel or hazelnut

Catatoga [CAH-ta-TOE-ga] (from ga-du-gi-tse-yi): New town or new settlement.  In Macon County, the same word became Cartoogechaye.

Chagee [CHAH-gi] (tsa-gi): Perhaps from tsa-gi, “up the road” or “upstream”; one Cherokee village bore this name.

Cheestoonaya [CHEES-too-NAH-ya] (tsi-stu-na-yi): Crawfish place

Cheowa [chee-OH-wah] (tsi-yo-hi): Otter place

Cherokee [CHER-o-kee] (tsa-la-gi): the Cherokee people

Cheulah [CHEW-la] (tsu-la): Red Fox, the name of a Cherokee chief in TN, 1762.

Connestee [KAH-na-stee] (ka-na-stv-yi): Meaning unknown; there is a legend of a lost Cherokee settlement from which the name comes.  It is quite possible that it is only a Cherokee approximation of the name of the tribe or town which was there long before the Cherokee arrived.

Dalonigei [da-LAHN-i-GAY-ee] (da-lo-ni-ge-i): Yellow, gold; the same word that became the name of Dahlonega, GA

Dawatsila [DAH-wa-CHEE-la] (da-w-tsi-la): Elm

Dewa [DAY-wa or TAY-wa] (te-wa): Flying squirrel

Dotsi [DAH-chee] (do-tsi): A kind of water monster believed to live in the Tennessee River

Dotsuwa [doe-CHEW-wha or toe-CHEW-wha or toe-JEW-wha] (do-tsu-wa): Red Bird, Cardinal

Doyi [DOE-yee] (do-yi): Beaver

Dudi [DOO-dee; I prefer TOO-tee] (du-di): Snowbird

Duya [DOO-ya; I prefer TOO-ya] (tu-ya): Bean

Dvdegi [DUN-day-gi] (tlv-de-qua): Eel

Dvdisdi [dun-DEES-ti] (attempt at tlv-ti-sdi): Pheasant

Dvga [DUN-ga; I prefer TUN-ga] (tv-ga): Housefly

Echota [eh-CHOE-ta] (i-tsa-ti): Meaning unknown; New Echota was the capital of the Cherokee people at the time of removal.  Sautee is one rendition of the same word.

Elaqua [eh-LAH-qua] [e-la-qua]:  Still under research

Elseetos [el-SEE-toess]: One source claims that this was the Cherokee name of Mt. Pisgah, Haywood County, NC, but I cannot document that.

Enolah [ee-NOE-la] (i-no-li): Black Fox, a Cherokee chief in the early 19th Century; also, an old name for what is now Brasstown Bald in GA

Gadu [GAH-doo] (ga-du): Bread

Gagama [ga-GAH-ma or ka-KAH-ma] (ga-ga-ma): Cucumber

Galuyasdi [ga-LOO-ya-stee] (ga-lu-ya-sdi): Ax or tomahawk

Galvloi [gah-la-LOW-ee] (ga-lv-lo-i): Sky

Ganohenv [GAH-no-HAY-na or KAH-no-HAY-na](ga-no-he-nv): Hominy, which is not the same thing as grits!

Gasga [GAHSS-ga or GOSH-ga] (a-ga-sga): It is raining

Gawanv [ga-WOE-na or ka-WOE-na or ga-WAH-na] (ka-wo-ni): Duck

Gigagei [gi-ga-GAY-ee] (gi-ga-ge-i): Red

Gili [ghee-LEE or GHEE-hli or GI-li] (gi-tli): Dog

Gogv [KO-ga or GO-ga] (go-gv): Crow

Golanv [KO-la-na or GO-la-na] (go-la-nv): Raven; Cherokee name of Sam Houston

Guledisgonihi [GOO-lay dis-KAH-ni-hee] (gu-le-di-sgo-ni-hi): Mourning dove [literally, "he cries for acorns"]

Guque [kuh-KWAY or guh-KWAY] (gu-que): Bobwhite quail

Gusti [GOOS-tee or GUS-tee] (gu-sti): Meaning unknown, from a Cherokee settlement on the Tennessee River in TN

Gusv [goo-SUH) (gu-sv): Beech tree [probably]

Guwa [KOO-wah or GOO-wah] (gu-wa): Mulberry tree

Gvhe [GUN-hay or GUH-hay] (gv-he): Bobcat

Gvli [GUN-tlee or GUH-lee or GUH-hlee] (gv-li): Raccoon

Hokassa [ho-KASS-a] (perhaps intended for na-qui-si): Naquisi is the word for star.

Inadv [EE-na-DUH or ee-NAH-da; EE-na-DEE in some dialects] (i-na-da): Snake

Inoli [ee-NO-lee] (i-no-li): Black Fox; see Enola

Isuhdavga [ee-SUN-da-UN-ga] (i-sv-da-v-ga): Still under research

Iya [EE-yah] (i-ya): Pumpkin

Junaluska [JOO-na-LUS-ka] (tsu-nu-la-hv-sgi): “He keeps on trying unsuccessfully”; the name of a great Cherokee chief in the early 19th Century

Kalvi [ka-LUN-ee or ka-LUH-ee] (from di-ka-lv-gv-i): East

Kanasdatsi [KAH-na-STAH-chee] (ka-na-sda-tsi): Sassafras

Kanasgowa [KAH-na-SKOE-wa or KAH-nahs-GO-wa] (ka-na-sgo-wa):  Heron

Kanunu [ka-NOO-na] (ka-nu-na): Bullfrog

Kanvsita [kah-na-SEE-ta] (ka-nv-si-ta): Dogwood

Kassahola [KAHSS-a-HO-la or KASS-a-HO-la] (ka-sa-ho-la): Still under research

Kawani [ka-WAH-ni or ka-WOE-ni] (ka-wa-ni): Perhaps same as Gawanv, or possibly meant to be “April”

Kituhwa [kee-TOO-whah] (gi-tu-wa): Very important early Cherokee settlement; said to be the Mother Town of the tribe

Klonteska [klon-TESS-ka] (tla-ni-te-sga): Research continues.  I don’t believe it means “pleasant” as sometimes stated.

Konnaneeta [KAHN-a-NEE-ta] (ka-na-ni-ta): Possibly “young turkey hatchlings,” but I am still researching this one.

Moytoy [MOY-TOY] (perhaps ma-ta-yi): Cherokee chief in first half of the 18th Century.  The name is probably an English attempt at the shortened Cherokee form of “Ama-adawehi,” which could be translated as “water wizard” or, by implication, even “rain maker.”

Nodatsi [no-da-CHEE or no-DOTCH-ee] (no-da-tsi or no-da-tli): Spicewood [Lindera benzoin]

Nokassa [no-KAHSS-a or no-CASS-a] (probably na-qui-si): Star.  See Hokassa.

Notlvsi [no-TLUN-see or nah-TLUH-see] (one writer’s spelling of na-qui-si or na-tli-si): Star

Notsi [NAH-chee or NO-jee] (na-tsi or no-tsi): Pine

Nunv [NOO-na or NOO-nuh, not NUN-vee!] (nu-nv): Potato

Nvya [NUH-ya or NUN-ya] (ny-ya): Rock [not river]

Oakanoah [OH-ka-NO-a](distorted from u-ga-na-wa): South [also has come to mean "warm" and "Democrat"; pronounced oo-GAH-na-wa in modern Cherokee].  One of the seven Cherokees who went to England in 1730 was Oukanekah; the name of this street may be a distortion of his name.

Ogana[OH-ga-na or oh-GAH-na] (o-ga-na or a-ga-na): Groundhog

Ohwanteska [OH-hwahn-TESS-ka] (o-wa-ni-te-sga):  I am still working on this one.

Ortanola [ORR-ta-NO-la] (??): This name is badly distorted.  Still in research

Ossarooga [OSS-a-ROO-ga] (??): This one is in research, too.

Ottaray [OTT-a-RAY] (o-ta-ri): Mountain, in an extinct dialect

Qualla [KWAH-la] (qua-la): Cherokee attempt at the word “Polly”; now the name of the Qualla Boundary part of the Eastern Cherokee Reservation

Quanv [KWAH-na] (qua-nv): Peach

Sakkoleeta [SAK-a-LEE-ta] (Perhaps tsa-quo-la-da-gi): Bluebird; Sakonige [sa-KOH-nee-gay] does mean “blue.”

Sali [SAH-lee] (sa-li): Persimmon

Saligugi [SAH-li-GOO-gi] (sa-li-gu-gi): Mud turtle, also called snapping turtle

Salola [sah-LOW-lee or sha-LOW-lee] (sa-lo-li): Gray squirrel

Sedi [SED-i or SAY-dee] (se-di): Walnut

Selu [SAY-loo or SHAY-loo] (se-lu): Corn; corn goddess

Sequoyah [see-KWOI-ya] (si-quo-yi): Probably the most famous historical Cherokee; he invented the Cherokee Syllabary

Setsi [SETCH-ee] (se-tsi): Mound and settlement in Cherokee County, NC; meaning unknown

Sgili [SKILL-ee] (sgi-li): Witch

Soco [SOH-koh] (so-quo-hi): “Number One Place”

Soquili [so-KWEE-lee or show-GWEE-lee] (so-qui-li): Horse

Sunnalee [sun-a-LAY-ee] (su-na-le-i): Tomorrow or morning or evening

Svgata [sun-GAH-ta or SHUNK-ta] (sv-ga-ta): Apple

Taladu [ta-LAH-doo or TAH-la-DOO] (ta-la-du): Cricket [ta-LAH-du] or twelve [TAH-la-DOO)

Tawsee [TAW-see] (to-si): Name of a Cherokee settlement in Habersham County, GA.  Meaning unknown.  I suspect that the village may have been taken from the Catawba people; if that is the case, in the Catawba language, the name may have referred to a dog, or more likely, to a wolf.

Taya [TAH-ya] (gi-ta-ya): Cherry

Tellico [TELL-i-KOH] (ta-li-qua): Important Cherokee town in TN; Tahlequah, OK, is the same word.

Ticoa [tee-KOH-a] (ti-go-a): Could be a distortion of Toccoa?

Tili [TEE-lee or just TIL-lee as in Tilly] (ti-li): Chestnut or chinquapin

Tinequa [ti-NEH-kwa] (ti-ne-qua; probably ta-ni-qua): Literally, “big louse”; probably Taniqua [ta-NEE-kwa "mole"] was intended.

Tlugvi [tlu-KUH-ee or just TLOO-kuh] (tlu-gv-i): Tree

Tludatsi [tloo-DAH-chee or tlun-DAH-chee] (tlv-da-tsi):  Panther, mountain lion

Tsalagi [CHAH-la-KEE or JAH-la-GHEE] (tsa-la-gi): Cherokee

Tsataga [cha-TAW-ga or chee-TAW-ga] (tsi-ta-ga): Chicken

Tsayoga [cha-YO-ga] (tla-yi-ga or tsa-yo-ga): Blue jay

Tsisqua [CHEE-skwah] (tsi-squa): Bird

Tsiya [CHEE-ya] (tsi-ya or tsi-yo or tsi-yu): Otter was probably intended; also can mean canoe or boat

Tsisdu [CHEE-stoo] (tsi-sdu): Rabbit

Tsisdvna [chee-STUN-na] (tsi-sdv-na): Crawfish

Tsitsi [chee-chee] (tsi-tsi): Wren

Tsolv [CHOE-la] (tso-la) : Tobacco

Tsuganawvi [chew-GAH-na-WUN-ee] (tsu-ga-na-wv-i): South [toward the south]

Tsula [CHEW-la] (tsu-la): Red fox

Tsuyvtlvi [chew-yun-TLUN-ee] (tsu-yv-tlv-i): North [toward the north]

Tsvwagi [chuh-WAH-ghee] (tsv-wa-gi): Maple

Udoque [oo-doe-KWAY] (u-do-que, nv-do-que-ya intended): Sourwood [Oxydendron arboreum]

Udvawadulisi [OO-ta-na WAH-doo-LEE-see] (wa-du-li-si u-ta-na intended): Bumblebee [literally "big bee"]

Ugedaliyvi [oo-gay-DAH-lee-YUN-ee] (u-ge-da-li-yv-i): Valley or cove

Ugiladi [oo-gi-LAH-di] (u-gi-da-tli intended): Feather

Ugugu [OO-goo-GOO or oo-GOOG] (u-gu-gu): Hoot owl [Barred owl, Strix varia]

Uloque [oo-LOW-kway] (u-lo-que): Mushroom

Ulvda [oo-LUN-da] (u-lv-da): Poison ivy

Unoga [oo-NO-ga] (u-no-ga): Bass [fish]

Unole [oo-NO-lay] (u-no-le): Storm [or strong wind or tornado]

Unvquolad [oo-NUN-kwo-LAHD] (u-nv-quo-la-tv-i intended): Rainbow

Unutsi [OO-nuh-chee or OON-chee] (u-nv-tsi): Snow

Unvdatlvi [OO-na-dah-TLUN-ee] (u-nv-da-tlv-i; do-da-tlv-i):  Mountains [perhaps intended for "they are mountains"?]

Usdasdi [oo-STAH-stee] (u-sda-sdi): Holly

Usgewi [oo-SKAY-wee] (u-sge-wi): Cabbage

Utsonati [oo-cho-NAH-tee] (u-tso-na-ti): Rattlesnake

Utsuwodi [oo-chew-WOE-di] (u-tso-wo-di; I prefer a-la-su-lo): Moccasin

Uwaga [oo-WAH-ga] (u-wa-ga): Passion fruit [Passiflora incarnata, also called "old field apricot"]

Uwohali [uh-WOE-ha-lee] (a-wo-ha-li): Eagle

Uyasga [oo-YAH-ska; better OO-ska] (u-ya-sga or u-sga): Skull

Vdali [un-DAL-lee] (v-da-li): Lake

Wadigei [WAH-di-GAY-ee] (u-wo-di-ge-i): Brown

Waga [WAH-ka or WAH-ga] (wa-ga): Cow [Cheroke pronunciation of Spanish vaca]

Wahuhu [wah-hoo-HOO] (wa-hu-hu): Screech owl [Otus asio]

Walelu [wah-LAY-la] (wa-le-la): Hummingbird

Walosi [wah-LOW-see or wa-LOWSH] (wa-lo-si): Green frog

Wanei [wa-NAY-ee] (wa-ne-i): Walnut

Warwaseeta [WAR-wah-SEE-ta] (wa-wa-si-ta): Said to be the old Cherokee name for Pisgah Ridge in Haywood County, but I cannot document that.

Waya [WAH-ya] (wa-ya): Wolf

Wesa [WAY-sah or way-SHAH] (we-sa): Cat [domestic cat]

Wodigeasgohi [WOE-di-gay ah-SKOE-hee] (wo-di-ge a-sgo-li intended): Copperhead

Yanequa [yah-NEH-kwa] (yo-ne-qua, from yo-na e-qua): Big Bear, Cherokee chief in the late 18th Century

Yona [YO-na] (yo-na): Bear; more commonly spelled Yonah

Yuda [YOO-da] (perhaps gi-yu-ga or yu-ga intended?): Chipmunk [?]

Yunega [yoo-NEH-ga] (Intended for u-ne-ga): White  [Yonega is "white man" or "English"]

Note: In the Eastern Cherokee [Giduwa] dialect, most of the syllables beginning with <ts> are pronounced as if they begin with <z>.   In many words ending in -i, -hi, or -a, the last syllable is dropped in pronunciation.

Many thanks to Mike Heiser, who kindly provided me with a working list of the street names.  Any errors of commission or omission are my fault and not his.

Thursday, 22 September 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cherokee Place Names, Part 8

Cherokee Place Names, Part 8

Tulula Creek joins the Sweetwater Creek to form the Cheoah River at Robbinsville, North Carolina. Once, it was spelled Tallulah Creek, and about 10 miles southeast of Robbinsville, on the creek, was the old Cherokee town of Tallulah or Tulula. We have already taken a look at Tallulah Falls, Georgia. Some writers have speculated that the word Tallulah may have come from the Creek word talwa [town], more specifically from the Okonee dialectical form talula. We are not likely ever to know the real truth about that. During historical times, the Okonee would not have been this far into the mountains, but there were Creek towns here before the Cherokee pushed them to the south and west by the year 1600. I notice that the word “tulula” has come to have an unsavory meaning, possibly originating from a misspelling of Tallulah Bankhead’s first name.

Sweetwater Creek, a few miles east of Robbinsville, is one of the headwaters of the Cheoah River. On this creek is the community of Cheoah. Here was the old Cherokee town of Tsiyohi ["otter place"], for which the community and river are named. [Cheoah is pronounced "chee-OH-uh."] Perhaps we should determine just how long this particular site has been continuously occupied; it may have been at least several hundred years.

In Oconee County, South Carolina, was another Tsiyohi. The name survives here in Cheohee Creek and Cheohee community. A third Tsiyohi was somewhere on a creek at Cades Cove, Tennessee, but it does not seem to have left any place names there, so far as I can tell.

Chiaha, Cheaha, and Chehaw, all found in Alabama, bear a superficial resemblance to Cheoah and its variants, but these are actually Muskogean names, not Cherokee.

Entering what was once the Cheoah River, now Lake Santeetlah, on the west side is West Buffalo Creek.  Somewhere on that creek, likely now under the lake waters, was an ancient Cherokee village called Yansai [or Yvsai or Yunsai, "buffalo place"], whose name had already been translated into Buffalo Town before 1799.  Buffaloes [actually bison, of course] had long ago been present even in the mountains of western North Carolina, the last ones apparently disappearing westward by about 1760, but they were not forgotten to the Cherokee.  However, this creek actually takes its name from an ancient legend about a buffalo who lived under the water near the place where the stream emptied into the river.  Santeetlah is not derived from a Cherokee word.   From Lake Santeetlah onward, the Cheoah River is reduced to a dry streambed, water coming only after heavy rains or in the handful of days annually in which water is released from the Santeetlah Dam.

In the northwest corner of Graham County, forming a few miles of the North Carolina-Tennessee border, is Slickrock Creek.  It enters the Little Tennessee downstream from the Cheoah Dam.  The name is a translation of  Nvya Tawisgvhi [nvya, rock; tawisgvhi, slippery or slick].  There are several other streams of the same name, for example, the one a few miles northwest of Brevard, NC, but this is the only one that I have been able to verify as having the name translated from Cherokee.

Iotla Creek joins the Little Tennessee River at what is now the Iotla community. It stands on the opposite side of the river from the creek’s mouth. That location would have been a near ideal spot for a Cherokee town, and I think it was. In the lists of old Cherokee towns appears one Ayahliyi or Ayotlihi or Ayoree.  That name translates to “offshoot place” or “sprout place,” probably in reference to its being a colony from a larger town such as Nikwasi, which lay only a few miles to the south. Iotla’s present pronunciation ["eye-OH-la"] is a rather good English approximation of the Cherokee “ay-o-tli” [sprout]. The survival of the -tl- in the spelling gives further credence to my suggestion.  Bartram’s list included the town of Jore, and there is some indication that it may have been on Iotla Creek.  I believe that Jore is a corruption of Ayoree.

Those mountains that Bartram called the JoreMountains are now known as the Nantahala Mountains.

A few miles west of Iotla is the Burningtown community and Burningtown Creek, in Macon County’s Burningtown township.  On the creek, there was recorded a Cherokee town called Tikaleyasuni, which meant “place where they were burned” or something close to that.  Linguistically, it contains the Cherokee elements that would justify that conclusion.  So far as I can determine, there does not exist any historical information that might explain the name, so we assume that the town may have been near (but not on) a place where there had been a forest fire at some time in the past.

Stecoah Creek empties into Fontana Lake. Near the head of the creek is the Stecoah community. We have already seen Stekoa Creek in Rabun County. There were at least three Cherokee towns called Stikoyi, one of which was somewhere on this Stecoah Creek. The meaning of the name is unknown.  [Fontana is not a Cherokee word; it is an Italian word that means "fountain."  The  lake was named for one of the several small towns now lying beneath its waters.]

Just north of Rome, Georgia, is Armuchee Creek and the Armuchee community. Somewhere on that creek was the ancient town called Aumuchee [probably for A-mu-tsi], which appears on some of the lists of Cherokee towns. I am not convinced it was originally Cherokee, and I know no way to translate it, but from its name we have the creek and community names.  Locally, the pronunciation is “ar-MER-chee.”

Canton, Georgia, is now said to be one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. As I wrote these words in 2007, the Hickory Log Dam was just being finished. It will create a lake of some 370 acres to supply water for Canton and for parts of other counties. There was a Cherokee town on the Etowah River near Hickory Log Creek.Its name was Wa-ne-a-sv-tlv-yi. [Please understand that I separate some names into syllables to make them fit more easily into English-speaking mouths. So often do I see words thus hyphenated, that one would have the impression that American Indians speak only in unmodulated and monotonous syllables. If you hear some spoken Cherokee some time you will understand that such is not the case.] Hickory Log is a fair translation of the Cherokee name of the settlement, Wanei-asvtlvyi, in full. Wanei is the name given to the hickory tree, and asvtlvyi, in the old days, meant a place where there was a footlog for crossing a stream. These days, the modernized word is asvhdlvi, a bridge.

There are other places with this footlog element. One was Nah-tsi-asvtlvyi, a Cherokee town not so very far from Hickory Log. In this case, “nahtsi” meant pine tree. From the translation came Pine Log Creek and the Pine Log community and a wildlife area. Cherry Log community and creek had a similar beginning, from “gita’yvsv’tlvyi,” wild cherry log lying across.”

In Habersham County, on the Soque River, was the village Soquiyi. The meaning of the name has been lost to us, but I note that the local pronunciation of the Soque [suh-kwee', accented on the last syllable] is surprisingly close to what would have been the Cherokee sounds. I remember visiting the site of this village more than 60 years ago. There were still markings and signs of a town then. I expect they have long since been destroyed to make way for the enormous development that has since occurred along and around what used to be Pea Ridge Road and vicinity.

In North Carolina, Chesquaw Branch used to empty into the Little Tennessee River from the north, but now Fontana Lake covers what may have been a historically interesting old Cherokee town in the vicinity of the mouth of the stream. It must have been gone by the time Bartram made his list of 43 Cherokee towns, but two hundred years earlier, de Soto’s chroniclers wrote about a rich gold-mining town called Chisca. Could it be the same? The Yuchi Indians living a short distance to the northeast of Stecoah told him the “province” of Chisca was over the mountains into what is now Tennessee. Of course, they simply wanted de Soto to get on his way and out of their area. So, who knows? Does Chisca lie under Fontana? Another mystery. What we do know is that Chesquaw is from the Cherokee Tsi-squa-yi or Tsi-squa-hi ["bird place"]. These days, it would be called Birdtown, but it is not the same as the Birdtown on the Eastern Cherokee Reservation.

If one follows the trail up Forney Creek from Fontana Lake for a few miles, rising a bit over 3500 feet on the west is Suli Ridge, seemingly dwarfed by the much taller Loggy Ridge just to its north and east.  “Suli” is the Cherokee word for “buzzard”, but I am not certain how the name came to be applied to that particular ridge, just a small ridge among more than a dozen of them within a few miles.

The French Broad River passes through Asheville and heads north to Hot Springs. Because of the rapids along this area, I doubt that any significant Cherokee settlement was to be found along this stretch. The Cherokee called this section Un-ta-ki-yo-sti-yi [or Vtakiyostiyi], with some accent on the second and fifth syllables. The name means “where they race,” referring to the rushing waters here; it survives in Tahkeyostee Park.

On the Tellico River, in eastern Tennessee, at the place now called Tellico Plains, lay the important Cherokee town of Taliqua [accented on the last syllable]. For a time, it was the most important Cherokee town. Its name is probably from a Creek dialect, and no Cherokee meaning is known. When de Soto passed through the area, the town seems to have been Creek and not Cherokee. Archaeological work in the Tellico Plains area shows that it has been occupied for about ten thousand years.

There was another town of the same name on Tellico Creek, near its junction with the Tennessee River north of Franklin, North Carolina. It was sometimes called Little Tellico, and there was another “Little” Tellico near what is now Murphy, North Carolina.

In Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation’s capital was established as Tahlequah, now a city of about 15000 people, a bit more than a fourth of whom are American Indians. It took its name from the Taliqua in Tennessee.

Beaverdam Creek, which empties into the Soque River at Clarksville, Georgia, seems to be a translation, because one Cherokee town called Tsuyugilogi ["where there are dams"] stood somewhere nearby. More interesting is Oothkaloga Creek which passes through Adairsville, Georgia, on its way to the Oostanaula River. Another Tsuyugilogi was situated on that creek, near the junction with the river. The shortened form of the name of the town was Uy’ gilogi. In Cherokee pronunciation, the slight aspiration that replaced the -yu- would have sounded a bit like a -th- to an English speaker, so that Oothkaloga is a reasonable English attempt at the Cherokee word, and that is the real origin of the creek’s name.  There seem to be variant spellings of Oothkaloga:  Oothcaloga, and Oothcalooga.

Perhaps we need to explain. Cherokee is spoken with still lips. The mouth is held almost imperceptibly open. The tongue is held along the bottom of the mouth pressed against the lower teeth; it remains tightly in place as much as possible. The upper lip is tightened slightly across the teeth. Speaking may be done while breathing in or out; when expiration ["outbreathing"] occurs through the mouth and nose simultaneously in speech, certain sounds are clearly preceded by aspiration [that strong "h" sound], producing the “intrusive h” of Cherokee. Degree of h-intrusion varies widely among individual speakers.

The city of Adairsville takes its name from a Cherokee town which grew up around land owned by Walter John Scott (“Red Wat”) Adair, a grandson of Irishman James Adair and his Cherokee wife.  Red Wat was born in 1791, and he apparently moved into the area in the 1820’s.  He became a prominent leader in what was then the Cherokee Nation, in Georgia, and the settlement came to be called Adairsville before the white people took it over.   Adair was one of the signers of the “Turkeytown Treaty” of 1817.  As best I can tell, the family moved to Oklahoma, on the Trail of Tears.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the people of Adairsville and wish them the speediest possible recovery from the destruction wrought by the recent tornado [January 2013).

To the south of Adairsville, not far from Kingston, Connesena Creek empties into the Etowah River.   Upstream, the creek passes near Connesena Mountain, and a small branch flows from Connesena Spring into the creek.   A Cherokee family once living in the area were descendants of Dragging Canoe [Tsiyu-gvsini], the second part of whose name became Connesena.  Dragging Canoe was a chief of the Chickamauga band, very inimical toward the whites, in the period shortly after the Revolutionary War.  Conseen remains to this day the name of a prominent family of the Eastern Cherokee.   Dragging Canoe’s Cherokee name can be analyzed into <Tsiyu, “canoe”; and <gvsini>, “he is dragging it.”

I notice that there is a Lake Qualatchee a few miles northwest of Cleveland, Georgia. I have never visited the site. Bartram’s list of Cherokee towns included a “Qualatche,” but it was reportedly on the Flint River, too far away to have a connection with this lake. But, Mooney says a town called Qualatchee was somewhere on the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River. Not much else seems to have been written about the town, and I am not yet sure how the lake came to have its name.

Monday, 20 December 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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