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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Pennsylvania: Beaver County

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Re: Beaver Co., Pa..Named after the animal? Or family?
Posted by: John H. Davies (ID *****5291) Date: October 20, 2002 at 22:14:27
In Reply to: Re: Beaver Co., Pa..Named after the animal? Or family? by Amie Peoples of 1473

Your post is interesting to read but the orginal question regarded BEAVER COUNTY not the Borough of Beaver which your post addresses. As the following shows there is a difference of opinion as to the source of the name Beaver (County & Borough).

“PENNSYLVANIA A HISTORY” Editor-in-Chief George P. Donehoo, Vol. IV, 1926:
“Beaver County. Erected March 12, 1800 from part of Allegheny and Washington Counties, derives its name and that of the county seat from the creek flowing through it.” [Beaver Creek].

“PENNSYLVANIA PLACE NAMES”, A Howry Espenshade, The Pennsylvania State College, State College, 1925:
“Beaver County. One month after Centre County was created, eight new counties were formed in the western part of the State by the Act of March 12, 1800. One of these was Beaver County, taken from Washington and Allegheny, and named for the Big Beaver River, or Creek, which was so called because of the great number of beavers once found on its banks and in its waters.”

“INDIAN NAMES IN BEAVER COUNTY”, By Denver L. Walton, “Milestones” Vol 22. No 3—Autumn 1997:
Beaver County, Beaver Borough, Beaver Falls, Big Beaver, South Beaver Township, Beaver River, Little Beaver Creek; the list goes on. There is much controversy as to the source of the name of Beaver Borough. A state historical marker in town attributes it to King Beaver (Tamaqui or Amockwi), a chief of the Delaware Indian tribe. Others claim it was named for the beaver, for which the river and other towns were named. In the historical Indian period, a village called Shingas Town was located here. Shingas was one of two brothers of King Beaver.
Fort McIntosh was built here during the Revolutionary War by General Lachlan McIntosh, long after the Indian inhabitants had moved westward. The Beaver River was named "Amahkwi-sipu" (there are many spelling variations of all Indian names) which meant "beaver stream" to the Delawares and "Tankamahkwisipu" was Little Beaver Creek. South Beaver Township, now much reduced in size, was one of the six original townshipsof Beaver County in 1800.

The following is from an “ADDRESS OF DANIEL AGNEW AT THE DEDICATION OF THE NEW COURT HOUSE OF BEAVER, PA, May 1, 1877”: But we are reminded that the law must have its place of enforcement. A court is said to be a place where justice is judicially administered. Take care of the pronunciation of this definition, lest "in" unite with "justice," and the caviller say a truth is told. The location of the seat of justice at Beaver brings up memories of local history, some of which operated on the minds of the men of 1800 in placing it here. On this beautiful plain, in times long gone by-more than a century and a quarter ago-the mercurial Frenchman found a lodging among the wild men of the forest, unsuited to Parisian taste, yet made fit by his loyalty to his king. In front flows the Ohio-the Frenchman's "La Belle Riviere," and the Indian's "Clear Water." Above, the Big Beaver rolls down over miles of rocky falls. Far back before civilization had planted her footsteps on the virgin soil ' it took its name, by translation from the Indian tongue, from the useful animal inhabiting its waters. The- town took its name from the stream, and the county its from both.
A most interesting account of this region is given by Christian Frederick Post, a German and Moravian preacher, twice sent out from Philadelphia, in 1758, to the Indians living west of Fort Du Quesne. In his second Journal, November 16, 1758, he says: "We went down a long valley to Beaver Creek, through old Kushkushing, a large spot of land, about three miles long. Kushkushing was a Delaware town, near the junction of the Shenango and Mahoning, which form the Big Beaver, and on the west side of the Beaver." In Weiser's journal the town is called "Caskaskie." Here lived the famous chief of the "Turtle Tribe" of the Delawares, known as "King Beaver," or "The Beaver;" and here we meet the origin of the present name of the stream, it being evidently a translation of the Indian name. Both men and tribes were distinguished by the names of favorite animals. In the Irrequois Confederacy, or Five Nations, there were eight tribes of each nation, known as the Wolf, Bear, Beaver, Turtle, Deer, Snipe, Heron, and Hawk. The Delawares were not of the confederacy, but their tribes were distinguished in a similar manner. I have not discovered the Delaware name for "Beaver," but among the Irequois it was "Non-ga-nee-ar-goh." "King Beaver," or "The Beaver," is frequently mentioned, and his speeches preserved in the conference with the Indians-in that of George Croghan, deputy of Sir William Johnston, His Majesty's Superintendent of Indian Affairs, at Fort Pitt, in July, 1759; of Brigadier-General Stanwix, at Fort Pitt, in October, 1759; and in the journal of Colonel Henry Boquet of his expedition in 1764 from Fort Pitt to the Indians westward. At the conference, November 10th, with the Turkey and Turtle tribes of the Delawares, "King Beaver" is set down as the "chief of the Turkey tribe, with twenty warriors." This proves that his name, "Beaver," was personal and not tribal, being taken, probably, from the stream on which he lived, as before mentioned. I have taken these facts from an article on the origin of the name of Beaver County, written by myself, therefore it will not be deemed plagiarism.


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