Pamaukee, n— This was the general name for a tract of land in what is now King William county, beginning at the confluence of what are called the Pamunkey and Mattapony rivers, and, according to Smith's description, was characterized by numerous high hills composed of sand — probably drift-sand and hence sloping. Speaking of the religious observances of the Powhatans, Smith says that "their principall Temple or place of superstition is at Vttamussack¹ at [that is, in] Pamaunke." Mr Tooker, jumping at the conclusion that these words form a compound, hyphenates them and, in a former essay², thus proceeds to analyze them: Ut, he tells us, means 'at,' or 'in.' It really did have that meaning in some of the dialects of Massachusetts, to which the use of it was confined, and none of which was ever spoken on the Pamunkey. Mussa, he says, means 'woods.' The Virginia word mûssi designated a 'log' or 'billet of wood,' not wood or woods in the sense of a collection of trees. To the terminal -ack Mr Tooker ascribes the meaning of 'place,' probably having in view the word aki, 'land,' 'country,' 'earth.' The second element of his compound, Pamaunkee, Mr Tooker states to be a "form of a verb to hide [pamukque, Eliot)."
Uttamussack (= tämèsäck, with prosthetic û), which Mr Tooker has SO carefully analyzed, was the Virginia name for a knife³, a sharp edged piece of flint or quartzite, generally of triangular shape. The word is an apocopated form of tämèsâkän, meaning, literally, a 'sharp-edged cutting utensil' Uttamasack was probably the name of an Indian "workshop," where these implements were manufactured. The word may be an abbreviation of tämèsâkänikän, meaning 'place where knives are made.'
Never having seen in Eliot's translation of the Bible, or in any of his writings, such a word as pamukque, meaning 'to hide,' my curiosity led me to look it up. Upon examining the Natick Dictionary I found therein the inanimate passive verbal adjective assampamukquodt, which Eliot uses in the sense of 'hiding place,' although the meaning of the word is almost directly the reverse, viz., 'it is seen in a certain manner,' 'it appears so.'* The word is formed from the adverb of manner, äs, 'so,' 'in such a way,' and the inanimate passive adjective (w)ompamukquodt, 'it is seen.' Eliot (as well as Cotton) was in the habit of irregularly and unnecessarily† 'forming another adjective from this class by rejecting the termination -at and substituting e (= i) therefor. His new word in the present case was assompamukque. Here, then, we find the origin of Mr Tooker's pamukque, which, as will be observed, consists of p, the characteristic of the root womp, 'to see' or 'be seen,' and the formative syllables amukque. To the above-mentioned remarkable compound its author ascribes the meaning of 'a place of secrecy in the woods'!
As I have already stated, pämaunkee ( =päma"ki) means 'sloping hill,' or 'rising upland,' from pam (pem, pim, pum, according to dialect), ' sloping,' 'slanting,' 'oblique,' and -a'ki, 'hill,' 'mountain,' or 'highland'; = Ojibwe -aki, 'hill' or 'mountain,' in such words as nissaki, ' at the bottom of a hill,' ogidaki, ' on a hill,' awassaki ' beyond the hill.' The particle ak, a"k, a"g, denoting 'height' or 'elevation,' is used in several Algonquian dialects; e. g.: Abnaki pèma"kke, the 'high land slopes,' pnèka"ku 'sandy hill,' a"bagwa"ki, 'under shelter of a hill,' nèssa"ki'ré, 'he goes to the bottom of a hill,' usa"kuk,'on a hill'; Natick sóka"kwät, a height (lit. 'it is very high') ; Lenape mäna"gihleu (corrupt, to Monongahela), ' it (earth) separates from (man) the hill (a"g) and slides quickly (-ihleu) an impersonal adjective verb used substantively as a designation for a landslide. But why multiply examples, when the meaning of the word under consideration is so clear?
1. Utamussac was at the head of the second northerly bend of the Pamunkey, west of the fork, and was the site of a place put down on Jefferson's map as Quinlan.
2. Algonqnian Series, IX.
3. In Smith's vocabulary we find "Pamesacks. Kniues," where the terminal s is a sign of the English plural, and the inital P an error of the press for T. Strachey writes the word damassac.
*. Blunders of this kind are not infrequent in Eliot's writings.
†. Unnecessarily, because the new adjective had precisely the same meaning (that of a passive participial adjective) for the reason that the kw (ku) of the suffix is a particle characteristic of the passive voice.
- American Anthropologist, Vol. 7
The American Anthropological Association, 1905