ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume 19, Autumn 1960, p. 191

Some Old French
Place Names in the
State of Arkansas

Stanford University*

THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS WAS EARLY EXPLORED AND SETTLED BY French traders and trappers. The history of these first settlers is mostly lost already, for they were frontiersmen, who left but few documents or other records by which their history can be traced. The French names given by them to streams and camping grounds have clung to some of the places, while in other instances these names have been
so modified and Anglicized as to be almost, if not quite, beyond recognition.

It is worthy of note that the French names are confined chiefly to the southern and eastern parts of the state, and to the valley of the Arkansas. I have no doubt that this is owing to the fact that trappers and traders were the first white men to enter the state in considerable numbers, and that they traveled chiefly along the navigable streams. They did not enter the Ozark-Mountains region because there are no navigable streams entering the Arkansas river from
that direction, while the Upper White river is swift, and, in places, difficult of navigation.

* This article originally appeared in Modern Language Notes, XIV (February, 1899), 33-40. It is reprinted here by permission of Nathan Edelman, General Editor of Modern Language Notes, The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, Maryland, in the hope that it will arouse interest in the study of Arkansas place names. All the notes are Branner's.








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