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During the progress of the Geological Survey of the state, I have had occasion to use these place names on my maps, and I have been puzzled to know how to spell some of them, and have thus been interested in learning their origin. I have here brought together several of them, with such explanations of their origins as are suggested by the words themselves, or by some circumstance connected with the localities. In many instances I have been unable to find what seems to be a rational explanation of the origin of the words. Concerning a certain number of them, I am able to give the opinion of Judge U. M. Rose, of Little Rock, and I have inserted his name in parentheses after the explanations for which he is responsible. Judge Rose remarks, however, that he considers some of his suggestions "exceedingly risky." Indeed but few of the explanations offered in the present paper are to be accepted without question. It is to be hoped that the Arkansas Historical Society will try to trace these words to their sources while yet there is some possibility of its being done: If, for example, "Moro" is from"Moreau," why was it called "Moureau" ? Such a history cannot be deciphered by an inspection of the word alone.

Some of our most valuable records of these old names are to be found in Dunbar and Hunter's Observations,written in 1805, during a trip up the Washita to Hot Springs (1). Unfortunately, it contains many typographic errors. Nuttall, the botanist, who traveled in Arkansas Territory in 1819, makes mention of some of these place names, and as he was on the ground before the French origins of the words were entirely lost sight of, his spellings of them are of
interest (2).

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1. Message from the President of the United States communicating discoveries made in
exploring the Missouri, Red River, and Washita, by Captains Lewis and Clark, Doctor Sibley and Mr. Dunbar. Washington, 1806.
2 a. A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory during the Year 1819. By Thomas
Nuttall, Philadelphia, 1821. b.Observations on the Geological Structure of the Valley of the Mississippi. Journal of the Acad. Nat. Sci., vol. II, pp. 14-52. Philadelphia, 1820.

 

 

 

 

 

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