Return to First Page---ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume XLVIII, Summer 1989
Supposedly, a scrap of paper with Antoine written on it was found in
his pocket (2). There is no documentary support for this folk tale. Doubtless
the town took its name from the stream which probably was named by the same
French hunters in the late eighteenth century who named the Little Missouri
River into which the Antoine flows.
In the early 1800s there was a small French settlement at what is now
known as the East Place on the Antoine a few miles downstream from the town
site. The settlers worshipped at the Church of St. Francis Xavier that stood
on the site of the present First Baptist Church of Antoine (3). During the
late 1700s a gold mine on the Little Missouri was reported to the Spanish
government. Spanish officials were advised not to make its location known.
(4). No commercial deposit of precious metal ever has been found in the
Little Missouri basin. However, iron pyrites crystals ("fool's gold")
occur in the bed of Wolf Creek, a tributary of the Antoine, and this ore
might have been mistaken by colonial hunters for gold.
- ARKANSAS.---"Father Marquette, who visited
this region in 1673, spelled the word Akansea on his map, but in
the text it is spelled Akamsea and Akansea. In both instances it
is the name of a village," Dr. Branner wrote. Then he gave variations
of the spelling of the name in he journals of later French visitors to
the tribe living near the mouths the Arkansas and White rivers. Dr. Branner
was not aware that the name was of Algonquian origin and not the name that
the tribe called itself. These Indians were one of several Dhegiha Siouan
tribes, and in heir own language they were known as the Ugaxpa.
A young man of the Illinois tribe, which belonged to the Algonquian linguistic
stock, served as interpreter for the Jesuit priest (5). Consequently, this
Indian used the Algonquian term to identify the Ugaxpa. It means
"South Wind" and was derived from the root Ak-a-kon-ce
or Ak-a-kan-ze (6).
- 2. Interview with Olen Hendrix, Antoine, Arkansas, April 6, 1951.
- 3. Interview with Elbert Riley, Alexander, Arkansas, September 8, 1987.
- 4. Francisco Bouligny to Bernardo de Galvez, August 4, 1778, Archivo
General de Indias, Seville, Papeles
- Procedentes de Cuba, Legajo 2358.
- 5. Jacques Marquette, Voyages of Marquette in the Jesuit Relations,
59, With French and English
- Text, Great Americana, Readex Microprint, 1966, p. 155.
- 6. Muriel H. Wright, A Guide to the Indian Tribes of Oklahoma
(Norman, 1951), 219.