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Hockhocking

Hockhocking is a Delaware (Indian) name, and meant, in their language, Bottle river. In the spring of 1765, George Croghan, a sub-commissioner of the British government, embarked at Pittsburg, with some friendly Indians, intending to visit the Wabash and Illinois country, and conclude a treaty with the Indians. – Five days from Pittsburg, he notes in his journal that “we passed the mouth of Hochocen, or Bottle River.” This translation of the word Hochocen or Hockhocking, is also given by Heckewelder and Johnson, and is undoubtedly correct. The Shawanese called the river Weathakagh-qua, which meant, in their dialect, the same as Hockhocking; and one of the other tribes called it by a name signifying Bow river. All of these names had reference to the winding, crooked course of the stream. The origin of the name Hockhocking-Bottle river-is thus explained by a writer in an old number of the American Pioneer, who says: -About six or seven miles northwest of Lancaster, there is a fall in the Hockhocking of about twenty feet; above the falls, for a short distance, the stream is very narrow and straight, forming a neck, while at the falls it suddenly widens on each side, and swells into the appearance of the body of a bottle. The whole, when seen from above, appears exactly in the shape of a bottle, and from this fact arose the Indian name of Hockhocking.”
It is to be regretted that the name of the river is now almost invariably abbreviated to Hocking. True, it takes longer to write or pronounce the real name-Hockhocking; but the whites have never rendered such distinguished favors or services to the Indian race as to entitle them to mutilate the Indian language by altering or clipping the few words that cling to the geography of the country. Some of these Indian names are not only expressive in their original signification, but are really musical. The following verses, written many years ago, by a former editor of Cincinnati- Mr. William J. Sperry, of the Globe-though not highly poetical, are worth insertion in this connection

The Last Of The Red Men
By William J. Sperry

Sad are fair Muskingum’s waters,
Sadly, blue Mahoning raves;
Tuscarawas’ plains are lonely,
Lonely are Hockhocking’s waves.
From where headlong Cuyahoga
Thunders down its rocky way,
And the billows of blue Erie,
Whiten in Sandusky’s bay;
Unto where Potomac rushes
Arrowy from the mountain side,
And Kanawha’s gloomy waters
Mingle with Ohio’s tide ;
From the valley of Scioto,
And the Huron sisters three,
To the foaming Susquehanna,
And the leaping Genesee;
Over hill, and plain, and valley,
Over river, lake, and bay
On the water, in the forest,
Ruled and reigned the Seneca.
But sad are fair Muskingum’s waters,
Sadly, blue Mahoning raves;
Tuscarawas’ plains are lonely,
Lonely are Hockhocking’s waves.
By Kanawha dwells the stranger,
Cuyahoga feels the chain;
Stranger ships vex Erie’s billows,
Strangers plough Scioto’s plain.
And the Iroquois have wasted
From the hill and plain away;
On the waters, in the valley,
Reigns no more the Seneca.
Only by the Cattaraugus,
Or by Lake Chautauqua’s side,
Or among the scanty woodlands
By the Allegheny’s tide
There, in spots, like sad oases,
Lone amid the sandy plains,
There the Seneca, still wasting,
Amid desolation reigns.

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