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Correspondence from Charles E. Banks to Fannie Hardy Eckstorm ca. 1915-1930, Part 3 (ms158_b1f005_003.03.pdf)

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High time to stop, but while carping at my betters, I must take a shot at Dr. J. Dyneley Prince, who poses as a philologist, and probably is so, but who can't do much with our Indians. Last night I took Kuloskap the Master, (Leland and Prince) from the library and was struck with the incapacity he showed. In the wampum record, which he gives, he introduces several times the word geptin [?] which he clearly does not understand. Nothing easier! It is simply the English captain used for a long time by our tribes for their under-chiefs. The g was hard and probably they got their pronunciation originally from the Yankee Cap'n, Kep'n, as we said it. (Captinek and okeptinen is his Indian) Then he tells something about the "great battle of the Kennebec in Maine, where the English commander Bradford overthrew their tribe on December [3]?, 1679" (P. 30, Introduction by prince.) One of the Washington pundits has gone this one better. I can't t is moment quote the passage nor the reference, but he is a serious Indian student, either Thomas or Gee, and he refers to this battle of Bradford,s and says it was a cavalry engagement and hundreds were killed! Wonderful how many horses they had in Maine in 1679! Oh, as for St. Aspenquid, I put a bomb under that in Sprague's Journal, disgusted at Mood's History of York. I let Justin H. Shaw off so easy that he has been grateful ever since and has said he would undertake to write up the story. I gave him notes enough to help and a probable explanation of it; but think he has done nothing. As I looked at the palpable hoax I noted that the phases of the moon played a part in the celebration of the festival in Nova Scotia. Now when the moon gets into anything, it is either superstition or religion that comes in. I judged this might have a bearing on religion and observing that it was on the dark of the moon (memory only again!) in May, I tried taking Easter as a base. Reckoning from that I found that the feast would fall just after Whitsunday in the English Church calendar. hence I judged that some merry church of Englanders, wishing to celebrate their Whitsunstide, had made up this preposterous story as a joke, and had carried it down to Nova Scotia with them. I have not notes at hand, never saved them, but I think that explains the origin of the story. If it does and you can make use of it in bombing the tale, then do so: Mr. Shaw's Journal came in, but among the later numbers. Spurwink never was Indian--not a trace of Indian in it. Machegonne is good Indian, but not a ridge. I recall Father O'Brien's marjee gonic, bad camp, and looking at the place from the height one cold winter day, with en. J. L. Chamberlain, I decided that it would be a very bad camp; but I am haunted with [its][?] resembling Michigan so nearly. Both are peninsulas, of an elbow shape. Ojibway is so like our tongue that there may be some connection, but just now I have no good reference to Michigan. Schoolcraft may have it; but Dwight Kelton does not in the little book I have; nothing in Trunbull or [Basles] [?] that I note in casual review. Can Agamenticus possibly be [Agramok)-adn-tegw-cook][?]? that is a mountain on the other side of a river? I never was there and don't know, but the men seems possibly aden, often left as a mere trace in a word and in this case something the English would not pronounce correctly, but Agamednticus would do it. Even then the grammar would have to be worked out Be sure of one thing no Indian would ever be buried on top of a mountain. They were too afraid of muntains to go up them anyway, and ours are a trifle rocky on top for digging graves in solid granite. I most admired the way John Eliot skipped out of his ship and went to converting Indians right away--quite unlike what he says himself. Sincerely, Fannie H. Eckstorm

Description: Letters pertaining to Indian place names in Maine, Indian languages, and other matters relating to Wabanaki cultures and history.

Link to document in Digital Maine


Date: ca. 1915-1930

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