Thursday, March 10, 2016

Pigwacket Orthography and Cartography

At the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room we often get questions about the proper spelling or meaning of place names including a recent one about Pigwacket. In his book on the subject, George Hill Evans has a entire chapter on that word's orthography that includes his documentation of 68 variations of spelling the word.

Copies of the book can be read for free on the internet in a form that is easy to search for topics and keywords. In addition to the fantastic information in the book, the history of behind the book and its author are interesting in their own way. George Hill Evans was librarian emeritus of the Somerville (Massachusetts) Public Library. He was also an early President of the Conway Historical Society and led tours of local history throughout the town.

Our signed edition was publication number one for the Conway Historical Society.
Stephen Laurent of Odanak was listed as a key source of information on the subject. Laurent and his family developed the now famous Abenaki Heritage Site in Conway. (Abenaki is another word with numerous documented spelling variations).


A detail of a 1625 map is included that when compared with other maps in the Conway Public Library's collection reveals an a fascinating environmental analysis of the area over time. The library has recently have hosted a number of school tours that focused on the environmental history of the area and we welcome any other groups who would like to sign up for the tour and related outreach programs.


To learn more contact us through the comment section below.


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