Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/374

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

366 W. H. ABBOTT rivers are still called, North Fork, South Fork, Middle Fork, South Fork of Middle Fork, and etc. These are excellent opportunities to change all but the name of the main stream. Most of the branch creeks have no very fixed names. They are known by the names given them in the map having the largest circulation. This condition, however, continues only so long as the population is scant. The names eventually be- come fixed. From a list of the words of the language of the tribe which inhabited that particular region such words could be selected as seem most worthy of preservation and as having some as- sociation with the particular locality. In many cases the origi- nal name of a stream can be found ; if this cannot be attached to the main stream it frequently can be to the branch. Sometimes, if it is uncertain whether a name can be changed, both names are advisable, the Indian name to follow the common English name. A name like an idea, once let loose on a map, may find a use that was least expected. In addition to the streams there are many cross roads where it is pretty certain that a village will spring up. In fact, every cross roads, if in a fertile section with a couple of houses near should have a name. The historical society will have more prestige in giving it a name than any other body in the coun- try. A particularly good opportunity occurs when a new line of railway is built. The railway nearly always names the new towns and the writer's experience indicates that they are fre- quently at a loss for appropriate, names. In no case would a list of names presented by a historical society be rejected with- out serious consideration and the adoption of some of them. Most of the lesser mountain peaks have names that are not firmly fixed. If by a foot note it can be explained that the name used up to that time has already been appropriated in another part of the state, the new name will have a strong reason for soon gaining currency. All knobs and buttes should