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Weeckatuck

The end of the woods

Table of Contents
Introduction
Legends and Lore
Translation
Colonial Description

Introduction

The indigenous peoples who inhabited the general area of Noyack were a small segment of the Shinnecock, known as the Weckatuck (meaning “end of the woods or trees, or end of the cove or creek.” Sometimes spelled Wickatuck, Wecutake, Wecatuck, Weckatuck, Weeckatuck) . Described by Southampton in a 1964 publication, they were peace loving Indians who settled in isolated groups and lived off shellfish and game. They farmed to a limited degree. Six or eight families lived on one site until the farming land was exhausted, or until collection of refuse became a serious problem. The largest known encampment of Noyack Indians was beside the Mill Pond, now known as the Trout Pond. The last known Weckatucks lived in a teepee back of Mill Pond shortly before the end of the nineteenth century. 1

5I5A4884-Pano-Edit-1024x300 Weeckatuck Jeremy Dennis On This Site

Trout Pond from the southern edge

  1. Southampton, Long Island 325th Anniversary 1640/1965 pp 33

Legends and Lore

Ca. 1600’s – Weckatuck Springs, once located at the corner of Noyack Rd. and Long Beach, Sag Harbor, and was a fresh water spring that emerged out of the cliffs that had healing properties. Various tribal people came there, in some cases all the way from Montauk during times of sickness to drink the natural spring water. 1

  1. Oral history of David Martine, from the Shinnecock History Timeline

Translation

Variations of Weeckatuck are Weeckatuck [better spelling as earlier spellings likely more accurate], used in 1706; Weckatuck, 1797 and Wickatuck, 1964.

This name is susceptible of two interpretations: either, weque-tugk, “end of the woods or trees”; or weque-tuk, “end of the cove or creek.” There is no difference between “gk” and “k,” but the first spelling wouldn’t be correct grammatically. End of the cove or creek is likely to be the correct translation.

Reaching far afield in the Algonquian family, we could reasonable compare Ojibwe wiikwedong, locative of wiikwed ‘bay,’ which would have an expectd SNEA (Southern New England Algonquian) cognate wîhkwâtuk. Thus the meaning here would be ‘in or at the cove,’ assuming, on this evidence along that this word existed. We are also assuming that the ‘ck’ in the name should have been ‘qu,’ on the basis of a word we know elsewhere, but it could also mean something different.1

Both significations will apply to the locality, Weeckatuck spring being at the “end of the woods,” from any direction of approach, from Noyack, Sag Harbor, or Bridgehampton. It is also the “head of the cove” from the same directions.

The first component, in either case, will be weque (in Massachusetts, uhquae), “end”; the –tugk of Wequetugk will correspond to Massachusetts m’h’tug (root, h’tug), “tree”; the -tuk of Wequetuk is -tuck, “tidal stream,” “creek.” 2

 

  1. Ives Goddard, email correspondence, 2017
  2.  Tooker, W. W. (1962). The Indian place-names on Long Island and islands adjacent with their probable significations. Port Washington, NY: I.J. Friedman. pp 277

Colonial Description

William Tooker describes Weckatuck 1911 as a neck of land, and a running spring of water at the foot of “Long Beach,” Southampton town, about three miles from Sag Harbor, on te Noyack road. It is frequently mentioned in the early records, first in 1657, as follows:

“Deposition of Mr. Richard Odell… the Sachems did not sett the bounds of East Hampton in the covenant of the purchase by reason of Job Sayer and my Standinge for the bounds of Southampton but was left untill Southampton men should make out their Lawfull bounds, the Manhansett Sachem pointed to my best rememberance about Wecutake spring for the line to runne nere upon the South or upon the South line” (E. H. R., vol. i., p. 136).

Again in 1680:

“the meadow on the west side of Wecatuck neck.”

Again in 1706:

“By the appointment of ye proprietors of North sea purchase was appointed John Lupton and George Harris and Thomas Cooper to lay out nine lots betweene ffaranteans [sic] point and Weckatuck spring so-called upon Hog neck beach” (S. H. R., vol. ii., pp. 91, 145).

Tooker confirms, “the site of an Indian Village is located within a short distance of this spring, and it must have been a favorite resort of the red-man, as it is to-day for the thirty pedestrian.”1

  1.  Tooker, W. W. (1962). The Indian place-names on Long Island and islands adjacent with their probable significations. Port Washington, NY: I.J. Friedman. pp 277

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