Information

Latin word for cat


Latin word for catamount (katonko). The name is based on the native Catamount Indians, who inhabited the region around present-day Waterville in western Maine.

In 1776, the Catamounts were involved in a raid on Fort William Henry, during which French agent Joseph Brant provided the chief, Joseph Wadsworth, with powder, which he stored in a hollowed tree trunk. The trunk became known as Wadsworth's Catamount, and, after Brant's death, when Joseph Warren (the noted Puritan clergyman) was governor of Massachusetts, he was charged with collecting the powder. The charge was brought before a jury in 1783, and Warren was acquitted, but the case was highly publicized.

The first known European to arrive in this region was the English adventurer John Mason in 1623. The English explorer and colonist Richard Smith made the first known recorded and accurate map of this area in 1767.

The French-Canadian fur trappers Jacques Boucher, Pierre La Vérendrye, and Louis Robineau explored the region from the mid-1700s. These men, and later Jacques Dechêne and Joseph-Antoine Croche, traveled up the St. Lawrence River to the trading post at Michilimackinac (Mackinac) in the state of Michigan, an area that the French had previously explored. In the late 1730s, French-Canadian Father Jacques Gravé Despont set up a mission among the Catamounts and lived among them as a close friend. Father Despont is believed to be the first Catholic priest to visit the Catskills. Despont also traveled with the Catamounts on their expeditions against the British. One of Despont's assistants was Father Henri Brebeuf, who later came to New France to serve as a missionary among the Abenakis.

Catamounts traveled the upper Saint Lawrence and Missaguash Rivers. They traveled in canoes, dugout canoes, and kayaks. They used birch bark canoes and carved paddles. Men often wore a fur hat, a fur blanket, moccasins, a bearskin or a cloak. They traveled into the Great Lakes in the summers. They traveled along the shores of the Great Lakes in the winter. When the lakes froze, they traveled along the rivers, using the river ice as a pathway. Catamounts traded for food, clothing, tools, and anything they needed. If they were traveling to trade, the Catamounts would leave as many or as few canoes in the trading place as they needed to trade for a good price.

The Catamounts traded by bartering and by using money or currency. When they traveled to a trading place, they brought fur, furs, copper, brass, and muskets. They also traded for food, clothes, and ammunition. They traded for corn, dried meat, and dried fish. The fur they traded for clothing was usually deer and fox. The fur they traded for copper and brass was raccoon, muskrat, and beaver. The fur they traded for muskets and ammunition was beaver. They traded with the First Nations.

The Catamounts also traded for alcohol. While traveling up the Saint Lawrence, they bartered for a "flask of brandy" which, they said, was "three francs at the most."

The Catamounts built canoes by hewing, carving, and using their own labor. They also bought canoes from the First Nations. The Catamounts used canoes for hunting, fishing, warfare, travel, trade, and religion. They did not own, use, or sell large, sea-worthy canoes. Catamounts used small, small-time, river canoes. The Catamounts made a type of small boat called a war canoes. They called these boats "boule de la mer" which, in French, means "ball of the sea." In this type of boat, the bow was pointed. The body and gunwales of the boat were pointed. The canoe had a paddle on each side of the boat.

The Catamounts used their canoes as weapons. When they warred with the First Nations, they used canoes to travel across the Saint Lawrence River and the Missisquoi River. They often attacked a village from one river. They also raided by canoe from the Saint Lawrence. The Catamounts made war canoes by making two canoes, one on top of the other, making a canoe with two levels.

To build a canoe for war, the Catamounts used birchbark. The Catamounts made birchbark canoes by hewing a tree and then splitting it. They cut a hole in the bottom of the canoe. They made a frame by hewing down the birchbark and fastening it with leather. In a war canoe, they fastened the gunwales with leather, tied it together and fastened it, put on its paddle and bow, put in the gunwales of the lower canoe, and put in its paddle. They then put it in the water. They made the upper canoe level with the lower one.

First Nations

The First Nations lived in villages with palisade walls and log palisades. Their villages had one main, main entrance, which is where the palisade walls were. The first houses on the top of the walls were log houses made from the trunks of trees. Each house had a fire place in the middle. Outside of each house was a fire place. Behind each house were the gardens. When a village was attacked, it was defended by the people in the houses on the palisade walls. The Catawba had four styles of houses and the type of house was different depending on where they lived. Each town had a chief and their style of building was used as a way to show their status.

See also

Catawba language

References

Category:Native American tribes in North Carolina

Category:Pre-statehood history of North Carolina

Category:History of Catawba County, North Carolina


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