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Q: Miscellaneous ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Miscellaneous
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: gretel-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 22 Apr 2003 08:24 PDT
Expires: 22 May 2003 08:24 PDT
Question ID: 193822
I am trying to ascertain the origin and meaning of the word Tamwock,
which I understand is from an American Indian language and likely from
the language of a tribe in New England.

Clarification of Question by gretel-ga on 22 Apr 2003 14:03 PDT
Thank you for your comments.  I am familiar with the website that
features the Barnegat Bay A Cat fleet, including the A Cat named
Tamwock.  I have not seen a webpage as to the origin and meaning of
the word Tamwock; however, and would be interested in receiving your
findings (assuming that the information pertains to the meaning of the
word and not to the boat.
Subject: Re: Miscellaneous
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 22 Apr 2003 19:43 PDT
Hello Gretel-ga, and thanks for a very intriguing question.  

The word "Tamwock" -- to put it mildly -- is somewhat obscure.'s the name of a boat, but as your comments made clear, you
already know this.  But there's at least one site on the internet that
refers to "Tamwock" in another context:

Meaning of Place Name: Cape Cod, Massachussets

Cape Cod, Massachussets: From the fish its name implies, discovered
and named by Bartholomew Gosnold, May 15, 1602. This was the first
land in the United States trod by an Englishman. Tamwock, its Indian
name, means "codfish."


So now we're on to something, but the site is a bit
frustrating in it's lack of reference material.  Where does this fact
come from?

I contacted the owner of, and he offered this
information:  the factoid about Tamwock comes from an old, and
venerable reference book that is sometimes thought of as the prototype
of the modern encyclopedia.  The book is:

"The Standard Dictionary of Facts" 

by Henry Woldmar Ruoff, and published by Frontier Press in Buffalo,
NY.  The edition used by the sacklunch site is dated 1923, although
the book was published in many different years, in slightly different


At there are three copies of this book for sale, in
case you are interested.  The least expensive copy is at the
how-can-you-pass-it-up price of $6.00:

The book is dated 1912, however, so may or may not contain the
"Tamwock" reference.  More likely is the 1922 edition, available for
$10 at:

There are quite a number of other copies available through other
retailers on the internet. Let me know through a Request for
Clarification, if you are interested in having me try to track down a
1923 edition.


I wish I could tell you more about the actual context of the word and
the language itself. There seems to be very little information that
has survived the centuries about the actual language (or, I suspect,
multiple languages) used by native Americans of Cape Cod and
surrounding areas.  The Indians belonged to the Algonquin's, but there
were many tribes and many different languages and dialects spoken.

An interesting history of the Cape Cod Indians (of which I've
excerpted a bit) can be found here:


The territory now Canada, Nova Scotia, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont,
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut was all occupied by the
Algonquin tribes. The New England Algonquins were in two divisions,
namely the Tarratines and Mohicaneuks. The Tarratines, or Etetchemins,
were ancestors of the present day Passamoquoddy tribe, near Eastport,
Maine, as well as the Penobscot tribe, near Old Town, Maine.

The Mohicaneuks were traditional ancestors of the Penacook,
Massachusetts Nipmuc, Mohican, Pequot, Narrangansett and Wampanoag

Almost every person native of the Cape knows some Indians resident
here, but they know little of the history surrounding them. There are
Indians scattered throughout Cape Cod from Herring Pond to
Provincetown. Those at Herring Pond call themselves Pondville Indians.
What do they know of their tribal history? Those at Mashpee call
themselves Mashpee Indians, while some call themselves Nausets, some


Gretel-ga, I hope I have provided you the information that you are
looking for.  You have offered a handsome fee for this answer, and it
would certainly be within reason for me to carry out some additional
research for you on this, should you desire.

If so, let me know through a Request for Clarification, and if you do,
perhaps you can provide some additional context -- where did you hear
the term, and how did you come to associate it with an Indian tribe in
New England.  Any additional insight would be most helpful.


search strategy:  searches on multiple sources for "tamwock"

Request for Answer Clarification by gretel-ga on 23 Apr 2003 13:44 PDT
Thank you for providing such useful information.  I would like to ask
that you try to track down a 1923 edition of "The Standard Dictionary
of Facts," and let me know where I can purchase this book.

I had heard that the owner of the original boat Tamwock, which was
built in 1924,was from New England and had earned his livelihood in
the codfish industry.

Would you please let me know of your findings regarding the 1923

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 23 Apr 2003 19:47 PDT
Hello again.

I'm glad the answer was useful for you.  

As I said, there are many, many copies of The Standard Dictionary of
Facts available for sale at all the major online booksellers (such as, barnes and nobel, etc).  But tracking down a 1923 edition
proved to be more of a challenge than expected.

I finally found one at Alibris, a site that specializes in out of
print books.  This link will take you directly to a page descirbing
the book and allowing you to purchase it on-line:

The Standard Dictionary of Facts. 
Buffalo, NY: The Frontier Press Company, 1923 

catalog information:
Alibris I.D.: 8035504333

seller information:
Name: Pulp-n-Ink Books

Price: $7.95

A Practical Handbook of Ready Reference Based Upon Everyday Needs.
Boards a bit edgeworn, binding starting to separate at page 28.
Decorated end papers. 908pp.

It seems a bargain for what is bound to be an interesting book.  Let
me know if you have any difficulty securing it...I'm sure another copy
can be had if this listing turns out to be unavailable.
Subject: Re: Miscellaneous
From: justaskscott-ga on 22 Apr 2003 12:44 PDT
I have found one page on the Web that purports to give the meaning for
this particular word; I presume that it is the same page where you saw
this information.  I have contacted someone who is associated with the
page, in order to determine the source of this information.

I have a reasonable idea as to the origin and meaning of this word --
based not only on the page that I saw, but another page as well.  The
problem is that there were several languages even in New England, and
various English spellings of the words in those languages.  (I have
talked to an expert for one language in New England, who did not know
the word or anything like it.)

I will let you know if I obtain any information to confirm what I have
seen online, either from the person I have contacted or anywhere else.

If you have not even seen a web page with information about the word
Tamwock, or would be happy with another page that appears to support
the meaning given in that page (plus some further information
regarding names for the place that this word relates to), please post
a comment or clarification to your question, and I will post this
material as an answer.

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