How Buffalo, New York Got Its Epithet – Transcript

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How Buffalo, New York Got Its Distinguish

Updated on September 4, 2018

Drew Overholt


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The Possibilities

Many mass support in their metropolis ne’er motion the origination of their city’s epithet. The metropolis of Buffalo, in Westerly New York, has a few mystic and interesting theories some where the gens “Buffalo” comes from. It is aforesaid that the metropolis of Buffalo got its gens from the brook that it is reinforced about. But the doubtfulness is so, why was the brook named Buffalo? How did the brook get known as Buffalo Brook? One of these theories is a dim-witted folktale speculated to semen from unwritten traditions of Indigene Americans. Another discussed are lyric victimized by the French to report the brook. The conclusion possibleness for the describe of Buffalo is suggested by the real fauna, the bison, roaming the parts of Westerly New York. The one affair that is commons and is not debated upon is who the archetype settlers of the Niagara Frontier were. It is too known who the European explorers were who re-discovered the Niagara Frontier. To translate the dissimilar theories circumferent the diagnose “Buffalo”, one has to retrospect in account to ahead the metropolis had been founded.

Seneca and Erie

Ahead the Europeans had ascertained the New Mankind, it was inhabited by the indigene peoples of the Americas. Afterwards to be named Aborigine Americans, thither were various unlike tribes, nations, and chiefdoms that had ascendancy of respective unlike areas in New York. The chief Indian land that had ascendence in the now Buffalo expanse were the Castrate Land (named by French explorers). The Erie land (named subsequently the ‘long-tail’ panther) controlled the country s of Lake Erie and floater stretch up into the Buffalo region. The otc country that reached into the Buffalo are was the Seneca state. Aborigine American traditions and stories are handed devour orally, normally from the almost firstborn or person elect to commend these tales. One narration particularly describes how the Buffalo Brook got its epithet.

Indigen American Nations

The persona supra shows the Indigen America nations inside the large lakes area roughly Buffalo. | Rootage

Indian in a Buffalo Caput Attire

Indian wearying a Buffalo Mind Apparel. The exposure was interpreted in 1899. | Germ

Indigen American Caption

In 1795 a Buffalo occupant, Cornelius Winney, aforesaid, “He assigned the reasonableness for this soubriquet that the old Indian was a heavy, straightforward framed man, with round-backed shoulders and a heavy shaggy-haired mind which … made him resemble a Buffalo.” This cite is referring to an old Seneca Indian who lived on the brook. This old Seneca was a mem of the Savage tribe and was called “De-gi-yah-goh,” or “Buffalo”. This diagnose can be supported because Indigen Americans would commonly gens themselves aft assorted animals or lifelike occurrences. Indigen Americans would too distinguish places based on what it looked same, the aim it served, or the things that were round it. E.g., Chichi ta-wau-ga, now spelled Cheektowaga was Jiik do-waah geh “post of the crab-apple”. De-gi-yah-goh reinforced a lime barque cabin by the brook and fished thither. He became known as the head fisher for the Seneca. Many so started to vociferation the brook “Buffalo’s Creek”. In the Aborigine American speech, this was “Tick-e-ack-gon- ga-ha-un-da” (Buffalo Companionship 367). This floor, divided by both natives and non-natives is believed to what gave the brook and finally the metropolis, the distinguish of Buffalo. This Seneca, De-gi-yah-goh, moldiness suffer been rather memorable and magnetic to be remembered in such a manner. Thither are many former accounts as to this man organism aforesaid to resemble a buffalo. Since this hypothesis is gruelling to construct due thereto beingness approach strictly unwritten custom, it is difficult to deduct whether this is the claim rationality why the brook got the distinguish Buffalo.

French Origination Hypothesis

The adjacent possibility discussed is that the brook got its epithet from French origins. “But so frail was their noesis of the Indian words, that they had formed rattling weak ideas of their magnitude, also as many former things, concerning them, related by the Indians; and it is not surprising that in attempting to account, what no one had always attempted to do ahead graphic, that revenue errors should suffer crept into the description.” Many conceive that the French mispronounced the Indian terminology because they were not smooth-spoken in it. Yet, the names for Buffalo do not resemble remotely the vocalise of the tidings Buffalo. The natives differed on the countersign buffalo end-to-end the nations, but none resemble the orthoepy. The Tuscarora marked the English terminus buffalo as: Ne-o-thro-ra, The Cayuga countersign for buffalo was De-o-tro-weh, and the Oneida tidings for buffalo was De-ose-lole. Over-the-counter potential language for buffalo are: “Tick-e-ack-gou-ga”, “De-gi-yah-go”, and Do-syo-wa or Do-sho-weh (Buffalo Club 367).

Fortress Le Beef


It is more probable that it was a French epithet that may bear been carried terminated to English without displacement. When the French ascertained the brook, it was care cypher the explorers had seen ahead. The French were so intrigued by the brook that they dubbed it the French gens: clotheshorse fleuve , import beautiful river, or beef a leau , import kine or cows at the weewee. Thither is dubiety most this possibility because, again, thither is no concrete prove and is based exclusively on guess that the run-in were misinterpreted. Still, many cities that emerged during this metre were named aft forts that were reinforced close-by. It was park drill to do this. Buffalo could deliver fine gotten its diagnose from the French Fortify, Ft. Le Beef as shown on the map indicated to the rectify.

Many researchers fence the French intelligence hypothesis of Buffalo’s discover and gunpoint to William Ketchum’s 1863 “The Distinguish of Buffalo” direct to the Buffalo Diachronic Companionship as certify. In his speech thither is no reference of the French dustup. Those in favour of the French parole possibility advise that because something was not talked roughly in one man’s invoice does not intend that it could not bear happened. William Ketchum does leash into the death possibility discussed roughly how Buffalo Brook standard its epithet.


Buffalo in Buffalo?

This following possibility is rather maybe the almost debated upon. The hypothesis approximately whether the bison had roamed the lands review of Westerly New York. Books and personal accounts, ranging from the pre-recorded story of Westerly New York to eve tod, discourse the issue of whether bison (buffalo) were in fact thither. Old texts with personal responses advise that thither were no Buffalo in the domain.

Publications of the Buffalo Historic Guild (pg. 21) | Germ

Virtually of these personal responses were from the 1820’s and ulterior, which would be good bey the clip of kickoff uncovering of Buffalo Brook. Others rebut these personal responses with prove of bison clappers organism constitute in nearby areas (Buffalo Fortune 43-44). Another take is from Beget Louis Hennipin, who included an evident draftsmanship and description of a bison in a wooded context from his 1698 record “A New Uncovering of a Immense Commonwealth In America”, describing his travels done the arena, during which his company observed nearby Niagara Waterfall (Hennipin 146). Aboriginal American unwritten traditions discuss the bison, yet the domain of where they originated are unreadable. It is told, and can be backed that the buffalo had places where they were seen in the Ohio vale. It would not be unheard of for the buffalo to transmigrate north in look of more nutrient for their graze as the buffalo were not seen to get precise migration patterns.

Multiple Reasons?

Mayhap the Buffalo Brook got its named from all of the combined factors. It may be 98 implausible to cerebrate, but by trend conjunction that the French watchword for ox of the weewee happened to be Beef a Leau . Would it be ludicrous to consider that the French had seen migrating buffalo advent north from the Ohio vale at the metre they were exploring? It would rachis the exact of the Seneca fisherman who resembled the buffalo and would sole reward the French dubbing of Beef a Leau , a intelligence which resembles our orthoepy of Buffalo now. Believing that the combined impression of all of these lot merging to make the distinguish of Buffalo would not be so grueling to think. Thither needn’t be one 1 account for how something got its gens. This could be the topper cause for how Buffalo Brook got its figure.


An Old Frontier of France . N.p.: Bigelow Brothers, 1917. Publish

Bulletin of the Buffalo Order of Raw Sciences . Buffalo: Loyal of Rdneckc Sc Zocb, 1908. Mark

Ingersoll, Ernest. “The Buffalo and His Portion.” The Pop Skill Monthly Summertime 1880: 40-47. Mark.

Ketchum, William. AN Veritable AND Comp Story OF BUFFALO . Vol. I and II. Buffalo: Rockwell, Baker & Mound, Printers, 1864. Mark

Metalworker, H. Perry. Chronicle of Buffalo and Erie County . Vol. I. Syracuse: D. Stonemason and, 1884. Impress.

Questions & Answers

Questions mustiness be on-topic, scripted with right grammar use, and apprehensible to a across-the-board consultation.

© 2013 Drew Overholt


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