Vol. 48 No. 3 (2000)
Research Article

In the Land of Pleasant Living: Names in Virginia's Northern Neck

Published 2000-12-01



Virginia's Northern Neck, also known as the “Land of Pleasant Living,” has many historic places and names dating from the first decade of the 1600s. The earliest names were recorded in 1608 by Captain John Smith from an Algonquian dialect of the local Native Americans. Major watercourses and tracts of land in the Northern Neck still retain forms of these names. After 1652 there was intensive settlement from the Jamestown area of southern Virginia and the British Isles. These English-speaking people bestowed their own familiar names on places, tracts of land, and houses, providing a name cover with a very distinctive British flavor. The history of naming in the Neck, though not unlike other areas of the eastern seaboard, has its own characteristic patina of names’ that reflect the sequence of occupation, economy, and attitudes of people to the land.


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