Sangamon among place names of American Indian origin

Muscooten Bay. This mostly vanished bay at Beardstown is named for the Muscooten (sometimes spelled “Mascouten”) tribe. Tradition holds that Robert Cavalier sieur de La Salle named the bay because he found an encampment of Muscooten at the site. Furthermore, it is said there was once a great battle between the Muscooten and the Miami tribes on the shore of the bay.

The origin of the Muscooten name remains unclear. Father Jacques Marquette referred to the “Maskoutens” as the “fire nation.” Father Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix disagreed, contending the name meant “open country.” Whether the Muscootens were a distinct tribe also is in doubt. Some believe the tribe originated in Wisconsin, migrated to Central Illinois and was eventually absorbed into the Kickapoo, Fox and Sauk nations. Others argue that it was a generic term.

Pawnee. Though Hollywood films have linked the Pawnee Indians with the West, the tribe once roamed Illinois. The Sangamon County community and township are named for the Pawnee tribe. &nbsp;&nbsp;<ahref=""><spanstyl... 13px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">To view more, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.</span></a></p>