Town Names, Roads Remind Us of Native Americans
Byline: Diana Dretske
With Thanksgiving approaching, we are often reminded of our nation's early history with images of Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered for a harvest feast.
In Lake County, it is difficult to imagine a time when Native Americans called this area home.
Though they signed over their last remaining Illinois lands to the U.S. government in the Treaty of Chicago in 1833, we still have daily reminders of their heritage in at least eight area place names.
The Fox River on the west side of the county was originally called Pistakee, the Algonquin word for buffalo, and more recently named for the Fox Indian tribe. The tribe perished at Maramech Hill in Kendall County when assaulted by a superior force of French and Indians in 1730.
Nippersink Lake, located in Grant Township, north of Grand Avenue, is probably of Potawatomi origin and signifies "at the little water or lake."
The name that sounds the least Native American and causes the most confusion is Half Day. As discussed in a previous article, Half Day is named for the Native American chief Aptakisic, whose name may be translated as "half day" or "sun at meridian."
Though area residents believe the name merely refers to the distance from Chicago, the name actually honors Aptakisic, whose tribe lived near Half Day from about 1830 to 1834.
The village of Indian Creek was named for the creek of the same name, which runs through Half Day. …