The toponym "Hockamick"

Folks:

Gurbanik contacted me via PM about three weeks ago and inquired about the place name Hockamick. I have been too busy to answer him until now. I told him over this past weekend that I would respond to the whole forum as I think there may be others with an interest. For those who do not know it, Hockamick stands near New Egypt on the Ocean County-Burlington County border. While this is not a toponym that I have investigated personally in primary sources, I did read all of the standard place name sources and I provide what they have to say below:

Vivian Zinkin, writing on her 1976 work, Place Names of Ocean County : 1609-1849, writes that Hockamick is "Possibly an Indian name, originally marking an Indian vill[age]. See Hauche Miche; see also Holakamica.
At one time the site of a sawmill; loc[ated] on the W boundary of Plumsted T[ownshi]p. Two current stories offer explanations of the name. (1) A peddler named Mick, because he hawked his wares, was called Hawker Mick, the Hawking Mick, and finally Hockamick, the last epithet becoming the name of the community which grew up around the sawmill loc[ated] in this place. (2) A man by the name of Mick, well known among the people and identified by his constant and raucous cough or hawk, eventually became known as hawking or hocking Mick, and the town took the name of Hockamick from him." (p. 90)

Zinkin cites Beck's Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey (1961 edition, p. 255-256) as the source of the two "Mick" stories. She also cites a 1913 copy of an 1839 survey of Marl Valley then in the possession of Elizabeth Morgan but since she died last year, the survey should be at the Ocean County Historical Society.

Zinkin also lists Holakamica in her work (p. 91) and indicates a use of this variation in Vol. 23, p. 434 of the New Jersey Archives series, the first volume of wills. In this book is the will of Christopher Snoden or Snowden, who directs that all of his real estate be sold, "including land in N.J. and 200 acres at Holakamica, bought from the Indians."

Finally, Zinkin's book contains yet another variant, Hauche Miche, which she describes as "Presumably an Indian name. It is believed that this was a vill[age] of the Matawan Indians and loc[ated] on the site of present New Egypt. …An early form of Hockamick."

Zinkin cites William S. Hornor's This Old Monmouth of Ours (1932, p. 190) as the source of information on Mauche Miche.

Donald William Becker's Indian Place Names in New Jersey (1964) contains the following information on Hockamick:

"Hockamick is situated two miles south of New Egypt in Burlington County.

Sources:
A. New Jersey : A Guide to Its Present and Past contains the following story:
Left from the center of New Egypt on a graveled road is Hockamick …the remains of a
lumbering village dating back to 1750. The name comes from a peddler named "Mick,"
widely known in the Pines as Hawker Mick, who lived here.

B. To the knowledge of the writer, Hockamick has not been designated as a word of Indian origin. However, there are elements of the word which seem to suggest an Indian ancestry. Two citations are included below which deal with words of a similar sound.

C. Above Penobscot, Maine, near Oldtown, is HOCKAMOCK Island, meaning "highland." The interpretation comes from a reference in American Indian Place and Proper Names in New England by Douglas-Lithgow. The name, Hockamock, in this case might originate in the language of the Abnaki (Maine Indian tribe) or Micmac (Indian tribe of Nova Scotia). In either event, the name would be of Algonquin stock.

D. The Brinton-Anthony Dictionary lists the word WIFHAKAMIK, meaning "end of the world."

Variations: Hockamic, Hocking, Mick."

Finally, Henry Bisbee's book, Sign Posts : Place Names in History of Burlington County, N.J. contains the following entry:

"Hockamic (New Hanover Township). Site of hamlet in northeastern part of township on mill pond which is part of Crosswicks Creek. Jumping Brook and South Run, called Hockamic Mill Stream in 1849, flow into the pond. The site is now within Fort Dix. The place did not receive the name Hockamic until around 1830-1840 when the Hockamic Mill was established.
A sawmill was located at this site prior to 1784 when the road returns mention Shreve & Co. sawmill. In 1806 a road was laid out from Cooks Mill to Joshua Shreve's Grist Mill. This Joshua died in 1819. Who took over the operation and anmed the place Hockamic Mill is unknown.
All authorities agree that Hockamic is the name of an Indian village which appears to have been in Ocean County but may have straddled the East-West Jersey Line.
George Sykes writes in his Note Book of 1872, "That the place now called Hockamic was an Indian settlement of considerable importance. It was a regular stopping place for the Indians on their pilgrimage to the seashore. They came in large numbers and usually did some hunting and fishing in the neighborhood."
Origin of the name. Zinkin in her excellent work, Place Names in Ocean County, suggests that the seventeenth century form for the name was Hauche Miche, that the eighteenth century was Holakamica, the last was Hockamic.
In 1758 a meeting between the Commissioners and the Indians was held at Crosswicks for the purpose of settling all land claims that the natives felt had not been previously purchased. One such claim was for a tract near the Province Line in what is now New Hanover Township. The description of this tract claimed by the Indians reads "from John Eastel's to Hockanetcunk on Crosswicks." As this is at the same location as present-day Hockamic, is it not possible that Hockamic is an English variation of teh Indian word Hockanetcunk?"

I think if you extract the important information from Zinkin and Bisbee, along with the sources the cite, you will probably come up with a credible origin of the toponym Hockamick. Obviously, the "Mick" stories are a weak explanation for the name, especially since Zinkin cites a will from 1711 that contains the name. I think Bisbee discussion of the 1758 Indian deed is important and provides confirmation of the place name. All of these sources point you in the proper direction for digging deeper into the origin of this place name.

Geoff--I hope I have at least begun to answer your question and provided you with a spring board for further research.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

gurbanik

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Mar 1, 2007
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Awesome job!

Thanks for that history Jerseyman! That's along the lines of what I have been looking for. I work in Cookstown as the New Hanover Twp Clerk/Administrator and have access to limited historical data on the town, as much was transferred to the State Archives during WWII. Some of what I do have mentions "Hauche Miche" and I was curious as to how the name evolved. There are other spellings as well likely due to illiterate landowners communicating the name to those who prepared the deeds. Unfortunately my records do not go back earlier than 1911 or so, and even those are sparse.

So, even the townsfolk take either side - Beck's explanation as the ultimate written word, or refer to oral traditions that Hockamick was native tribe that lived in the area, near a local spring and had a burial ground at the site of the Horner cemetery on the present-day Hlubik farm. So without more historical data it is difficult to determine the truth behind the name.

At any rate I don't have much to add to your superb research however, likely the sawmill from Cook's Mill was on present day Bunting Bridge Road as it is referenced in deeds as "Sawmill Road" prior to 1950 or so, although Hockamick Road has also been called various names in the past that some residents may remember, but that I'm not aware of. Based on some of the online maps that I've seen and the parcel maps of the town I'm fairly certain that Hockamick Road didn't exist prior to 1840 simply because the farm parcel boundaries on Bunting Bridge Road evolved around the road, while Hockamick Road has bifurcated many parcels that run parallel to each other - making me think that the lands were subdivided prior to the road existing. I'd love to get a parcel map prior to 1930, if they exist, to see what the farms looked like before Ft. Dix came along.

At any rate, you've made my day, thank you!
Geoff
 

Teegate

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Hockamick is mentioned in quite a few area's in the Cox survey of Hanover Furnace. I will dig that out and post it when I get a minute.


Guy