So, What's In a Name?
Humarock: Yes, that wind really howls (and hums) over the rocks. Yes, before the Pilgrims and Puritans, there were Indians in the area; and they probably had a name for it. Yes, Edward Rowe Snow was a vivid and imaginative writer, but not always with documented facts. All of this is the stuff of myth and folklore. Even an Internet entry on town names derived from Indian words is suspect.
Before the development of modern day Humarock in the late 1800’s, the Scituate town map of 1879 labels the peninsula south of 4th cliff as “SHORE HUMMOCKS”. Record of a shipwreck “Maria” in 1847 is noted as off “HUMMOCK BEACH”. As early as 1732 (and later) the town archives hold an original manually-scripted official town record book that refers to the area variously as: “HUMOCK FLATT”, “HUMMOCK FLATS”, and other such variants.
FROM THE DICTIONARY: “HUMMOCKS” – A small rise of land, or knoll, usually formed by glacier activity, often near a marshy area.
So we have an English word, aptly descriptive of the area. Many locales have the suffix “-rock”. We would not expect to use the difficult phrase HummockRock. Humarock is clearly a contractional variant of the preceding original name Shore Hummocks.
Is this so hard to believe? Consider so many American cities and towns. For example Charleston, S.C.; it was Charles’(s) Town. Consider Boston, Mass., named after Boston, England, a seaport town and a point of debarkation for the Pilgrims/Puritans. Boston, England and its surrounding area was originally “St. Botolph’s Town.” “St. Botolph’s Town” became “Botolphs’ Town, then “Botolph’ston, still quite a mouthful to say, and it evolved/conracted to “Boston”.
Thanks to Scituate Town archivist; Scituate Historical Society; Scituate Town Library; Christina at Humming Rock Gifts (where did that name come from?); and Fred Freitas, Teacher/Historian.
Q.E.D. ………………Sherlock Holmes