“Rambler Finds a Story on Origin of Good Hope” [Evening Star, June 29, 1924]

Good Hope Road SE“The road leads to Good Hope, but before answering its call let me sit in the shade of a pine tree and tell you a story about an old friend of mine. His name is Herman Davis – Herman W. Davis is the full name. I think that everybody in Southeast Washington knows Herman. He has lived there long enough to get acquainted. He was born there seventy-nine years ago and he has stuck pretty close to the land of his birth. There are many interesting things about Herman, and one of them is that he has a good story about the origin of the name “Good Hope.” Herman’s father, Addison L. Davis, was born at Fredericksburg in 1814 and was married there to Miss Anne Dorothy Farrish, a beautiful girl of that ancient city and of a family whose family bore a brave part in the American revolution.

Addison Davis was graduated by the University of Virginia and was skillful in the arts or construing Latin and speaking French. He has, as Herman told me, learned something of the language of the Indians of this region. He came to Washington in 1840. And here we will let Herman take his place on this page in quote marks: “When I was quite a small boy my father took me walking to Good Hope, and on the Ridge road we came to a place where the woods had been cut away and where we got a fine view of the Eastern Branch. My father stopped and told me that the chief of the Anacostia Indians had stood there many years before and said in the Anacostia language: ‘Hope! Hope! Good Hope! This is Good Hope!’ He used the words the Indian has used, but if I ever knew them I have forgotten them.”

It is an interesting story. That savage did not not, of course say “Good Hope” in the way we say it. He did not even say “spe anomoque impletus,” nor even “bonne esperance,” but what he said sounded like “Ojibewaxon.” The Indian stood there, pointed to the shining, shimmering Eastern Branch, then raised his arms as though he would [shake] hands with heaven and said “Ojibewaxon.” Perhaps it was classic Anacostian for “Good Hope.”

SOURCE:

Evening Star, “Rambler Finds a Story on Origin of Good Hope.” June 29, 1924, pg. 77

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  1. #1 by Dani Elle Thomas on June 27, 2014 - 7:08 pm

    Intriguing.

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