Mokelumne Peak P1K SPS / OGUL / PYNSP / WSC

Fri, Apr 2, 2004

With: Matthew Holliman

Etymology Story Photos / Slideshow Map Profile

Mokelumne Peak (9,334 ft.)

Named by Wheeler Survey in 1878

Also River, Hill, City, Tetons

"The names derive from a Plains Miwok village near the present town of Lockeford in San Joaquin County. It was applied to the river in 1841 by the United States Exploring Expedition under Charles Wilkes. On Wilkes' Map of Upper California ... 1841, the name is spelled Mogneles. The modern spelling was first used by Fremont. (Fremont, Memoir, 16.)

'Mokelumne Peak' may have been named by the Wheeler Survey; it is on atlas sheet 56B, 1876-77. On the 15-minute quad, Mokelumne Tetons is the rugged northwest-southeast ridge just over a mile south of Mokelumne Peak."
- Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada

"According to barrett (Miwok 1908: 340), the name is derived from a Plains Miwok village near Lockeford. The ending -umne means 'people'; the stem may be related to Plains Miwok moke 'fish net', or perhaps Central Sierra Miwok moke 'red paint' or mokolkine 'manzanita berry' (Callaghan). The Indians are called Muquelemnes by Duran on May 23, 1817, and their name appears with similar spelling eslewhere (Arch. Arz. SF 3:2.83-84, 104, etc.). On the Plano topografico de la Mision de San Jose (about 1824) a village of 'heathen Indians,' Muguelemnes, is indicated near the site of the present city of Lodi. The name was applied to the river by the Wilkes party, probably at the suggestion of Sutter: Rio Mokellimos (Eld), Mogneles River (Wilkes map, 1841). The name Sanjon ('ditch') de los Moquelemes was used for a land grant on Jan. 24, 1844, and the name of the river appears in the title of several other grants. The present spelling, Mokelumne River, was used by Fremont (Geog. memoir, p. 16). Mokelumne Hill, first called Big Bar, then known as Mok Hill or The Hill, developed as a mining camp in 1848 an became one of the important centers of the southern mines. The post office was established on July 10, 1851. Mokelumne City became deserted after the Central Pacific Railroad built a station about 10 miles southeast, which it called Mokelumne until 1874, when the name was changed to Lodi."
- Erwin G. Gudde, California Place Names

On Charles Wilkes:

"Born on April 3rd, 1798, in New York City, he went on to be a U.S. Naval officer and explorer. From 1838 to 1842 he led a government expedition to Antarctica, exploring a region that now bears his name. In addition to writing a Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, he edited the scientific reports of the expedition and contributed the volumes on meteorology and hydrography himself.

As commander of the U.S.S. San Jacinto during the Civil War, he sparked the heated Trent Affair, by seizing the British Mail Vessle, the Trent, and taking into custody the two Confederate officials aboard. Later in the war he angered foreign governments in the West Indies over violations of neutrality and was court-martialed and suspended from duty in 1864. He was commissioned a rear admiral, and retired in 1866."
- Thinkquest

Wilkes' Map of Upper California


More of Bob's Trip Reports

For more information see these SummitPost pages: Mokelumne Peak

This page last updated: Sat Apr 7 17:02:15 2007
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