Indian Names

Dr. John E. McLaughlin mclasutt at
Tue Apr 10 16:25:03 UTC 2001

My "ancestral" home (remembering that, in America, "ancestral" is only 100
years or so) is in Sulphur Springs, Texas.  The entire surface of the ground
above the river bottoms, which were sandy, was red clay.  Bright brick red
and as slick as a sheet of ice when it was wet.  It's the most distinctive
soil I've ever encountered anywhere, both in color and in general
characteristics.  Perhaps it's not so much an issue of the extent of surface
red clay in Texas, but its truly distinctive visibility and wet properties
that make it memorable.

John E. McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, English
Utah State University

Program Director
USU On-Line Linguistics

(435) 797-2738 (voice)
(435) 797-3797 (FAX)
mclasutt at

-----Original Message-----
From: Indo-European mailing list [mailto:Indo-European at]On Behalf
Of David L. White
Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2001 9:35
To: Indo-European at
Subject: Indian Names

[ moderator snip ]

> OTOH Spanish speakers in Texas generally assume that Texas
> is from Spanish <tejas> "tiles" because of the red soil but locally, it's
> said that it from the name of a local Native American confederacy meaning
> "friends".

        Red soil is not to my knowledge especially common in Texas.  The
only places I have seen it are very locally at Bastrop, where it is probably
related somehow the occurrence of the "lost" pines that grow in it, some
places in East Texas, and up around the Red River (and in Oklahoma).
Otherwise, one may find black soil, brown soil, white soil (often in East
Texas, where it is basically fine sand), more or less permanent mud, no soil
(but plenty of rocks)....

[ moderator snip ]

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