Is there a place in Massachusetts (1823) abbreviated as "Squam."?

+7 votes

I have a death register entry (admittedly a transcript, but...)  from 1823 in Essex, Essex County, Massachusetts, which reads:

 Story, John ["in his sleep and without even waking his companion," at Squam. CR], Apr. 10, 1823, a. 36 y. 5 m. 

I googled "Squam." and came up empty, except for Squam Lake in New Hampshire. John was a caulker, so I suppose he might have business at a lake, but that wouldn't be an abbreviation and the transcript indicates the word is abbreviated.  I was thinking this might be an abbreviation of an old, obsolete name for a Massachusetts town (or part of a town).

Does anyone have any ideas?

WikiTree profile: John Story
asked in The Tree House by Susan Anderson G2G6 Mach 1 (16.5k points)
My guess is consistent with yours -- abbreviation for an old name for a place. The only place name I can think of at the moment that includes the  syllable "Squam" is Misquamicut in Rhode Island, but I'm rather sure there are others.

Have you looked in histories and historical gazetteers of Essex County?
Thank you, Ellen. I had looked, but perhaps not in the right ones or using the right search criterion. I'll look again.

2 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer

Squam is a native word that usually refers to bodies of water.  The literal translation is "broken water".  With regard to Essex, Essex County, Massachusetts during that time period, it can refer generally to the northeast part of the town, a river/channel between Gloucester Harbor and Annisquam Harbor (technically in Gloucester) and it also likely refers to the area near Annisquam Harbor which is an inlet off Ipswich Bay.

This History of Essex County, explains it (not very well) in more detail.,%20Essex,%20Massachusetts&f=false

Here is some more information about Squam River.

Someone more familiar with current North Shore geography can probably help you pinpoint it more. 

answered by JT Strong G2G6 Mach 6 (60.5k points)
selected by Susan Anderson
Thank you very much for the specific references (saving me huge amounts of aggravation) and, especially, for your clear translation of the geography involved.  It can be daunting, trying to visualize how places fit together in reality when you've never seen them in person, even with maps.
+6 votes

It's an abbreviation for Annisquam, a village. 


Squam | Definition of Squam by Merriam-Webster


Define squam: sou'wester — squam in a sentence. ... from Squam, short for Annisquam, village in northeastern Massachusetts, where it was originally worn by ...

answered by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
Thank you, Frank.  I hadn't thought about using a dictionary, other than a dictionary of place names (mine didn't help on this).  That's a very good thing to keep in mind for the future, too.
It was a Google search that resulted in a Dictionary definition.
I saw the dictionary definition when I googled, but I didn't pursue it because it looked like a definition of "squamous," which I didn't want. Lesson learned.

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