no pone valley
Posted: 18 February 2007 03:47 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I live in the ridge and valley region of east Tennessee USA. English speaking settlers began to pour into this area in the 1830"s. There is a ridge running north/south called No Pone ridge, with a valley running beside it with the same name...No Pone valley.
This is in McMinn County, where I live. This ridge and valley system stops at the Hiwassee river. Oddly enough, across the river, in another county, there is what seems to be a continuation of the same ridge/valley system, and the valley is also called No Pone valley. 

I would like to know the meaning of the word “pone”. I have searched on line dictionaries, and all I come up with is “a southern term for cornbread, from an American Indian word”. My daughter found some reference to a legal term from England.

I did find a latin word, pons, which means “bridge”. I thought, well, maybe this is where the valley name originated, and settlers moving up and down the valley would know that there was no way to cross the river here. That is just pure speculation on my part. The spelling and pronounciation of words change over the centuries. There are many people in this area with the last name Baugh, which was changed from the original Bach.

So, if someone could could help me out here, I would greatly appreciate it.

I love the English language, and am so pleased I found this site.

[ Edited: 18 February 2007 03:49 AM by Paula Sue ]
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Posted: 18 February 2007 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Place names are tricky; very specialized research is usually required to determine their origin with any certainty as their possible inspirations are myriad. If there is a local historical society in your area, that may be the best place to look for information.

No Pone ridge and valley are recorded by USGS, but no origin information is given in their database. But there is also a Half Pone Hollow and Half Pone Branch in Houston County and a Half Pone Creek in Cheatham County. (Reference: http://geonames.usgs.gov/redirect.html)

Both the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English and DARE record a regional meaning of pone to mean a lump or swelling on the body. My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that is the origin and the names are a reference to hills, or in the case of No Pone, the absence of hills.

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Posted: 18 February 2007 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks Dave. I have heard that body fat on the human torso, sometimes refered to as “love handles”, called pones. I had never heard of the swelling and lumps definition.
That Smokey Mountain dictionary sounds like an interesting reference to have. I’m afraid the “half pone” names have added to the mystery. Thanks so much. I will check out the historical society. I know there is one in this area. Something that started out as a curiosity has turned into a mission.

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Posted: 18 February 2007 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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FWIW, my Tennessee born mother used to make something she called “Indian pone”. It was eggless cornbread that is shaped into small ovals and fried or baked, similar, I believe, to hush puppies. As you meantioned, it’s possible that your “no pone” comes from the Native American meaning.  From “A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe”; Pone: Powhatan apoan (c.f. Ojibwe abwaan), “roast something”. 
Also, “corn pone” was used by my uncles to refer to a hick or red neck.

[ Edited: 18 February 2007 03:27 PM by brightlady ]
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Posted: 18 February 2007 11:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I listened to the sermons from the open window of a lumber room at the back of the house. One of his texts was this:

“You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I’ll tell you what his ‘pinions is.”

I can never forget it. It was deeply impressed upon me. By my mother. Not upon my memory, but elsewhere. She had slipped in upon me while I was absorbed and not watching. The black philosopher’s idea was that a man is not independent, and cannot afford views which might interfere with his bread and butter.

Apparently Mark Twain: Corn-Pone Opinions

Etymologically, corn pone derives from the root word pone, which the OED tells us is “the bread of the North American Indians, made of maize flour in thin cakes, and cooked in hot ashes.” Ultimately, pone is sourced from the Algonquian apan, meaning “something baked.” ....
What is also intriguing to me is that, once again according to the OED, the first published instance of the derogatory usage of cornpone was in the April 4, 1919 issue of Variety Magazine. The quote reads thus:

His dog-gone corn pone town back home.

Link

Maybe someone will confirm these citations.

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Posted: 19 February 2007 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The Twain quote is in the Yale Book of Quotations, so unlike many alleged Twain quotes this one is real. (I wouldn’t doubt Paul Graham.)

The Variety quote is indeed in the OED3 and the etymology given comports to that in the OED.

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Posted: 13 March 2007 07:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Hello Paula Sue.  Having grown up on a farm in No Pone Valley (Meigs County) I can give you my grandparent’s explanation of the origin of the name...Seems that during the War of Northern Aggression (know by some as the Civil War) General Sherman used this valley as the route for his army’s march to Chattanooga.  Being an expert in economic warfare, General Sherman instructed his men to take what they needed and burn the rest.  It was reported that after the army had gone there wasn’t enough corn meal in the valley to make a pone of bread...No Pone Valley.

[ Edited: 13 March 2007 07:20 PM by Rocky Top ]
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Posted: 21 March 2007 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Well, stone the crows! I always thought pone was a purely American word. Now I find it is (or was) a British legal term (now historic) and it is ‘A writ by which a suit is removed from the county court to the Court of Common Pleas or the Eyre’

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