How did Lamoka Lake get its name?

Lamoka is a word that you don’t see used much other than for the lake itself, and the prehistoric archaeological culture found along its shores. Does anyone know where its name came from?

On early maps, including the 1829 Atlas of New York and the 1869 New Map of the State of New York, Lamoka is named Mud Lake, and Waneta Lake to the north is called Little Lake. By 1874, in an atlas of Schuyler County, Lamoka Lake appears on the map, although Little Lake is still used for Waneta. In the 1879 book History of Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins and Schuyler Counties, New York, “Lamoka” is used repeatedly, and Little Lake has become “Wanetta.”

1874 Map of Schuyler County.

I’m not surprised they changed the name – there are at least 30 other Mud lakes in New York, and Lamoka has a nice sound to it—but I’d like to know where they got the name from.

If anybody knows, or has any clues, please leave a comment!

2 Replies to “How did Lamoka Lake get its name?”

  1. The April 21, 1880 issue of the Mansfield Advertiser (Mansfield, Pennsylvania) has a brief announcement that states: “Mud Lake in Schuyler county is now called Lamoka. That is the name of an Indian chief that once ruled his tribe along the Susquehanna a few miles below here.”

    The meaning of the name may or may not be true; it’s entirely possible the newspaper editor made that bit up to make this announcement more interesting.

    It is also worth noting that by 1870 there is a locomotive engine named Lamoka operating in Pennsylvania; in 1873 the Lamoka Coal Company was incorporated; and there was by 1880 a Lamoka train station 10 miles from Towanda, PA. There might be some connection between one of these and the lake.

  2. Interesting that “Lamoka” is in both Pennsylvania and New York between 1870-1880, and it may have appeared in Pennsylvania first!

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