Runs, Creeks, Brooks, Cricks, and Other Streams

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, August 14, 1914:  We are getting ready for the reunion. Ruthie made two cakes today. Was busy washing Daddy’s wagon down along the run this afternoon.

Warrior Run Creek near the Muffly farm
Warrior Run Creek
Source: Farm Implement Magazine (Novermber, 1913)
Source: Farm Implement Magazine (Novermber, 1913)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I wonder why the wagon needed to be washed. Warrior Run (sometimes called Warrior Run Creek) flowed along the edge of the Muffly farm. In central Pennsylvania small creeks are often called runs—though my sense is that the term is not used in many parts of the US.

In a previous post I mentioned Warrior Run, and Jim in IA commented on the regional variation in terminology used to describe creeks and other geological features. He provided a link to several very interesting Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) maps that show which parts of the US use various terms—brook/creek/branch/run, gulch/hollow, gap/pass/notch/saddle, etc.

Geographic Terminology Maps

22 thoughts on “Runs, Creeks, Brooks, Cricks, and Other Streams

  1. Did I miss an entry about a reunion? Perhaps Grandma’s dad’s wagon was going to be used to transport some folks, and the family wanted it all spiffied up?

    1. Yes, they are preparing to go to a reunion. I think that they went by train–but it does make sense that they may have wanted a clean wagon to go to the reunion. . . It’s similar to how we wash our cars before special events.

  2. I’ve heard about the Battle of Bull Run, of course, but I never thought much about the name. I guess I imagined a bunch of bulls, running. I don’t remember ever knowing that “run” could refer to a waterway. The maps are interesting. I’m in the middle of ponds, bayous, and canals, and i live at the edges of Clear Lake, which isn’t clear and isn’t much of a lake. ;)

    1. I tend to think of runs as being smaller than creeks–and it sounds like whomever named these waterways also thought that runs were smaller than creeks.

    1. In Wyoming County is the river generally referred to as the North Branch or the Susquehanna River? In Northumberland County people often refer to the West Branch and the North Branch since the two branches come together in the county.

  3. After leaving central PA, I had to drop a few PA Dutch works from my vocabulary, including crick and redd. As if turns out, they are words from middle English (the people who taught the Germans English) and now I can proudly say them again.

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