Term: Oconto [origin of place name]
Definition: As is often the case, conflicting explanations have been given. 1) Oconto takes its name from its chief river. The significance of this word is variously given as "red ground" or "the place of the pickerel" or the Menominee word for "black bass." The latter would seem to be correct, since upon many of the early maps (1820-50) the stream is noted as Black Bass River. 2) From Chippewa word uh-cun-do-win, meaning "a watching outpost" (against hostile forces). "It seems that when Green Bay was a trading center all tribes resorted to the locality including tribes hostile to each other. At the Oconto river the Chippewa kept a small settlement to keep their people informed of the movements of enemy Indians." Oconto, in Chippewa, is "Okando" (he watches, lies in ambush, lurks).
[Source: 1) Gannett, "Place Names", p. 194; Legler, "Wisconsin Place Names"; Milwaukee Journal, Nov. 16th, 1926. 2) Rev. E.P. Wheeler in a letter addressed to Charles E. Brown; card file at the Wisconsin Historical Library reference desk.]