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Place Names of the High Sierra (1926)
by Francis P. Farquhar

[ A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, & Z. ]


VANDEVER, MOUNT (11,800)[Kaweah]
General William Vandever (1817-1893); member of Congress from sixth district of California, 1887-1891; introduced bills establishing Yosemite, Sequoia, and General Grant national parks, enacted September 25, 1890, and October 1, 1890, (Mount Whitney Club Journal, 1902, no. 1, p. 35); member of Congress from Iowa, 1859-1861; brigadier-general, 1862, and brevet major-general, 1865; Indian inspector, 1873-1877; settled in Ventura, California, 1884. Name proposed in Visalia Delta of September 4, 1890.

Named by Theodore S. Solomons and Leigh Bierce, September, 1894. (S.C.B., 1895, II:6, p. 227.)

“The middle or main branch [of the Merced] was designated by the Yosemites —from the fork of the Glacial branch [Illilouette Creek] up to the Vernal Fall —as Yan-o-pah, because they were compelled to pass through the spray of the Vernal, to them a ‘little cloud,’ while passing up this cañon. . . . I suggested Vernal, as an English name for Yan-o-pah. [May, 1851] . . . The cool, moist air, and newly-springing Kentucky blue-grass at the Vernal, with the sun shining through the spray as in an April shower, suggested the sensation of spring before the name of Vernal occurred to me.” (Bunnell: Discovery of the Yosemite, 1880, pp. 204-205.)

“While gazing at its beauties, let us, now and forever, earnestly protest against the perpetuation of any other nomenclature to this wonder than ‘Pi-wy-ack,’ the name which is given to it by the Indians, which means ‘a shower of sparkling crystals,’ while ‘Vernal’ could, with much more appropriateness, be bestowed upon the name-giver, as the fall itself is one vast sheet of sparkling brightness and snowy whiteness, in which there is not the slightest approximation, even in the tint, to any thing ‘vernal’.” (Hutchings: Scenes of Wonder and Curiosity in California, 1860, p. 113.)

“Pai-wai'ak (white water?), Vernal Fall. The common word for ‘water’ is kik'kuh, but a-wai'a means ‘a lake’ or body of water, in two languages.” (Powers: Tribes of California, in Contributions to North American Ethnology, III, 1877, p. 364.)

“Mr. Hutchings, in criticising the name Vernal, has misstated the Indian name for this fall, furnished him by myself. . . . The name given by the Yosemites to the Ten-ie-ya branch of the Merced was unmistakably Py-we-ack. This name has been transferred from its original locality by some romantic preserver of Indian names. While passing over to Yan-o-pah, it was provided with an entirely new signification. It is indeed a laughable idea for me to even suppose a worm- and acorn-eating Indian would ever attempt to construct a name to mean ‘a shower of sparkling crystals’.” (Bunnell: Discovery of the Yosemite, 1880, p. 207.)

VIDETTE, EAST (12,742), WEST (12,229)[Mount Whitney]
“Two of these promontories, standing guard, as it were, the one at the entrance to the valley and the other just within it, form a striking pair, and we named them the Videttes.” (C. B. Bradley, in S.C.B., 1889, II:5, p. 272.)

VOGELSANG PEAK (11,511), LAKE, PASS[Mount Lyell]
Named by H. C. Denson for Alexander Theodore Vogelsang, president of the California State Board of Fish and Game Commissioners, 1896-1901; First Assistant Secretary of the Interior, 1916-1921. (H. C. Benson.)

VOLCANIC KNOB (11,153)[Mount Goddard]
Named by Theodore S. Solomons in 1894. (T. S. Solomons.)

“The third day we camped on Whitney Creek, upon which we tried unsuccessfully to impress the name ‘Volcano Creek,’ as that stream does not rise in the vicinity of Mt. Whitney. We lay over a day at this point to explore the craters of two extinct volcanoes and to feast on rainbow trout.” (W. B. Wallace, in Mount Whitney Club Journal, 1902, no. 1, p. 2.) Lieutenant Henry B. Clark, U.S.A., also derived the name from the craters and used it on his map in 1899. (S.C.B., 1904, V:1, pp. 79-80.) On current U.S.G.S. maps the creek is called Golden Trout Creek, but the falls are indicated as Volcano Falls.

(See Golden Trout Creek.)

VOLUNTEER PEAK (10,503)[Bridgeport]
(See Regulation Peak.)

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