would be a good time to select an appropriate name and fix it forever on that beautiful sheet of water.
The suggestion met with favor, and several names were proposed—Washington, Lincoln, then war President, Fremont, an early explorer, and other historic names. I asked Dr. DeGroot if he knew what the native Indians called the Lake.
He drew a memorandum from his pocket and read over a list of Indian names local to that region, and exclaimed: “Here it is; they call it ‘Tahoe,’ meaning ‘big water,’ or ‘high water,’ or ‘water in a high place.’ The word rhymes with Washoe.”
I did not quite like the name at first mention, but its significance was so striking that I asked if they—Hittell and DeGroot—would favor its adoption and back it up with the support of their newspapers, and they agreed to do so.
They advocated the adoption of the new name in their respective journals, the country papers almost unanimously fell into line, I inserted it on the map which bore my name—William Henry Knight—as compiler, and which was published by the Bancroft house in 1862.
I immediately wrote to the Land Office at Washington, reported what I had done, and the sentiment that prevailed in California, and requested the Federal official to substitute the name of Tahoe for Bigler on the next annual map to be issued by his office, and in all the printed matter of the Department of the Interior thereafter. This was done.
But a curious thing happened. Nevada was under a territorial government appointed by the Democratic administration of President Buchanan. The Territorial Legislature was in session when the subject was agitated by the California newspapers. A young statesman of that body, thirsting for fame, rose to his feet and in vociferous tones and with frenzied gestures, denounced this high-handed action of California in changing the name of that Lake without consulting the sister commonwealth of Nevada, as, according to the map, half of that noble sheet of water was in Nevada, and such action would require joint jurisdiction. But his impassioned words were wasted on the desert air of the Sagebrush State. He could not muster enough votes to enact his indignation into a law, and the calm surface of Lake Tahoe was unruffled by the tempestuous commotion raging in legislative halls at Carson City.
It was thus that the beautiful, euphonious, and significant name of “Tahoe” was first placed on my own map, and subsequently appeared on all other maps of the State, because it was universally accepted as a fitting substitute for the former name of “Bigler.” A traveled writer refers to the Lake and the name selected in these terms:
“Thus it was that we went to Lake Tahoe, the beautiful ’Big Water’ of the Washoe Indians—Tahoe with the indigo shade of its waters emphasized by its snow-capped