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Bulloch History: Area Rivers take on mostly Native American names
Bulloch History: Area rivers

Note: The following is part of a series of columns looking at points of interest throughout the history of Bulloch County.

Black Creek

Black Creek was first called “Wiliastihachi” and then “Weelustie” by the Muskogean (or Creek) indians. These names meant “Water Black Stream” and “Black Water.” The two branches of this creek became known to the settlers in the post-Revolutionary War era as First and Second Black Creeks, but by the early 1800s they began to be referred to as Upper and Lower Black Creek.

Canoochee River

This river was called either “ika-no’dshi” (meaning 'graves are there') or “ikana-ochee” (meaning 'little ground') by the Creek indians. Its name has been spelled many ways, including Canouchie, Conoche, Conooche, Connochee, Canouchee, Coonoche and Coonoochie. The Canoochee River flows parallel to the Ogeechee for most of its 85 miles, merging into the Ogeechee River about 35 miles above where the Ogeechee meets the Atlantic Ocean.


Mill Creek

Originally known as Belchers Creek or Belchers Mill Creek, the name Belcher's was dropped and the creek became known as simply Mill Creek. It is located just inside the eastern border of Bulloch County.

Nevils Creek

This stream is located along the eastern border of the Bulloch County border. Records indicate it was originally named Bonnell Creek after settler David Bonnell who was granted the surrounding land in 1784, but was renamed later in honor of early Bulloch County settler John Nevils.

Ogeechee River

The name “Ogeechee” came from the Muskogean term for the Yuchi (or Uchean) indians of the Lower Creek Confederacy. The Muskogean indians actually called them “Hughchee” or “Hogeechee” tribe. The Yuchis called the white men invading their territory “e-cun-naux-nux-ulgee,” or “people greedily grasping after the lands of the Redman.” On July 15, 1742, British explorer Joseph Avery wrote the Board of Trustees for the Colony of Georgia that he had discovered the “Great Ogeechee” river. He recommended building “a Dock Yard and Settlements upon the said river” for the benefit of the British nation. In addition to the Great Ogeechee River, there are actually two Little Ogeechee Rivers and an Ogeechee Creek in the same area. The Ogeechee River flows some 230 miles from near Crawfordsville to some 16 miles south of Savannah.

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at

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