New Hampshire Glossary: Coos (Please Don’t Say Cooz)

Coös County, New Hampshire– (pronounced “CO-ahss” with two syllables)… is a county in New Hampshire, established December 24, 1803. It was taken from Grafton County, one of the five original counties of the State. is the only place name in the US that is officially spelled with a printer’s diacritical mark.  Due to the limitations of typewriters and some early keyboards that lacked the ability to create this mark, many spell Coos without.

At the time of establishment, it contained the original towns of Dalton, Whitefield, Bretton Woods, Bartlett, Adams, Chatham, Shelburne Addition, Durand, Kilkenny, Jefferson, Lancaster, Millsfield, Northumberland, Stratford, Wales’ Gore, Cockburne, Colebrook, Stewartstown, Piercy, Paulsburg, Mainsborough, Dummer, Errol, Cambridge and Success. It had a population of about 3,000 in 1803.

The name “Coos” is derived from the Abenaki dialect–the word “Cohos,” or “Coo-ash” signifying ‘pines.” The tribe occupying this region was known as the ‘Coo-ash-aukes,’ or ‘dwellers in the pine tree country.”

No one famous ever came from Coos County.  [Just kidding!! I wanted to check if you were awake.  If you know of someone famous from Coos, please let me know].

Just a few examples of illustrious people from Coos County, New Hampshire:
1. Indian Stream Republic NH Native and Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin: Charles D. Parker (1827-1925)
2. New Hampshire’s Record-Breaking State Representative and “Grand Dame”: Hilda C.F. (Johnson) Brungot (1886-1982) [born in Berlin NH]
3. Jefferson New Hampshire Inventor & Aeronaut, Prof. Thaddeus S.C. Lowe (1832-1913)

Find more in the “History of Coos County, New Hampshire” (1888) and “Historical sketches of the discovery, settlement, and progress of events in the Coos country and vicinity (1841)


P.S. See my “New Hampshire Glossary” and my “Coos County NH” web pages.
Updated 27 April 2021.  See comments to this post.

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3 Responses to New Hampshire Glossary: Coos (Please Don’t Say Cooz)

  1. John L says:

    Not to be confused with Coos County, Oregon. Also a native name, after the Coos tribe, but pronounced with a hard c and a soft s.

  2. Alberto Enriquez says:

    Why not honor this county with its diacritical mark? Coös! It is only one of two counties in America to have a diacritical mark. The other is Doña Ana County, New Mexico. Coos County, Oregon is just one syllable.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Alberto. It is true, Coös County, New Hampshire, is the only place in the United States that is officially spelled with a diacritical mark. However, this original story was written in 2006 and at that time my keyboard lacked the ability to create the mark here. And also since American typewriters had no key for the two dots over the O, it is now usually spelled without them.

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