The following is an e-mail exchange between several interested individuals
discussing the origin of the word "Islay."
Note that e-mail addresses are camouflaged by adding spaces to trick search spam robots.
Bill Hilton also wrote the following, and I've also appended the e-mail that started it all.
>From what I understand, Islay came from the Salinan work "slay"
>referring to the choke cherry. Some of the plant docents know more about what a choke cherry is. I read somewhere that the Indians liked to collect and grind the pits. A favorite source of sweetness.
Don't know why the creek as named after the choke cherry, must have been a good source.
The Pecho (breast) may refer to a rock off the coast from Pecho creek that is
breast shaped and is named Pecho Rock, I like to joke that the coastline from
the sand spit to Avila Bay looks like a breast on a map, with Buchon Point as
the nipple. The Rancho Pecho et Islay was bordered on the south by Pecho Creek
and on the north by Islay Creek.
From: mike [@} mikebaird.com [mike@[remove]mikebaird.com]
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2003 5:56 PM
To: Rcfsfowles @ aol.com
Cc: Mike Baird (mikebaird.com); Bill Hilton
Subject: RE: Islay Hill Faith, "Islay" is a common version of the Latin name for the "Spanish Cherry" plum tree, Mike baird why is Islay Hill (Creek, Canyon, Street, etc.) named Islay?
Faith, oh, how neat to hear from someone in Scotland!
Your question is interesting.
suggests that "Islay" is a common version of the Latin name for the "Spanish Cherry" plum tree that according to this page exists in our area - though I have never heard of one.
I had always assumed that Islay was a family name, but in looking, I don't
see any instances of the family name Islay in California from google.com using
"rphonebook: islay ca"
(This would list all residents in California with the last name Islay) If you
try "rphonebook: fowles ca" you will see a couple of pages of names for example.
I have part of an 1897 Topo map
that shows the original "Canada de los Osos" and
"Pecho Y Islay" Mexican Land Grants
near Morro Bay, CA, USA.
"Pecho Y Islay"
Pecho translates into Breasts in English, and I have heard that the topography of the land (hills) in Montana de Oro suggests human breasts (much like those shown at http://www.islay.com/Neils/default.htm)
,so if the name denotes physical features, maybe Islay in fact comes from the tree.
If I hear more (I'll ask around), I'll let you know.
Bill Hilton billhilton @ yahoo.co http://bhilton.com is our local history expert, maybe he can add to this discussion.
Regards, Mike Baird
Mike Baird mike [@} mikebaird.com http://mikebaird.com http://morro-bay.com Morro Bay, CA
From: Rcfsfowles @ aol.com [mailto:Rcfsfowles @ aol.com]
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2003 2:46 PM
To: mikebaird @ morro-bay.com
Subject: Islay Hill
Dear Mike Baird:
I have been searching the websites to no avail. Perhaps you can answer the
question: why is Islay Hill (Creek, Canyon, Street, etc.) named Islay? The most I can find is a discontinued webpage that suggests that some rich man's daughter was named Islay (a very common name in our neck of the woods).
Hoping to hear from you soon,
Faith S. Fowles
Isle of Islay
Mike Baird mike [@} mikebaird.com
From: joycecory [mailto:joycecory @ mymailstation.com]
Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2003 2:33 PM
To: mike [@} mikebaird.com
I looked in the "Handbook of the Indians of California by A.L. Kroeber, pubished in 1925, an could find no reference to the Islay cherry or the word "Islay." The common name for the plant is holly-leaved cherry, (Prunus ilicifolia) I have a 1923 plant book in which the common name for Prunus ilicifolia is "Islay." This adorable little book provides a pronunciation - is-lah-ee, but they do not mention where the name comes from.
Sorry I could not be of more help. Joyce