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The original area near the mouth of the James River was first referred to as Newportes Newes as early as 1621. The source of the name "Newport News" is not known with certainty. Several versions are recorded, and it is a matter for historical speculation on which was first given by colonists or in written form by historians: In 1875, author Robert Lewis Dabney wrote that he believed an Indian leader named "Pamunkey" had bestowed upon colonial settlers at Jamestown a folk etymology to explain its meaning; he said that they were told that when one sailed upriver from Jamestown towards what became Norfolk, there would be three large Native American towns along this stretch of river where fresh water could be found—the Pamunkey town (which became part of present-day Richmond), Powhatan (later renamed Williamsburg), and Kiskiack (later renamed Elizabeth City). When these native villages were later occupied by English colonists, their names blended together into one word: Newport News.