Word Origin & History
region in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, from Munsee Delaware (Algonquian) chwewamink "at the big river flat," from /xw-/ "big" + /-e:wam-/ "river flat" + /-enk/ "place." Popularized by 1809 poem "Gertrude of Wyoming," set amid wars between Indians and American settlers, by Scottish author Thomas Campbell
(1777-1844), who seems to have had a vague or defective notion of Pennsylvania geography. Subsequently applied 19c. to other locations, including a western territory organized July 25, 1868 (admitted as a state 1890); also used in Kansas, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
"On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming!
Although the wild-flower on thy ruin'd wall,
And roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring,
Of what thy gentle people did befall;
Yet thou wert once the loveliest land of all
That see the Atlantic wave their morn restore.
Sweet land! may I thy lost delights recall,
And paint thy Gertrude in her bowers of yore,
Whose beauty was the love of Pennsylvania's shore!"
[Campbell, "Gertrude of Wyoming," 1809]