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Those strange town names

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman
While some early East Texans named their towns for families, their hometowns or landmarks, othes were a tad more creative.

Tadmor

Which brings us to Tadmor in Houston County. Most folks think the name comes from the expression “let me have a tad more of that.”

Actually, the name comess from the Bible, where it describes a city built by Solomon “in the wilderness” or somewhere on the southern border of Palestine.

Chickenfeather
In Rusk County around 1901, a group of young boys decided to go hunting one autumn night, but failed to bag any game.

Late in the night, feeling hungry, they swiped a couple of chickens from a farmer, built a fire behind New Hope Church, roasted the chickens and satisfied their hunger.

To hide the evidence of their theft, they tossed the chicken feathers and viscera into a water well from which churchgoers and school children drew their water each day.

Contaminated with the chickens’ remains, the well had to be cleaned out and salted to restore the water to drinkable quality. Thereafter, New Hope was better known as Chickenfeather.

Pinetucky
Magnolia Springs, a scattered community in Jasper County, was once known as Pinetucky.

While the exact origin of the name has been lost, it probably came from the vast stands of virgin pine trees which covered the area with the addition of “tucky,” which in the language of the Old South meant land or territory.

Yard
When a rural community in northwest Anderson County, sent in a list of potential names for its new post office, a storekeeper accidently included a customer's request for a yard of cloth. The government named the post office Yard.

Grannie’s Neck
In Delta County, Mary (Grannie) Sinclair, the matriarch of her family, raised goats on a three-mile neck of land that jutted into the South Sulphur River. The community was soon dubbed Grannie’s Neck.

Lick Skillet
Lick Skillet is a name that courses through the history of rural East Texas. For more than a hundred years or so, it has been attached to communities, creeks, roads and anything else where people have a sense of humor.

The name supposedly came about when newcomers arrived late for a community dinner and found that all of the food had been consumed, leading someone to admonish them to “lick the skillet.”

Weeping Mary
Located five miles west of Alto in Cherokee County, Weeping Mary was first settled after the Civil War by freed slaves from neighboring plantations.

It’s name reportedly came from the 20th chapter of the Book of John, where Mary goes to the tomb of Jesus after he was crucified:

“...and when she had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was not Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?”

Cuthand
Cuthand and a nearby creek in Red River County got its names from a Deleware Indian chief who was instrumental in arranging a treaty with unfriendly Indian tribes.

The chief had lost three fingers from a sabor’s slash in his younger days and because of his disigurement, he was thereafter known as Cut Hand.


Bob Bowman's East Texas
April 18, 2010 Column, Modified 1-29-13
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
Copyright Bob Bowman


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