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  • Texas | Columns

    Town names with a twist

    by Bob Bowman
    Bob Bowman

    When it came to naming their towns, East Texans were not shy about their selections. Consider these examples.

    Jumbo, in Panola County, got its name from an elephant in P.T. Barnum’s circus. One of the largest African elephants in captivity, Jumbo was killed by a train while the circus was unloading in a Ontario, Canada, freight yard.

    Rake Pocket, also in Panola County, was named for the way merchants treated their customers. The community was later known as Pine Hill.

    Shakerag in Rusk County got its name from the sight of a young baseball player running the bases with a rag shaking in his back pocket.

    Pee Dee in Madison County go its name from the Pee Dee Indians of South Carolina. A family also named Pee Dee settled in Madison County and all eight members of the family died when someone poisoned a spring used by the family.

    Buena Vista, in Shelby County, was originally known as Buck Snort when Granny Elizabeth Richards tried to chase a large buck from her garden. The buck pawed the ground and snorted at Granny.

    Chickenfeather, in Rusk County, got its name when several young men stole some chickens and cooked them. They then threw the chicken feathers into a well, forcing men in the community to clean out the well. The settlement today is known as New Hope.

    Looneyville, in Nacogdoches, was named for a local family, not for the people living around Crazy Creek.

    Goober Hill in Shelby County was named for peanuts, known locally as goobers, that were a major crop in the area.

    Terrapin Neck, named for a turtle, lies in Harrison County. The town was later named Gill for a ferryman.

    Deweyville, in Newton County, was called Possum Bluff because the woods were overun with the critters.

    Jot‘ Em Down in Delta County was named for the Jot Em Down Store owned by mythical storekeepers Lum Edwards and Abner Peabody of the long-running radio series.of the 1930s and 1940s.

    Pluck, Plank and Pert. Pluck was, in Polk County and was named because it supposedly took a “plucky man” to live there. Plank was a sawmill town in Hardin County where townspeople called the lumber “planks.” Pert, in Anderson County, was a sawmill town known earlier as Mount Vernon.

    Slip Up And Hitch is near the Crossroads Cemetery on Farm Road 1 in Sabine County.

    Yallo Busha in Camp County, often called Yellow Bush, was named by Jim Keel, who was building a school house and named it for a stream in his native Alabama. The name came from an Indian phrase.

    More names in a future column.


    © Bob Bowman
    November 16, 2011 Column
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    A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
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    East Texas Towns | Columns

    (Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of more than 50 books about East Texas. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com)

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    The Forgotten Towns of East Texas, Vol. I
    By Bob and Doris Bowman
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