there a soul so dead, so a poet once said, who never to himself has
said -- why did they call (name) it that?
This can refer to tools, cuisine, or anything else, but this article
poses the question for villages, towns, and other gatherings in East
Texas. Fortunate, I know a fellow who can tell us.
Fred Tarpley, who once upon a time taught English at what is
now Texas A&M -- Commerce, now does so at Jarvis Christian College.
His 1001 Texas Place Names, published by the University of
Texas Press, provides such information and more about Texas
Did you know that:
Abe, in Houston
County, was named for Abraham B. Thomas, the town's first postmaster;
Adsul, in Newton
County, drew its name for the Adams-Sullivan Lumber Company, which
built a sawmill there in 1906;
in Trinity County,
got its identification from the abundance of May apples growing near
Barnum, in Polk
County, provides opportunity for argument--it was named for showman
Phineas T. Barnum, a friend of W.T. Carter, who established a sawmill
there, but some say it was named after the founder of a sawmill in
Beans Creek, in Cherokee
County, got its moniker from Cherokee Chief Little Bean, rather
than the vegetable;
Bessmay, also in Jasper
County, was so named by John H. Kirby, after his daughter, when
he built a sawmill there in 1900;
Tussle, in Fannin
County, was named for a favorite picnic site for Sunday School
classes, and the wags say that after the picnic there was nothing
to do but watch the bugs tussle;
Chester, in Tyler
County, was named for U.S. President Chester A. Arthur, who resided
in the White House when the community was founded in 1883;
Choice, in Shelby
County, got its identity from the stubbornness of early leaders
who were offered three potential names for their community by the
post office department and told to "pick your choice," so they chose
Dixie, in Grayson,
several other counties, drew its moniker from Confederate veteran
settlers who evidently were not quite Reconstructed; and
County, was named by a settler from France who thought he had
found his "star"--he doubtless pronounced it "a-twile" but everyone
else says "e-toil."
Reckon Fred just made this up?
All Things Historical
29-May 5, 2001
Published by permission.
A syndicated column in over 40 East Texas newspapers
(Archie P. McDonald is Director of the East Texas Historical Association
and author or editor of over 20 books on Texas)
of Texas Towns
Town List - Over 3,300 Texas Towns
on a First-name Basis
Of the roughly 2,000 town names on the official state map, over
400 of them are first names.
strange town names by Bob Bowman
While some early East Texans named their towns for families, their
hometowns or landmarks, othes were a tad more creative...
and Newton Counties, Beyond the Sabine
odd names all over Lone Star State, 'Top 10' of the U.S. are commonplace
here by Bill Bradfield
did they name it that? by Archie P. McDonald
Why They Named it That by Archie P. McDonald
Geography Lesson by Bob Bowman
Geography - Place name tweaking of several Counties and County Seats
by Mike Cox
Place name tweaking of several Counties and County Seats
Towns by Mike Cox
and Shoot, Gun Barrel City, Gunsight, Point Blank and Winchester
by Mike Cox
towns by Mike Cox
The Texas map is sprinkled with cities and towns that got their
names by mistake...
Ranks by Mike Cox
The historic urban population hierarchy and population figures dating
back to 1850...
town names by Bob Bowman
Texas Town Names - Recommended Books
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