TexasEscapes.comTexas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1800 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP : : SEARCH SITE
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
 Texas : Features : Columns : All Things Historical


Wonder Why They Named It That?

by Archie P. McDonald, PhD
Archie McDonald, PhD
Breathes 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 towns.

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;

Apple Springs
, in Trinity County, got its identification from the abundance of May apples growing near natural springs;

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 Groveton;

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;

Bug 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 Choice;

Dixie, in Grayson, Panola, and several other counties, drew its moniker from Confederate veteran settlers who evidently were not quite Reconstructed; and

Etoile, in Nacogdoches 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
April 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)

The Naming of Texas Towns

  • Texas Town List - Over 2,500 Texas Towns
  • Texas on a First-name Basis
    Of the roughly 2,000 town names on the official state map, over 400 of them are first names.
  • Those 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...
  • Jasper and Newton Counties, Beyond the Sabine
  • Despite odd names all over Lone Star State, 'Top 10' of the U.S. are commonplace here by Bill Bradfield
  • Why did they name it that? by Archie P. McDonald
  • Wonder Why They Named it That by Archie P. McDonald
  • A Geography Lesson by Bob Bowman
  • New Geography - Place name tweaking of several Counties and County Seats by Mike Cox
    Place name tweaking of several Counties and County Seats
  • Twin Towns by Mike Cox
  • Cut and Shoot, Gun Barrel City, Gunsight, Point Blank and Winchester by Mike Cox
  • Boo-boo towns by Mike Cox
    The Texas map is sprinkled with cities and towns that got their names by mistake...
  • Population Ranks by Mike Cox
    The historic urban population hierarchy and population figures dating back to 1850...
  • Unique town names by Bob Bowman
  • On Texas Town Names - Recommended Books

    Muleshoe & More
    Tandem Towns of Texas
    1001 Texas Place Names
     
    HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | TEXAS HOTELS
    TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

    Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
    TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

    TEXAS FEATURES
    Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books
    COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

    TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
    Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
    Vintage Photos

    TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | HOTELS | USA | MEXICO

    Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
    Website Content Copyright 1998-2008. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
    This page last modified: July 18, 2010