did they name it that?
by Archie P. McDonald
wonders why some cities and towns in East Texas are named as they are but never
really make a effort to learn the secrets-except Fred Tarpley, long-time professor
of English at East Texas State University, nee Texas A&M at Commerce.
Fred's curiosity led him to compile 1001 Texas Place Names, published by
the University of Texas Press.|
locations are obvious, or at least logical. Nacogdoches
got its name from the group of Caddo who once lived there; Tyler
is named for John Tyler, president of the United States, and Sacul
is Lucas spelled backwards. O.K., some names are illogical, but it is still interesting
that the Post Office Department would not accept "Lucas" but did accept "Sacul."||
located in Grayson County, took its name from the Toadsuck Saloon, or alternately,
was so named by mill owner John Jones in honor of his birthplace, Toadsuck, Arkansas.
Most notable Toadsuckian was William "Alfalfa Bill" Murray, who stepped across
the Red River and served as governor of Oklahoma.|
Tussle, in Fannin County, had so much trouble keeping signs up to mark the
crossroads, says Fred, that the highway department just quit putting them up.
The legend here is that Sunday afternoon picnickers called the place Bug Tussle
because the swarms of bugs were so terrific that all they could do was watch the
Henderson County, received its name from Mrs. Dull Averitt because she wanted
the town to become a center of learning. That was before anyone counted them and
found out that Athens, Texas, like Athens, Greece, was built upon seven hills.
But then so was Rome, Italy, and Roma,
Texas, which is in Starr County.
Latexo, in Houston County, combines
some letters from each of the principal words in the Louisiana and Texas Orchard
Company, which shipped local produce from there. Cut
and Shoot, in Montgomery County earned its name because of its' citizens'
fondness for settling disagreements with knives and firearms.
wondering over a place name involved Bon Wier in Newton County. We began going
there regularly when I was in graduate school, fresh from learning just enough
French to pass the required language requirement. I knew "bon" meant "good," but
could never figure out the translation of "wier."
One day I asked an
old timer who was lounging around the filling station. Said he, "I guess it was
named for old man Bonner and old man Wier, who ran the Kirby mill here." Indeed,
B.R. Bonner and R.W. Wier did just that.
© Archie P. McDonald
October 23, 2006 column
A syndicated column in over 40 East Texas newspapers
This column is provided as a public service by the East Texas Historical
Association. Archie P. McDonald is director of the Association and author of more
than 20 books on Texas