Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's In A Name?

Increase Mather
  It is funny how names change through the years. For example my grandfathers name was Marcellus. I don't think that I have ever met a white Marcellus since my grandfather died. Men of his generation and later were also named after presidents. I used to know a few Woodrow Wilson's and I had an uncle James Garfield Frogge. My grandmother was Ella Belle, and my mother was Donie Belle. We also have a granddaughter named Lydea Belle. My great grandmother was Caldonie Sherrill Brown. My paternal great-grandmother was Clemenza, aka Menzie Jolly. Many men were named after old testament patriarchs in the 1800's. Clemenza's father was named Aaron and it was passed on to my father Willard and son Robbie as their middle names. I had a great-great grandfather and an uncle named Isaac. A great uncle named Jacob. Names like Moses, Abraham, and Joseph were common. My paternal great grandfathers name was Joseph Segroves, In colonial times it was also popular to name men and boys after biblical characters. Girls were named Rachel, Abigail, and Esther. Boys Moses, Noah, and Isaiah. However from there it gets bizarre. Names like Zerubbabel, Shearjashub, and Mahershalalhashbaz. 

  Other names were chosen to encourage virtue. Kill-sin, Fly-fornication, Mindwell, Experience, Rejoice, and Increase. There was a famous Puritan minister that was named Increase Mather. However in the Southern Colonies were named more conventional English names like James, George, and Edward. During the nullification crisis in  After the American Revolution some parents looked for classical ancient Greek and Roman names. For boys Homer, Horatio and Ulysses. For girls Cassandra, Portia, and Minerva. Other parents named their boys after American heroes. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. This also helped to institutionalize the middle name. In 1814 one man named his daughter Encyclopedia Britannica Dewey. Then there was States Rights Gist who was born in the midst of the nullification crisis of 1831 in South Carolina and his parents defiantly named him States Rights. He would be one of the six Confederate generals killed at the battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864. There was a legend that a man in Texas, whose last name was Hogg, had twin daughters that he named  Ima Hogg and Ura Hogg. This story is only partially true. There was an Ima Hogg but no Ura. James Stephen Hogg was the governor of Texas from 1890 until 1894 and he named his daughter Ima. Not in a vindictive way because he loved his daughter very much and they were very close. She grew up to be a famous philanthropist. He just liked the name Ima.
Ima Hogg

States Rights Gist

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