Kentucky Town Named for Little Girl

I’ve talked about places named for adults (Sedona, Nira) and a place named for a baby (Wainwright), but never a place named for a child.

The community of Burna in Livingston County, Kentucky, was named for 11-year-old local Burna Phillips (1895-1983):

The community is said to have been founded around 1890 by John Steele and may first have been called Tail Holt. According to tradition, residents seeking a more respectable name for their new post office arranged a contest in which the names of local girls were nominated and the winning entries submitted to the postal authorities. Chosen was that of Burna Phillips, the daughter of Grant Phillips. In a variant of this account, a number of names were placed in a hat and Miss Phillips’s was drawn.

The post office of Burna was officially established on December 13, 1906.

(When I first read this story, I was reminded of Burnu Acquanetta.)

Source: Rennick, Robert M. Kentucky Place Names. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1984.


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