Mary “Mollie” Walsh was a young Irishwoman who operated a grub tent in the Yukon during the Klondike gold rush. She was “known among the stampeders for her beauty and cheerfulness.”
One of Mollie’s suitors* was Mike Bartlett, who ran a pack train business out of Dawson City with his brothers. She moved to Dawson and married Mike in 1898.
In August of 1900, the couple welcomed a baby boy while traveling on a steamboat. His name? Leon Edward Seattle No. 3 Yukon Woodpile Bartlett. “Leon” was Mollie’s choice, “Edward” was in honor of an uncle, and the rest of it was thrown in by Mike (and others):
Seattle No. 3 was the name of the boat on which he was born, and the crew insisted on it being a part of the name. Yukon was inserted out of deference to the icy river, and Woodpile because of the fact that on the day he was born the boat was taking on a pile of wood from a big woodpile, 73 miles above Rampart.
Poor Leon wouldn’t have his parents around for long, though. In 1901, Mollie left Mike for a packer named John Lynch. In October of 1902, after an attempted reconciliation, Mike shot and killed Mollie. In late 1903, Mike went on trial for murder, and was acquitted by reason of insanity. (The newspaper coverage of the trial noted that little Leon had “only recently succeeded in memorizing his own name.”) Finally, in 1905, Mike killed himself via hanging.
At the time of the 1910 Census, orphaned Leon was living with his uncle Edward Bartlett in Seattle. By the time Leon got married in 1931, he was living in Washington state and his occupation was “soldier.” Notably, none of the later records I found for Leon included the middle names “Seattle No. 3,” “Yukon,” or “Woodpile.”
“Champion Queer Name for a Seattle Baby.” Spokane Press 25 Nov. 1903: 1.
Just remember that the SSA data doesn’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t reflect reality all that well.
Same format as usual: Girl names on the left, boy names on the right. Numbers represent single-year decreases in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, usage of the girl name Mary dropped by 146 babies and usage of the boy name William dropped by 1,008 babies.
I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and will write about others in the future. In the meanwhile, feel free to beat me to it! Comment below with the backstory on the fall of Shirley in the late ’30s, Linda in the early ’50s, etc.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader looking for lists of old-fashioned double names. She was aiming for names like Thelma Dean, Eula Mae, and Gaynell — names that would have sounded trendy in the early 1900s. She also mentioned that she’d started a list of her own.
So I began scouring the interwebs. I tracked down lists of old-fashioned names, and lists of double names…but I couldn’t find a decent list of double names that were also old-fashioned.
I loved the idea of such a list, though, so I suggested that we work together to create one. She generously sent me the pairings she’d collected so far, and I used several different records databases to find many more.
I restricted my search to names given to girls born in the U.S. from 1890 to 1930. I also stuck to double names that I found written as single names, because it’s very likely that these pairings were used together in real life (i.e., that they were true double names and not merely first-middle pairings).
Pairings that seemed too timeless, like Maria Mae and Julia Rose, were omitted. I also took out many of the pairings that feature now-trendy names — think Ella, Emma, and Lucy — because they just don’t sound old-fashioned anymore (though they would have a few decades ago).
The result isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a decent sampling of real-life, old-fashioned double names. I’ve organized them by second name, and I also added links to popularity graphs for names that were in the SSA data during the correct time period (early 1900s).
Looking for an under-the-radar girl name with a retro feel?
A few years ago I combed though a bunch of IMDb pages looking for interesting female names associated with old films (1910s-1940s).
Most of the names I spotted — names like Mabel, Maisie, Hazel, Hattie, Elsie, Selma, Bessie, and Betty — were ones I expected to see. But I did manage to collect thousands of rarities, many of which have never appeared in the SSA data before.
Want to check out all these unusual names? I thought so! To make things interesting I’ll post the Z-names first and go backwards, letter by letter.
Zabette de Chavalons was a character played by actress Bebe Daniels in the film Volcano! (1926).
Zabie Elliot was a character played by actress Mary Alden in the film The Broken Butterfly (1919).
Zada L’Etoile was a character played by actress Sylvia Breamer in the Cecil B. DeMille-directed film We Can’t Have Everything (1918).
Zena Dare was an actress who appeared in films during the 1920s and 1930s. She was born in England in 1887. Zena Keefe was an actress who appeared in films during the 1910s and 1920s. She was born in California in 1898. Zena was also a character name in multiple films, including The Code of Honor (short, 1916) and The New York Peacock (1917).