How popular is the baby name Shafter in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Shafter and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Shafter.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Shafter

Number of Babies Named Shafter

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Shafter

Baby Names Inspired by the Spanish-American War

U.S.S. Maine sinking in Havana harbor
The U.S.S. Maine sinking in Havana Harbor, 1898

The brief Spanish-American War (1898), which began in April and ended in August, inspired hundreds of patriotic parents in the U.S. to choose war-inspired baby names. Here are some examples:

Maine & Havana

One of the events that led to war was the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Cuba’s Havana Harbor on February 15. The explosion killed more than 260 men. Many people in the U.S. blamed the explosion on Spain.

The baby names Maine and Havana both debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1898.

  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 9 baby girls named Maine [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

Maine was a one-hit wonder on the list — a rarity that never returned — but Havana has been on the list dozens of times since (and regularly since 1995).

  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 8 baby girls named Havana [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

The SSDI tells a more complete story (though it doesn’t offer information on gender). It indicates that 25 babies were named Maine and 12 were named Havana in 1898.

Dewey & Manila

War was formally declared on April 25. On May 1, the Battle of Manila Bay took place in the Philippines. The U.S. fleet, under the command of Commodore George Dewey, defeated Spain.

Usage of the name Dewey spiked in 1898, both for boys and for girls:

  • 1901: 137 baby boys and 7 baby girls named Dewey
  • 1900: 345 baby boys and 9 baby girls named Dewey
  • 1899: 499 baby boys and 24 baby girls named Dewey
  • 1898: 1,115 baby boys and 104 baby girls named Dewey
  • 1897: 158 baby boys and 13 baby girls named Dewey
  • 1896: 63 baby boys named Dewey
  • 1895: 28 baby boys named Dewey

In terms of rankings, Dewey hit 19th (!) for boys and 305th for girls in 1898. Also that year, the spelling variants Dewie and Dewy debuted.

Going back to the SSDI, we see even higher numbers — 6,708 babies named Dewey, 36 named Dewie, and 1 named Dewy in 1898.

We even see evidence of Dewey’s spike on the U.S. Census of 1920:

  • 1910s: over 4,300 people named Dewey were born
  • 1900s: over 11,000 people named Dewey were born
  • 1890s: over 12,100 people named Dewey were born
  • 1880s: over 200 people named Dewey were born
  • 1870s: over 100 people named Dewey were born

An article in the Reading Eagle in 1899 listed ten local babies named for George Dewey, and another article I spotted from decades later joked about starting a George Dewey namesake club.

We see a similar (though less pronounced) spike of in the usage of Manila for baby girls:

  • 1900: 10 baby girls named Manila
  • 1899: 34 baby girls named Manila
  • 1898: 104 baby girls named Manila
  • 1897: 7 baby girls named Manila [debut]
  • 1896: unlisted

Also that year, the spelling variant Manilla debuted. (Manilla was the top girl name debut of the year, in fact.) Manila ranked 306th and Manilla ranked 536th nationally in 1898.

Again, the SSDI’s numbers are even higher — 195 babies were named Manila and 118 were named Manilla in 1898.

Hobson, Admiral, Shafter, Maceo, Schley & Philippina

Here are six more war-related names that debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1898.

The baby name Hobson was inspired by Richmond Pearson Hobson, prisoner of war in Cuba. (Hobson was the top boy name debut of 1898, in fact.)

  • 1899: 15 baby boys named Hobson
  • 1898: 38 baby boys named Hobson [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 161 babies were named Hobson that year.

The baby name Admiral was the rank of many of the men (e.g. Admiral Dewey, Admiral Sampson, Admiral Schley) who played a part in the war — Dewey especially.

  • 1899: 13 baby boys named Admiral
  • 1898: 25 baby boys named Admiral [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 154 babies were named Admiral.

The baby name Shafter was inspired by army general William Rufus Shafter.

  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 14 baby boys named Shafter [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 58 babies were named Shafter.

The baby name Maceo was inspired by Cuban revolutionary Antonio Maceo, “one of the outstanding guerrilla leaders in nineteenth century Latin America. (He died in late 1896, actually.)

  • 1899: 9 baby boys named Maceo
  • 1898: 13 baby boys named Maceo [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 34 babies were named Maceo.

The baby name Schley was inspired by Winfield Scott Schley, hero of the Battle of Santiago Bay.

  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 10 baby boys named Schley [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 39 babies were named Schley.

Finally, the baby name Philippina, possibly inspired by the Philippines, was a one-hit wonder the year of the war:

  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 5 baby girls named Philippina [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

Interestingly, only one Philippina is accounted for in the SSDI data.

Sources:

Highest Hitting One-Hits – Cinnamon, Destry, Kunta, Yulissa

Here are the one-hit wonder baby names that ranked the highest overall — 700th or above — the single year they made the U.S. top 1,000:

Name Ranked… Likely Explanation
Christop 241st in 1989 Typo*
Yulissa 424th in 1997 The 1996 telenovela Te Sigo Amando featured a character named Yulissa played by Claudia Ramírez.
Nira 463rd in 1933 The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was authorized by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933.
Elizabet 524th in 1989 Typo*
Manilla 536th in 1898 The first military action of Spanish-American War was the 1898 battle for Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
Jemal 549th in 1969 The Outcasts (1968-1969), the first TV Western with an African-American co-star, featured a character named Jemal.
Alexande 554th in 1989 Typo*
Kunta 572nd in 1977 The 1977 miniseries Roots (based on the Alex Haley novel) featured a character named Kunta Kinte.
Shafter 604th in 1898 Maj. Gen. William Rufus Shafter’s forces took Santiago (and hence helped end the Spanish-American War) in 1898.
Destry 636th in 1964 The short-lived 1964 show Destry was a spin-off of the 1939 film “Destry Rides Again.”
Sonji 638th in 1966 In 1966, Muhammad Ali and his first wife, Sonji Roi, divorced.
Sheilah 665th in 1955 Sheilah Graham Westbrook (1904-1988) was a gossip columnist during Hollywood’s “Golden Age.”
Clarisa 665th in 1994 The popular Nickelodeon sitcom Clarissa Explains it All (1991-1994) won an Emmy in 1994.
Tatia 670th in 1966 A notable 1965 episode of the TV show I Spy (1965-1968) featured a character named Tatia Loring.
Alexandr 676th in 1989 Typo*
Cinnamon 700th in 1969 The first 3 seasons of the Mission: Impossible TV series (1966-1973) featured a character named Cinnamon Carter. (That’s what put Cinnamon on the map.) Early in 1969, “Cinnamon” by Derek (a.k.a. Johnny Cymbal) was an actual one-hit wonder that peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later the same year, “Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young was released.
Beyonce 700th in 2001 Destiny’s Child (featuring Beyoncé Knowles) won two Grammy Awards in 2001.

I didn’t include one-hits from 1880-1889 (Manerva, Zilpah, Worley, Ambers, Orilla, Simona) or the names that debuted on the 2006 list (Rihanna, Addisyn, Krish, Yandel).

*Here’s more about those typos from 1989.

One-Hit Wonder Baby Names from the 1890s

Each of the names below (including misspellings like Aloys and Willaim) only managed to rank among the 1,000 most popular U.S. baby names a single time — all during the 1890s.

Girl Names

  • 1890 – Ethie, Fleeta, Jessye, Jetta, Sibbie
  • 1891 – Idabelle, Lulla, Olar, Sylva
  • 1892 – Versa
  • 1893 – Allena, Cannie, Cliffie, Clotilda, Elmyra, Josefita, Lurena
  • 1894 – Elfreda
  • 1895 – Adel, Alleen, Trilby (influence: the book Trilby)
  • 1897 – Zela, Zeta
  • 1898 – Manilla (influence: Spanish-American War), Vara
  • 1899 – Irva

Boy Names

  • 1890 – Almus, Conard, Guilford, Neely, Polk, Rance, Red
  • 1891 – Algot, Alphons, Barnard, Burk, Berkley, Iverson, Job, Powell, Vick
  • 1892 – Burleigh, Con, Ebert, Murdock, Nolen, Willaim
  • 1893 – Aubra, Avon, Bolden, Link, Thorwald
  • 1894 – Alston, Audy, Donat, Emmons, Erby, Esley, Hebert, Hezzie, Hughey, Oddie, Vinton, Zed
  • 1895 – Alwin, Evander, Gaither, Grafton, Guthrie, Ovila
  • 1896 – Acy, Aloys, Arthor, Boysie, Cam, Hale, Lisle, Offie, Silver, Virgel, Willy
  • 1897 – Dabney
  • 1898 – Adams, Arba, Collier, Ewart, Gladstone, Schley, Shafter (influence: Spanish-American War)
  • 1899 – Baker, Bynum, Colvin, Elizah, Griffith

Want more one-hit wonders? Here are…