A couple of weeks ago, while my husband and I were on a short road trip to Dallas, I spotted a couple of interesting place names.
On the way there, we passed the town of Estelline (infamous for its speed traps). Estelline was established in the 1890s and named after Estelle de Shields, the daughter of an early settler.
While searching for the local pronunciation of Estelline (“ES tuh leen”), I found a pronunciation guide that concisely listed every Texas town, so of course I had to scan it for oddballs (e.g., Dime Box, Fair Play, Goodnight, Tarzan, Wink). And some of those weird town names also happen to be human names:
- Brazoria: Beatrice Brazoria Mcleod, born in Texas in 1903.
- Cotulla: Cotulla Ann Farr, born in Texas in 1982.
- Flatonia: Jewell Flatonia Defoor, born in Texas in 1907.
- Floydada: Floydada Christopher, born in Texas in 1924.
- Hermleigh: Hermleigh Edward Presnall, born in Texas in 1917.
- Mobeetie: Mary Mobeetie Cox, born in Texas in 1887.
- Monthalia: Bertha Emma Monthalia Bahlmann, born in Texas circa 1899.
- Splendora: Splendora, a one-hit wonder on the SSA’s list in 1923. (I don’t think this has anything to do with the town, though; the name Splendora is sometimes used in Italian families.)
- Waxahachie: Waxahachie Arthur, born in Alabama in 1886. (But he was probably named after Alabama’s Waxahatchee Creek, not the Texas town.)
On the way back, we took a different route (through Oklahoma and Kansas). Near the Kansas/Colorado border, we passed a sign for the border town of Kanorado — a portmanteau created from the state names. I couldn’t find any humans with the name Kanorado, but I did track down people named for other border towns with portmanteau names:
- Arkoma (Arkansas + Oklahoma), Oklahoma: Helena Arkoma Yost, born in Arkansas in 1908.
- Calneva (California + Nevada), California: Calneva Wakeman, born in California in 1914.
- Illmo (Illinois + Missouri), Missouri: Illmo Speer, born in Missouri circa 1907.
- Kenova (Kentucky + Ohio + West Virginia), West Virginia: Virginia Kenova Woods, born in West Virginia in 1898.
- Tennga (Tennessee + Georgia), Georgia: Tennga Conner, born in Georgia in 1914.
- Texhoma (Texas + Oklahoma), Texas/Oklahoma: John Texhoma Weatherly, born in Texhoma in 1906.
- Texarkana (Texas + Arkansas + Louisiana), Arkansas/Texas: Texarkana Donathan, born in Arkansas in 1885. (I found dozens of people with this name, actually. Nicknames included Teck, Texie & Kanna.)
- Uvada (Utah + Nevada), Nevada: Ida Uvada Payne, born in Utah in 1919. (Found dozens of Uvadas as well.)
Speaking of Ida Uvada, I’m surprised that I found no one named after the Nevada town of Idavada (Idaho + Nevada). I did find a handful of people named “Ida Vada,” though.