In 1886, a baby girl was born in Le Roy, Illinois. Her father was unknown and her mother Tiona died shortly after giving birth, “leaving the child the name of Tiona as her only inheritance.”
Orphaned Tiona ended up in the Girls’ Industrial home in Bloomington, IL. This is where Mr. and Mrs. Joseph King of Bloomington found her a few years later. They adopted her.
In 1903, when Tiona King was 16, the society column of a local paper mentioned that she had been hosting some friends from Chicago.
Belle Craig, a Le Roy resident who happened to read the item, noted that the unique name Tiona was the same as that of a childhood friend. Curious about the coincidence, Belle decided to investigate.
She eventually discovered that Tiona King of Bloomington was indeed the daughter of her old friend, solving the mystery of Tiona’s parentage.
The icing on the cake was a 27-acre tract of land near Kinmundy (about 100 miles to the south) that had been left behind by Tiona’s deceased maternal grandparents. The property could now by claimed by Tiona.
Cool story, right?
Back in 1903 when this story was circulating, newspaper writers tended to disparage unique names. Those writing about Tiona, though, mostly praised the name. One writer even described it as “euphonious.” No doubt the feel-good nature of the tale helped people see the name in a positive light.
What do you think of the name Tiona?
- “Fortune In Name.” Barrington Review 4 Sept. 1903: 3.
- “Girl’s Odd Name “Tiona” Cleared Mystery of Birth.” St. Louis Republic 14 Aug. 1903: 4.
- “Value of a Name.” Saint Paul Globe 29 Aug. 1903: 1.