Babies Named for Fort Sumter

Bombardment of Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter — the sea fort near Charleston, South Carolina — wasn’t fully built yet in the spring of 1861 when the Battle of Fort Sumter kicked off the Civil War. The Second Battle of Fort Sumter, two years later, reduced the never-finished fort to rubble. (It has since been restored and is now a National Park.)

As with the Battle of Gettysburg, the two Fort Sumter battles had a small influence on baby names. I found about a dozen U.S. babies — all male, all born in the South — named “Fort Sumter”:

  • Fort Sumter Williamson (North Carolina, c1861)
  • Fort Sumter Roebuck (Virginia, c1861)
  • Fort Sumter Richards (South Carolina, 1861)
  • Fort Sumter Earle (Alabama, 1864)
  • Fort Sumter Sparrow (Alabama?, 1867)
  • Fort Sumter Liscomb (Texas, 1869) — but buried as a “John
  • Fort Sumter Brooks (Georgia, 1877)
  • Fort Sumter Sumter (Louisiana, 1881) — yes, Sumter twice
  • Fort Sumter Black (Georgia?, 1881)
  • Fort Sumter Cannon (Georgia, 1884)
  • Fort Sumter Everett (Virginia, 1900)
  • Fort Sumter Falls (North Carolina, 1910)

Notice how only half of them were born in the 1860s. A few — like “Fort Sumter Cannon” and “Fort Sumter Falls” — may have gotten the name simply because of the play on words.

Source: Battle of Fort Sumter – Wikipedia

Baby Named for Knowlton Nash

In early 1986, a couple in Windsor, Ontario, named their baby boy “Knowlton” after Knowlton Nash, anchor of the Canadian news show The National (not to mention “the mother’s favorite television personality”).

When Nash learned about the baby, he gave the couple a phone call and sent them an autographed copy of one of his books.

Knowlton Nash’s full name at birth was Cyril Knowlton Nash — “Cyril” after his father. But he disliked being called “Cyril Jr.,” so at the age of five he asked to be known as “Knowlton” instead.

Sources:

The Baby Named Astralabe

Here’s the story of an unusual baby name that was bestowed way back in 12th-century Paris.

The parents were French philosopher and theologian Peter Abelard and his brilliant student, Héloïse d’Argenteuil. They started their infamous love affair (“one of the best known love tragedies of history,” according to Britannica*) in the year 1115, and in 1118 they welcomed their only child, a son.

Because he was illegitimate, it fell upon Héloïse to do the naming, and she chose Astralabe — after the Astrolabe, a sophisticated navigational device being used at that time in the Islamic world (which included much of Spain). Astrolabes coud “locate and predict the positions and risings of the sun, moon, planets, and stars.”

In Catholic France, where most babies were named after saints, “Astralabe” was a highly unconventional choice. (One science writer, in 2008, compared Héloïse’s choice to “a woman in a sci-tech backwater today naming her son iPod.”)

Abelard and Héloïse soon married and legitimized Astralabe, but that didn’t stop Héloïse’s outraged relatives from attacking and castrating Abelard. Both went into religious life, though they technically remained married. No one is certain what became of Astralabe, but name-based evidence (a “Canon Astralabe” at Nantes cathedral circa 1150, for instance) suggests that he entered the church as well.

The word “astrolabe” is ultimately derived from the ancient Greek compound noun astrolabos organon, meaning “star-taking instrument.” Astrolabos is made up of the elements astron, meaning “star,” and lambanien, meaning “to take.”

Sources:

*The encyclopedia, not this person.

Baby Born at Sea, Named “Bearing”

On September 13, 2010, Patricia Carden gave birth four weeks early while she and her partner, Jerry Linville, were sailing from Jacksonville to Key West through bad weather. (Carden believes that the choppy water kicked off her labor.)

The parents were able to pinpoint their son’s birth location (approx. 28 miles offshore) by checking the GPS coordinates. This then inspired them to give him the unique first name Bearing.

Sources: Baby gets name after his birth on stormy sea, Rock-a-boat baby: The miracle premature boy born on storm-tossed seas as his parents battled to reach shore

Babies Named for Manila’s Light Rail

A handful of Filipino babies have been born — or almost born — on the Light Rail (LRT) in metropolitan Manila, and at least three of these babies have been given LRT-inspired names…

  • In May of 2005, Lea Aquino Ababa gave birth inside the Doroteo Jose LRT station. The baby girl was named Dorotea after the station.
  • In April of 2011, Mary Ann Opedra went into labor aboard an LRT train. She made to a hospital near Libertad Station in time to deliver. The baby girl was named Liberty Anne after the station.
  • In June of 2012, Angel Hotba gave birth aboard a moving LRT train somewhere between Libertad and Gil Puyat stations. The baby girl’s name, Lilibeth, was inspired by Libertad station. (Name suggestions from Twitter users included Larita, LoReTa, Laura Regina Teresa, Trayna, Katraina, and Railey.)

Sources: Woman almost gives birth in LRT coach, Passenger Gives Birth At LRT-1, On crowded train, life can’t be derailed