Babies Named for Malvern Hill

Battle of Malvern Hill

The Civil War’s Battle of Malvern Hill was fought on July 1, 1862, near the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

And, as with the battles of Fort Sumter and Gettysburg, Malvern Hill had an influence on baby names. I’ve found dozens of U.S. babies with the name “Malvern Hill” — though many got the combo decades after the fact, which is interesting.

Here are the Malvern Hills I found from the 1860s specifically:

  • Malvern Hill Lash (Virginia, 1862)
  • Malvern Hill Barnum (New York, 1863)
    • Union soldier Henry Barnum, the father of Malvern Hill Barnum, was declared dead following the Battle of Malvern Hill. After his family held a funeral for him, he was discovered alive in a Confederate prison. He was rescued and sent home in mid-July. Baby Malvern arrived the following September.
  • Malvern Hill Logan (Georgia, 1864)
  • Malvern Hill Watts (Missouri, 1864)
  • Malvern Hill Foster (Virginia, 1865)
  • Malvern Hill Hill (Virginia, 1868) — yes, Hill twice

Speaking of Hill twice…the name Malvern can be traced back to the Welsh words moel and bryn, meaning “bare, bald” and “hill.” So, if you take etymology into account, the place name Malvern Hill is redundant, and Mr. Malvern Hill Hill’s name contains Hill thrice.

Source: Battle of Malvern Hill – Wikipedia, Notes for Henry Alanson Barnum, Malvern Hill Barnum – Find a Grave

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