Babies named for the Battle of Antietam

The Civil War’s Battle of Antietam (pronounced an-TEE-tum) took place on September 17, 1862, in northwest Maryland, close to Antietam Creek.

The Union and Confederate armies — led by George B. McClellan and Robert E. Lee, respectively — each lost a large number of men in what turned out to be “the bloodiest single day in American history.”

So far I’ve found a handful of people named after the battle, including these three females, all of whom were born during the Civil War:

  • Mary Antietam Cheney, b. Oct. 7, 1862, in Vermont.
  • Mary Antietam McCulloch, b. Sept. 22, 1862, in Massachusetts.
  • Antietam Burnside Mann, b. Jan. 31, 1863, in Connecticut. (Her father died in the battle. The middle name “Burnside” refers to Gen. Ambrose Burnside.)

While the Battle of Antietam was a tactical draw, it was still a strategic victory for the Union, and this “gave [President] Lincoln what he needed to issue the Emancipation Proclamation that would free the slaves in the Confederate states the following January.”

The place-name Antietam was derived from an Algonquian word that may mean “swift water.”

Sources: Battle of Antietam – Wikipedia, Antietam: A Savage Day In American History, Antietam – Online Etymology Dictionary

P.S. Did you know that Antietam was the first American battlefield to be “photographed before the dead had been buried”? Here are some Antietam battlefield photographs (via the U.S. National Park Service).

Babies named for “Old Rough and Ready”

Gen. Zachary Taylor acquired the nickname “Old Rough and Ready” during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) in Florida. He garnered even more national attention a few years later, during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).

He rode his popularity all the way to the White House, though he was only in office for sixteen months (March 1849 to July 1850) before unexpectedly dying of a gastrointestinal illness on July 9th.

According to the 1850 U.S. Census, many baby boys were named Zachary Taylor (and, less often, Zachariah Taylor) in the late 1840s. Even more interesting, though, is the fact that about a dozen boys were listed as “Rough & Ready” (or some variation thereof):

  • Rough & Ready Hickey, a 3-year-old in Alabama.
  • Rough & Ready Reece, a newborn in Tennessee.
  • Rough & Ready Saunders, a 3-year-old in Virginia.
  • Rough & Ready Watson, a 2-year-old in Mississippi.
  • Rough & Ready Sansing, a 3-year-old in Mississippi
  • Rough & Ready Payne, a 1-year-old in Louisiana.
  • Rough & Ready Shutes, a 2-year-old in Wisconsin.
  • Rough & Ready Morton, a newborn in Tennessee.
  • Rough & Ready Justice, a 1-year-old in Texas.
  • Rough & Reddy Calloway, a 1-year-old in Georgia.
  • Rough & Readdy Worthington, a 5-year-old in Maryland.

In some cases, “Rough & Ready” was just a nickname for Zachary/Zachariah Taylor. In other cases, though, “Rough and Ready” really was the name — though, over time, “Rough &” often morphed into “Ruffin.”

Sources:

Babies named for the Eiffel Tower

Photo of the Eiffel Tower during the Paris Exposition (1889).
The Eiffel Tower in 1889

The Eiffel Tower was created by civil engineer Gustave Eiffel for the Paris Exposition of 1889 (which marked the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution). It took more than two years to construct and was the tallest man-made structure in the world until 1930.

We’ve already talked about one person named Eiffel Tower, and, since then, I’ve found a second Eiffel Tower. If we do a records search for the name Eiffel, though, we find dozens more. “Eiffel” was never common enough in the U.S. to appear in the SSA data, but I see Eiffels as early as 1889 in the SSDI, and as early as 1887 (the year construction began*) in vital records.

Here are the best-documented, U.S.-born Eiffels I found from the last years of the 1880s and the first years of the 1890s. Two-thirds of them are female.

Did you know that Gustave Eiffel’s surname at birth was actually Bönickhausen?

In the early 1700s, Gustave’s ancestor Jean-Rene Bönickhausen relocated from a town in the mountainous Eifel region of Germany to the capital of France and began going by Eiffel (perhaps because it was easier to pronounce than Bönickhausen). So the official surname of this branch of the family tree became “Bönickhausen, dit Eiffel.” Gustave didn’t legally shorten it to Eiffel until 1879.

The word “Eifel” can be traced back to the Early Middle Ages, but the etymology is unknown.

What are your thoughts on Eiffel as a first name? Would you use it?

*The Eiffel Tower was being mentioned in the newspapers was early as mid-1886, but the name wasn’t set yet; it was being called things like “the Great Tower,” “the Tower of Paris,” and “the Eiffel Tall Tower.”

Sources:

Image: Eiffel Tower, with Fountain Coutan to left, looking toward Trocadéro Palace, Paris Exposition, 1889 – LOC

Babies named for the Battle of Malvern Hill

Battle of 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 itself redundant (“bald hill hill”) and Mr. Malvern Hill Hill’s full name actually contains three words for hill.

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

Babies named for the Battle of Fort Sumter

Bombardment of 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