Baby named for opera house, oil company, Samuel J. Tilden

John Hodge Opera House Centennial Gargling Oil Samuel J. Tilden Ten Brook was born in Olcott, New York, in the early 1870s.

His father initially named him “John Hodge” after family friend John Hodge of Lockport, New York. But at the christening in 1876, when the boy was four years old, Hodge himself suggested that they add the following middle names:

  • Opera House – Hodge owned the Lockport Opera House
  • Centennial – for the Philadelphia Centennial that year
  • Gargling Oil – Hodge was the proprietor of Merchant’s Gargling Oil Company
  • Samuel J. Tilden – Hodge was a “staunch supporter of Samuel J. Tilden and his presidential campaign”

The boy didn’t end up going by any of these names as an adult, though. He was known simply as “Buck.”

The Dutch surname Ten Brook, btw, means “near the marsh.”


  • “Autograph Fans Irk Man of Many Names.” Montreal Gazette 22 Jan. 1938: 9.
  • Miscellany, Mar. 22, 1948.TIME Magazine 22 Mar. 1948.
  • “Ten Names, But Call Him ‘Buck’.” Ellensburg Daily Record 25 Jan. 1938: 2.

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