Where did the baby name Tanoa come from in 1961?

The character Tanoa from the TV western "Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957-1962).
Tanoa from “Tales of Wells Fargo

The baby name Tanoa has appeared in the U.S. baby name data just twice, both times in the early 1960s:

  • 1963: 5 baby girls named Tanoa
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: 6 baby girls named Tanoa [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The TV western Tales of Wells Fargo (1957-1962).

An hour-long episode that aired on Oct. 28, 1961, featured a female character named Tanoa (played by actress Patricia Michon). In fact, the episode itself was called “Tanoa.”

In the episode, main character Jim Hardie (who worked for Wells Fargo) and his assistant Beau McCloud negotiated a new stagecoach route with some local Native Americans. According to one synopsis (from contemporary TV listings), “Beau McCloud rescues an Indian girl and her little brother from a power-hungry war chief.”

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