What gave the baby name Flint a boost in the 1950s?

The character Flint McCullough from the TV series "Wagon Train" (1957-1965).
Flint McCullough from “Wagon Train

The name Flint has been in the U.S. baby name data since the 1910s, but the only year in which it was able to achieve triple-digit usage was 1959:

  • 1963: 35 baby boys named Flint
  • 1962: 49 baby boys named Flint
  • 1961: 59 baby boys named Flint
  • 1960: 86 baby boys named Flint [rank: 821st]
  • 1959: 100 baby boys named Flint [rank: 763rd]
  • 1958: 42 baby boys named Flint
  • 1957: 20 baby boys named Flint
  • 1956: 10 baby boys named Flint

What was influencing the name at that time?

Flint McCullough, one of the main characters on the show Wagon Train (1957-1965). He was on the show during the first five seasons and was played by actor Robert Horton.

In Horton’s capable hands, Flint McCullough became the thinking man’s cowboy. He was educated, well-spoken and thoughtful without Horton’s ever sacrificing the toughness expected of a wagon train scout.

According to the Nielsen ratings, Wagon Train was the #2 rated TV show for three seasons straight (1958-59, 1959-60, and 1960-61) and finally the #1 TV show during the 1961-62 season.

These days the usage of Flint is picking up again. This could be due to the current trendiness of gun-related names like Trigger and Pistol. (For centuries, gunpowder was ignited using flint via the flintlock mechanism.)

Do you like the name Flint?

Sources: Wagon Train, U.S. Western – The Museum of Broadcast Communications, Robert Horton – Fifties Web

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