Where did the baby name Trampas come from in 1964?

The character Trampas from the TV series "The Virginian" (1962-1971)
Trampas from “The Virginian

In yesterday’s post on the name Clu, I mentioned The Virginian (1962-1971), television’s first 90-minute Western.

The series was set in Wyoming in the 1890s, and, interestingly, the two main characters — ranch foreman “The Virginian” (played by James Drury) and ranch hand Trampas (played by Doug McClure) — did not use first names.

Despite not being a first name, Trampas ended up in the baby name data in the mid-1960s:

  • 1966: 5 baby boys named Trampas
  • 1965: 6 baby boys named Trampas
  • 1964: 5 baby boys named Trampas [debut]
  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: unlisted

The spellings Trampus and Trampis also appeared in the data around that time.

The show was loosely based on the 1902 novel The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains by Owen Wister (after whom Mount Wister in Grand Teton National Park was named). In the novel, Trampas was the antagonist. His name was likely based on the Spanish noun trampa, meaning “trap” or “snare.”

Sources: The Virginian (TV series) – Wikipedia, SSA

Image: Screenshot of The Virginian

3 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Trampas come from in 1964?

  1. On the TV show, I don’t believe Trampas ever had a full name — just the one name.

    In Wister’s writing, Trampas was once called “Link” (presumably short for Lincoln), and another time was called “Sorgy” (perhaps based on the German word sorge, meaning “trouble” or “concern”), but otherwise he was mononymous.

    Source: Hovey, Kenneth Alan. “Wister’s ‘Life among the Lowly’ and Anglocentrism.” Western American Literature, vol. 39, no. 4, 2005, pp. 394-419.

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