How popular is the baby name Ellsworth in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Ellsworth.
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William Tecumseh Sherman was a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
He served just under Ulysses S. Grant much of the time. In 1864, when Grant was appointed commander of all Union armies, Sherman succeeded him as the commander of the Western Theater. In 1869, when Grant began his first term as U.S. President, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the U.S. Army. (He remained in that position until 1883.)
Many baby boys were named in honor of General Sherman, particularly in the mid-1860s. It’s hard to know just how many hundreds of namesakes he had, though, given all the possible permutations of his name, and the fact that both “William” and “Sherman” were quite common. Some examples…
Boys born into Sherman families simply got the given names “William Tecumseh,” or “William T.” Dozens of other families dropped “William” altogether, opting for “Tecumseh Sherman,” or just “Tecumseh.”
Speaking of Tecumseh…how did William T. Sherman come to have such a distinctive middle name?
He was born in Ohio in 1820, the middle child (#6) of 11 siblings. In his memoir, he said that his father, Charles, had “caught a fancy for the great chief of the Shawnees, “Tecumseh.””
When, in 1816, my brother James was born, he insisted on engrafting the Indian name “Tecumseh” on the usual family list. My mother had already named her first son after her own brother Charles; and insisted on the second son taking the name of her other brother James, and when I came along, on the 8th of February, 1820, mother having no more brothers, my father succeeded in his original purpose, and named me William Tecumseh.
Interestingly, one of General Sherman’s nephews — the the son of his younger brother Lampson — was was born in 1861 and named after Elmer E. Ellsworth.
“150” boy names: Ibukunoluwa, Luisenrique, Morireoluwa, Oluwamayowa
6 via 159
The following baby names add up to 159, which reduces to six (1+5+9=15; 1+5=6).
“159” girl names: Krystalynn, Charlotterose
6 via 168
The following baby names add up to 168, which reduces to six (1+6+8=15; 1+5=6).
“168” girl names: Oluwasemilore, Chrysanthemum
“168” boy names: Quintavious, Oluwasemilore
6 via 177
The girl name Oluwajomiloju adds up to 177, which reduces to six (1+7+7=15; 1+5=6).
What Does “6” Mean?
First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “6” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “6” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.
“6” (the hexad) according to the Pythagoreans:
“They rightly call it ‘reconciliation’: for it weaves together male and female by blending, and not by juxtaposition as the pentad does. And it is plausibly called ‘peace,’ and a much earlier name for it, based on the fact that it organizes things, was ‘universe’: for the universe, like 6, is often seen as composed of opposites in harmony”
“They also called it ‘health’ and ‘anvil’ (as it were, the unwearying one), because it is reasonable to think that the most fundamental triangles of the elements of the universe partake in it, since each triangle is six, if it is divided by three perpendiculars”
“It arises out of the first even and first odd numbers, male and female, as a product and by multiplication; hence it is called ‘androgynous.'”
“It is also called ‘marriage,’ in the strict sense that it arises not by addition, as the pentad does, but by multiplication. Moreover, it is called ‘marriage’ because it is equal to its own parts, and it is the function of marriage to make offspring similar to parents.”
“They also called it…’measurer of time in twos’ because of the distribution of all time, which is accomplished by a hexad of zodiacal signs over the Earth and another under the Earth, or because time, since it has three parts [past, present, future], is assimilated to the triad, and the hexad arises from two threes.”
“It is also called ‘Thaleia’ [etym. Greek, “the plentiful one”] because of its harmonizing different things, and ‘panacea,’ either because of its connection with health…or as it were self-sufficiency, because it has been furnished with parts sufficient for wholeness.”
“6” according to Edgar Cayce:
“Six – the strength of a three, with a helpful influence” (reading 261-14).
“Six being the changes that have been made in the double strength of three” (reading 261-15).
“Six – again makes for the beauty and the symmetrical forces of all numbers, making for strength” (reading 5751-1).
Does “6” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 33, 42, 96, 123) — have any special significance to you?
Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. For example, maybe your favorite book is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which highlights the number 42.
Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.
If you have any interesting insights about the number 6, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!
Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).
James A. Bill (1817-1900) of Lyme, Connecticut, served in the Connecticut state senate in 1852 and 1853 and in the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1849 and 1867. He also happened to be a rare pro-slavery Northerner in the years before and during the Civil War. This fact is reflected in the names of the last three children:
Kansas Nebraska (born in July, 1855)
Lecompton Constitution (b. October, 1857)
Jefferson Davis (b. February, 1862)
Kansas Nebraska Bill was named after the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), which created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, but also allowed the territories to decide for themselves whether or not they would permit slavery (the “popular sovereignty” principle).
Lecompton Constitution Bill was named after the Lecompton Constitution (1857), a proposed pro-slavery constitution for the state of Kansas that was defeated early the next year.
And Jefferson Davis Bill was, of course, named after Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy throughout the Civil War.
Their older brother, Lodowick, inherited his interesting first name from James’s father. The name Lodowick — like Louis, Ludwig, and Luigi — can be traced back to the Germanic name Chlodovech, which consists of the elements hlud, meaning “famous, loud” and wig, meaning “war, battle.”
We looked at the top baby name rises last month, so this month let’s look at the opposite: the top drops. That is, the baby names that decreased the most in usage, percentage-wise, from one year to the next in the Social Security Administration’s data.
Here’s the format: girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the percentages represent single-year slides in usage. (For example, from 1880 to 1881, usage of the girl name Clementine dropped 68% and usage of the boy name Neil dropped 76%.)
The SSA data isn’t perfect, but it does become more accurate in the late 1930s, because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data” (SSA). Now, back to the list…
I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and I plan to write about a few of the others. In the meanwhile, though, feel free to beat me to it — leave a comment and let us know why you think any of these names saw dropped in usage when they did.
U.S. Army officer Elmer E. Ellsworth is virtually unknown nowadays, but he was very well known during the 1860s.
Because he was killed in May of 1861 while trying to confiscate a Confederate flag. This made him the very first Union officer to die in the Civil War.
Here’s how the New York Times concluded Ellsworth’s obituary:
He has been assassinated! His murder was fearfully and speedily revenged. He has lived a brief but an eventful, a public and an honorable life. His memory will be revered, his name respected, and long after the rebellion shall have become a matter of history, his death will be regarded as a martyrdom, and his name will be enrolled upon the list of our country’s patriots.
Ellsworth’s death was the first conspicuous casualty of the War, and it inspired thousands of men to enlist.
It also inspired thousands (yes, literally thousands) of Union-supporting families to name their newborns “Elmer Ellsworth.”
(This is one of those names that makes me wish the SSA data went back further than 1880. I would have loved to see the spike in Elmers in 1861-1862.)
The massive number of Elmer Ellsworths born in the early 1860s was even referenced in this anecdote by newspaperman Fred C. Kelly eighty years later:
[A] friend of mine, named Osborn, doesn’t profess to be gifted in second sight, but he once mystified a stranger by telling him that he — the stranger — was born in April, May, or June, 1861; moreover, that he was born in a Union state, and that his father was an enthusiastic Northern sympathizer during the Civil War. He knew all this just by noting that the man’s first two initials were “E.E.” The whole thing was a matter of simple deduction. The man appeared to be the age of one born during the Civil War. Osborn happened to know that one of the great Northern heroes of the Civil War was one Elmer Ellsworth, the first man killed on the Union side. Thousands of babies born during the two or three months following Ellsworth’s death were named “Elmer Ellsworth.” Knowing these facts, the “E.E.” in the man’s name meant much.
Do you have anyone in your family tree named Elmer Ellsworth?
Kelly, Fred C. “Do We Like to Be Fooled?” Cosmopolitan March 1921: 65-67, 149-152.
“Obituary; Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth.” New York Times 25 May 1861.
P.S. Did you know that today, April 12th, is the anniversary of the start of the Civil War? It’s also is the anniversary of the first manned space flight. These events occurred exactly 100 years apart, weirdly.