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.
Ulysses S. Grant is best remembered as a U.S. President…but he initially gained fame as a military leader during the American Civil War.
His victories for the Union — starting with the Battle of Fort Donelson in February of 1862 — led to a series of promotions that culminated in his being appointed commander of all Union armies in March of 1864. Ulysses S. Grant is the person to whom Confederate commander Robert E. Lee surrendered in April of 1865.
Three years after that, Grant was elected U.S. President. At 46 years old, he was, at that point, the youngest man ever elected president. His two-term presidency lasted from 1869 until 1877.
As you might imagine, Grant acquired many namesakes. Records indicate that thousands of baby boys were named “Ulysses Grant” or (more precisely) “Ulysses S. Grant” during the 1860s and 1870s. Some examples…
Those already in Grant families simply got “Ulysses S.” or some variant thereof (e.g., “Ulysses Sherman“) as given names.
Interestingly, though, Ulysses S. Grant himself was not born with the name “Ulysses S. Grant.”
His parents, Jesse Grant and Hannah Grant (née Simpson), didn’t have a name picked out when their first child arrived in 1822. He remained nameless for weeks. Finally, the couple got together with Hannah’s family to make a selection. Here’s how Jesse described the naming process:
When the question arose after his birth what he should be called, his mother and one of his aunts proposed Albert, for Albert Gallatin; another aunt proposed Theodore; his grandfather proposed Hiram, because he thought that was a handsome name. His grandmother […] was a great student of history, and had an enthusiastic admiration for the ancient commander Ulysses, and she urged that the babe should be named Ulysses. I seconded that, and he was christened Hiram Ulysses; but he was always called by the latter name, which he himself preferred when he got old enough to know about it.
(Other sources say that the names were put into a hat, and that “Ulysses” was drawn, but Jesse altered the name to “Hiram Ulysses” to please Hannah’s father.)
In 1839, Jesse wrote to Rep. Thomas Hamer — a former friend with whom he’d been quarreling — to request that Hamer nominate his teenage son, “H. Ulysses,” to be a cadet at the United States Military Academy. Hamer complied, but mistakenly wrote the boy’s name as “U. S. Grant.” Jesse guessed that Mr. Hamer, “knowing Mrs. Grant’s name was Simpson, and that we had a son named Simpson, somehow got the matter a little mixed in making the nomination.”
Ulysses was unable to get the mistake fixed while he was at West Point. After graduation, he simply adopted “Ulysses S. Grant” as the standard form of his name.
“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).
We visited the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs recently and, inside this park, we spotted a “What’s In a Name?” sign that described how the park got its name back in the 1850s:
As they looked over this area of cathedral-like rock spires, one man, Malancthon Beach, commented that the spot would be a great place for a beer garden someday. His friend, a poetic young man named Rufous Cable, replied that it was a place “fit for the Gods.”
It’s a cool story, but, to me, that first name “Malancthon” is way more interesting than the origin of the park name. Where did it come from?
My best guess is that Malancthon is a tribute to 16th-century German theologian Philipp Melanchthon, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. His surname at birth was Schwartzerd (“black earth” in German), but as a young man he Latinized his name to the classical equivalent Melanchthon (“black earth” in Greek).
We also saw some names at Red Rocks, which is both a park and a famous amphitheater.
The amphitheater was constructed from 1936 to 1941 by men in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program that existed during the Great Depression. One display included a photo of 124 of the men in the local CCC. Here are their first names, sorted by frequency: