How popular is the baby name Hill 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 Hill.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Hill


Posts that Mention the Name Hill

How did Kenesaw Mountain Landis get his name?

Baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866-1944)
Kenesaw Mountain Landis

If you know Major League Baseball history, no doubt you’re familiar with Kenesaw Mountain “Ken” Landis, who served as professional baseball’s first commissioner from 1921 to 1944.

But…do you know how he got that unusual name?

In 1862 — in the middle of the Civil War — Ken’s father, Dr. Abraham Landis, left his family behind in Ohio to serve as a surgeon in the Union Army. (His family, at that time, consisted of wife Mary and five young children.)

Abraham was severely wounded at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia on June 27, 1864. He spent many weeks in the hospital recovering before he was finally able to return home.

His sixth child, a son, arrived on November 20, 1866 — long after the war was over.

[I]t took Dr. and Mrs. Landis some time to decide on his name. In fact, the delay in providing a name prompted both family and community members to suggest a deluge of different names. Mary Landis did not like the name Abraham, so when Dr. Landis suggested calling their son “Kenesaw,” the name and alternate spelling stuck. Clearly, the site of the doctor’s personal tragedy remained in his thoughts.

The name of the mountain is an Anglicized form of the Cherokee name Gahneesah, which means “burial ground” or “place of the dead.”

(All of Ken’s eventual six siblings had more ordinary names: Katherine, Frances, Walter, Charles, John, and Frederick.)

Ken went on to pass the bar exam and attend law school (in that order) and, by the early 1890s, was practicing law in Chicago. Within a couple of years, he was offered (and accepted) a job in the federal government:

In the Union Army, Abraham Landis was under the command of Lt. Col. Walter Quinton Gresham during Sherman’s advance through Tennessee and Georgia. […] In 1893 Gresham was appointed secretary of state by President Grover Cleveland. He needed a personal secretary and he chose a 26-year-old Chicago attorney with no knowledge of foreign affairs, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

When Gresham unexpectedly died in 1895, Grover Cleveland offered Ken the post of minister to Venezuela. Ken declined this offer to return to private practice in Chicago and to get married to his fiancée, Winifred Reed.

A year later, Kenesaw and Winifred welcomed their first child, a son named Reed Gresham Landis — middle name in honor of Ken’s late boss (and his father’s former commander).

I have more to say about Kenesaw Mountain Landis, but I’ll save the rest for tomorrow. In the meanwhile, here’s a post about Malvern Hill — another unusual baby name inspired by a Civil War battle/location.

Sources:

Babies named for the Battle of Malvern Hill

Battle of Malvern Hill (1862)
Battle of Malvern Hill

The Civil War’s Battle of Malvern Hill was fought on July 1, 1862, near the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

And, as with the battles of Fort Sumter and Gettysburg, Malvern Hill had an influence on baby names. I’ve found dozens of U.S. babies with the name “Malvern Hill” — though many got the combo decades after the fact, which is interesting.

Here are the Malvern Hills I found from the 1860s specifically:

  • Malvern Hill Lash (Virginia, 1862)
  • Malvern Hill Barnum (New York, 1863)
    • Union soldier Henry Barnum, the father of Malvern Hill Barnum, was declared dead following the Battle of Malvern Hill. After his family held a funeral for him, he was discovered alive in a Confederate prison. He was rescued and sent home in mid-July. Baby Malvern arrived the following September.
  • Malvern Hill Logan (Georgia, 1864)
  • Malvern Hill Watts (Missouri, 1864)
  • Malvern Hill Foster (Virginia, 1865)
  • Malvern Hill Hill (Virginia, 1868) — yes, Hill twice

Speaking of Hill twice…the name Malvern can be traced back to the Welsh words moel and bryn, meaning “bare, bald” and “hill.” So, if you take etymology into account, the place name Malvern Hill is itself redundant (“bald hill hill”) and Mr. Malvern Hill Hill’s full name actually contains three words for hill.

Source: Battle of Malvern Hill – Wikipedia, Notes for Henry Alanson Barnum, Malvern Hill Barnum – Find a Grave

One-Syllable Boy Names: Colt, Wynn, Dax, Zane

Looking for a boy name that’s short and to-the-point? Something that might work particularly well as a middle name?

Check out this list of several hundred one-syllable boy names. (And click on any name to see its popularity graph!)

Please note that I did include names in the gray area between one syllable and two syllables. The deciding factor on these particular names (such as Charles, Miles, and Noel) will be your own interpretation/accent, so be sure to test the names out loud before making any final decisions.

Many of these names also happen to be unisex, so they appear on the One-Syllable Girl Names list as well.

What’s your favorite one-syllable boy name?

[Latest Update: June 2021]