We’ve all heard of early American politician Aaron Burr, but not as many of us know about his daughter, Theodosia — a well-educated socialite whose mysterious disappearance in early 1813 kept Americans intrigued for decades.
On the last day of 1812, 29-year-old Theodosia set sail from South Carolina (where she lived with her husband, Joseph Alston, the newly elected governor) to New York, to visit her father.
She was never seen again.
Presumably her ship was wrecked in a storm off Cape Hatteras, and all aboard were lost at sea.
No one knew for sure, though, and this left room for a number of alternative theories (many of which involved pirates).
These theories were printed and re-printed in the newspapers and other publications for decades to come. For instance, the following illustration of Theodosia being forced to walk the plank (by pirates, of course) was published in a California newspaper in 1906 — almost a century after her disappearance.
Thanks to these recurring stories, dozens (possibly hundreds?) of baby girls were named “Theodosia Burr” during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some examples…
Politician Robert Marion La Follette (1855-1925) served as Governor of Wisconsin (from 1901 to 1906) and as U.S. Senator from Wisconsin (from 1906 to 1925).
In 1924, he unsuccessfully ran for U.S. President as a third-party candidate. He wasn’t able to overcome Coolidge, but he did win 16.6% of the popular vote (and he carried the state of Wisconsin, of course).
Dozens of baby boys — most born in the state of Wisconsin, unsurprisingly — were named in La Follette’s honor during the early decades of the 1900s. Some examples…
The fourth namesake on this list went on to be appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1966. (He was the second Native American to hold the position.) He was sworn in by Lyndon B. Johnson, who said:
This morning Mr. Robert La Follette Bennett — who bears this great name of an American who fought all of his life for the rights of his fellow citizens, named for a man who is revered from one end of the country to the other, and now his namesake — comes here to assume a position in which he will be able to carry on that proud tradition.
Dozens of other babies were given the first name La Follette. For instance, La Follette Marion Allen was born in Wisconsin in 1902. (His father was named DeWitt Clinton Allen, interestingly.)
Several months after Robert M. La Follette passed away in 1925, his son Robert M. La Follette, Jr., was elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy. La Follette, Jr., served in the Senate for more than 21 years before he was finally ousted in the mid-1940s by none other than Joseph McCarthy.
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The small Canadian city of Port Alberni, which is located on Vancouver Island, finally welcomed its first baby of 2023 on the morning of January 4.
Born at West Coast General Hospital to parents Andre-Anne and Joseph Danshin, the baby boy was named Solander Laurent Danshin.
He was named after Solander Island, an ecological reserve off the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. Both his parents work at sea, said Andre-Anne.
“It’s a name that resonates a lot with us,” she said.
The small, rocky island of Solander — which was named in honor of Swedish botanist Daniel Solander (1733-1782), who had been a pupil of Carl Linnaeus — was designated as a reserve in 1971 in order to “protect large colonies of breeding seabirds and their habitat.”
The Swedish surname Solander is made up of the elements sol, meaning “sun” in Swedish (and various other languages), and andros, meaning “man” in Ancient Greek. (Andros is also an element in Andre-Anne’s compound first name.)
What are your thoughts on the name Solander?
P.S. Solander has an older brother named Beaufort.