George Brinton McClellan, born in Philadelphia in 1826, served as a general during the initial years of the American Civil War. For several of those months — from November 1861 to March 1862 — he was the commander of the entire Union Army.
In 1864, he unsuccessfully ran for president against Abraham Lincoln. Years later, he was elected governor of New Jersey (1878-1881).
Hundreds of U.S. baby boys were named after George B. McClellan, particularly during the first half of the 1860s. Some examples…
A high percentage of McClellan’s namesakes were born in his home state of Pennsylvania. In fact, the name Brinton (which was McClellan’s mother’s maiden name) still sees its highest usage in Pennsylvania, according to the SSA’s state-by-state baby name data.
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.
“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.