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Unusual old timey names

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Early settlers gave their daughters some charming names, although at the time they were not considered unusual or any more charming than Mary, Jane, or Sally. Here are a few, gleaned from the Tarrant County census of 1850, that appear unusual to our eyes.

The name Permelia, which showed up in seven of the 79 families listed in that 1850 census, was the most prevalent of the 'old fashioned' names. Major Ripley Arnold, commandant of newly established Fort Worth, had a daughter born in Florida who was named 'Florida.' And one of the three Dizannas listed on the census rolls was a daughter of Susanah Foster, whose cabin was the first house in Grapevine.

Farilda was a child of Big John Elliston, the blacksmith at Birdville, first county seat of Tarrant County. Almeda was the name of Richard Crowley's young wife; Didamay Howerton was listed as age 17 and unmarried, but Dosha Ann Foster, age 22, was already a widow. The wife of Middleton Tate Johnson, of Johnson's Station, was Vreena.

Selete, Seleta and Salita were all present on the census rolls—possibly the census takers misspelling of the same first name (census takers of that day were not always accurate in their 'spelling-by-ear' lists). Archie Leonard, Fort Worth's first storekeeper, had daughters named Selete and Barbesha.  In addition to Florida, noted above, we find America, Alabama and Texana on the census records.  And Lucitta, Aramenta, Jebitha and Medora are wives or daughters in White's Settlement. One set of triplets is listed: Permelia, Mahulda, and James Neil. Arlalisa and Cimbla Moore were sisters ---- and while listing other unusual names without comment, the census taker noted that Jephany Porter was female. Aviriah Howerton could be a man's name, but the Tarrant County listing was a woman. And there was Mrs. Sevina Lane, who named her sons Camuth and Rocksey, so the females had no monopoly on unusual pioneer names.

----- A.C. Greene, Texas Sketches, 1979

Thanks to Traces for letting us know about this great book. I bought one then bought two more for friends! 

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Thank you, Sal. I was looking for a Texas Quote of the Day for social media and purloined this.  Here's a photo of Maj. Ripley Arnold, whose life ended badly when he was shot in a duel with Josephus Steiner at Fort Graham in 1853.


Major Ripley A. Arnold and Wife Catherine Bryant.jpg

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