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Howdy, Pilgrim



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In yesterday’s Impromptus, I had a little fun with names, including Pilgrim names, or Puritan names. A reader had earlier mentioned “Experience Bliss.” Another reader came back with “Thankful Clapp.” Here are some new ones:

Near Greensboro, Vt., there was a monument to two colonial-era residents, “killed by Indians and buried where they fell.” One was Constant Bliss. The other was Moses Sleeper. This was when I was a child — don’t know whether the monument is still there. But I remember thinking that “Constant Sleeper” would have been a great name.

Another reader writes,

My family has traced some roots to the Mayflower (as I’m sure many others have). [That was modest!] My great-great-ad-infinitum-grandfather was the first baby born to the Pilgrims in the New World. He was born onboard the Mayflower while it was at anchor in Provincetown Harbor. His name was Peregrine White. His older brother was Resolved.

Marvelous. The reader followed up his note with a second note:

I might also mention my father’s paternal grandfather: Zebediah Ace Brady. My wife was never more pleased than when she found out we were having a girl — she was three times pleased, in fact. She feared that I would insist on using that name for a boy. I mean, how much more masculine can you be than to be called Ace? My wife has never bought into that logic. Guess I’ll have to bestow the name on a dog or something.

This isn’t a Pilgrim name, but it’s well worth knowing about:

Jay, you’ve reminded me of a name I ran across in New Glarus, Wis., “America’s Little Switzerland.” In the center of town is an obelisk put up to honor the community’s original settlers. They came from Switzerland in the 1840s. Among the dozen or so listed was a gentleman named Hilarious Wild. I wondered what his mother was thinking.

Let me do one more — a contemporary one:

Recently, someone showed me a school record for a kid named Nosmo King. When you run his name together, it’s No Smoking.

No, one more: A reader offered the name of a pioneer of free-market economics, and the father of fire insurance; an Englishman born in, or around, 1640. His name is given in various ways. But it goes something like this: Nicholas If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-for-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barbon.

Beat that.



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