Articles & Stories

Odd Names Found

In Kentucky's Postal

Guide Of 1903

From Conquerors, To Shakespeare, To Famous Women,

Kentucky's Post Office Towns Embody A Wealth Of History


Paducah News Democrat - 1903

There are both instruction and amusement to be gained from the forbidding-looking pages of the postal guide. It is simply an alphabetical list of the post office towns of each state, but the names embody a wealth of history, and commemorate men and women, too, who were great in literature, war, statesmanship, and science. Not only men but countries and cities famed for this or that, battlefields, mountains, and rivers are celebrated in the ancient or the modern world.
The Conquerors
Turn to Kentucky and near the beginning of the list is Attila, in Larue County, named after Attila the Hun, "The Scourge of God," who swept past the legions on the Rhine and brought desolation to the very gates of Rome. Yonder in Clay County is Brutus, named for the noblest Roman of them all, doubtless walking the fields of the blessed and rejoicing that he did not live to see his nation's overthrow. Napoleon, not forgotten, gives his name to a town in Gallatin County, while the hamlet of Austerlitz in Bourbon County commemorates his most sensational victory.
The Melancholy Dane is strewn around a water tank somewhere in Marshall County, while Shakespeare is over in Bourbon County with small hopes of getting to the shores of his native Avon in Fayette County.
Dryden in Wayne County, Gray in Knox County, Deboe in Henry County, and Rousseau in Breathitt County, show with what assurance our pioneer ancestors could turn to the beiles lettres to find names for things when they chose. There is Homer in Logan County, Ulysses in Lawrence County, and Cicero in Woodford County.
Famous Women
Rowena, Sir Walter Scott's heroine in Ivanhoe, has her good Saxon name affixed to a Russell County village; while Roxana, the Roman beauty, who had a shady rep, if we remember rightly, can look with pride to Letcher County. Cleopatra, in McLean County, and her rated rival, the Empress Augusta in Bracken County, are luckily separated by some good English miles, else there might be a sad lack of Concordia (Meade County). There is Carthage (Campbell County), but no Dido. Nevertheless, the classics have supplied us with two Goddesses, Aurora (Marshall County) and Flora (county unknown).
The Bible Drawn On
The frequency with which the Bible had been called on for names for budding Kentucky towns is a testimonial to the religious training of our fellow citizens of the commonwealth. Close to the top of the list is Abel (county unknown), but the fratricidal Cain has wisely been left to oblivion. In Whitley County there is the town of Angel, while the Ark rests in Bell County. Berea, Bethany, Bethlehem, Calvary, and so on down to Zion. The list of Bible names is a long one. Ruth is in Caldwell County, Naomi in Pulaski County, and Boaz is in Graves County. Balm is in Fleming County and Gilead in Montgomery. Paradise is in Muhlenberg County and Eden in Butler.
Gold Bug And Free Silver
While dealing with entomological matter, however, Gold Bug, Kentucky, looms up in the forefront. Gold Bug is in Whitley County, and its name is held responsible for the fact that the county refused to be persuaded by the doctrine of free silver. Gold Bug is not far from Rye, and the revenue men who chased the blithe moonshiner in the locality say the taste of anything but corn juice is unknown "coming through the Rye."
Some Bold, Bad Burgs
Other counties besides Whitley County, however, have towns with dissipated names. For instance how about: Jamboree in Pike County, Jingo in Ohio County, Jinks in Estill County, Gee in Anderson County, Odds in Johnson County, Keno in Pulaski County, Kidder in Wayne County, and Jolly in Daviess County. Nick is located in Edmondson County, but there is no qualifying adjective to attest to its antiquity. Cash and Coin are in Hardin and Pulaski counties, respectively. Choice is in Clay County and Select in Ohio County, Seventy-six in Clinton County, Eighty-eight in Barren County, Skip in Pulaski, Stop in Grayson, Chill in Edmondson County, Zero in Hart County, and Ice in Letcher County. Cruise (doubtless suggested by the widow's cruise of oil) maybe discovered if one scans the map of Laurel County closely enough, and Lazarus may pickup a Crum somewhere in Lewis County.
An Abbreviated Village
Whoever discovered Pulaski County was forced to resort to abbreviations, hence the town of O. K. Kodak in Perry County is another up-to-date place; likewise, Tobacco in Calloway County, Tolu in Crittenden County, and Wax in Grayson County.
"Bosco Eats 'Em Alive"
The "dark and bloody ground" must have put a sinister touch on some of its geographical features. Way down in Calloway County is a small place which flaunts the dreaded appellation of blood. Bosco in Floyd County is doubtless in a region thickly populated by snakes. Boxer is in Breathitt County, Cyclone in Monroe County, Savage in Clinton County, and Cannon in Knox County.
Roosevelt Popular
As far as statesmen are concerned Henry Clay, like Abu Ben Adam, leads all the rest. The virtues of Chatham, Cooking, Hamilton, Randolph, Henry, Adams, Blaine, Lincoln, and others are commemorated, but for prompt and efficient commemoration nobody has been commemorated like President Roosevelt, for though the recent trend of political feeling is indicated by Democrat (Letcher). We can point proudly to a Teddy in Casey County, a Roosevelt in Breathitt County, also, and furthermore, a Schley in Logan County.
Who says there is not instruction and diversion in the postal guide?