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Texas | Columns | Bob Bowman's East Texas

Town Names

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman
A highway engineer in Nacogdoches County once told me that keeping a highway sign at Looneyville was an exercise in futility. "Within hours after we put up a new sign, it disappears," he said.

Where do they all go? "Probably on the dorm walls at SFA (the local university)," he guessed.

The highway department, however, shouldn't be too harsh with SFA's students for swiping Looneyville's signs. After all, there are some town signs in East Texas that will always be irresistible. Looneyville--which was named for a local farm family--not the population in general or its proximity to Crazy Creek--is one of them.

They also have a lot of trouble with signs at Diddy Waw Diddy in Brazoria County. One explanation is that Diddy Way Diddy is a conception of heaven--a place of no work or worry--conceived by early slaves. Another version claims Diddy Way Diddy was the last depot stop to hell, and youngsters who could mend their ways were destined for Diddy Waw Diddy.

Nogalus Prairie in Trinity County, supposedly got its name when the local citizenry tried to dispatch a horse thief to hell, but couldn't find a suitable gallows on the treeless prairie. Actually, the town was once known as Logallis, and somehow became what it is today.

Residents of a town in Houston County wanted to name their town Neches because of its closeness to a river, but were informed by the post office that the name had already been taken. Someone added another pencil mark to the first letter and it became Weches.

In l882, the Panola County town of Linus became Deadwood as the result of a joke on those who were trying to get a post office closer to the Sabine River. During the deliberations, someone remarked: "We've got the deadwood on them now."

Old Granny's Neck in Delta County got its name from an old woman who raised goats on a neck of the South Sulphur River.

Scrapping Valley in Newton County and Cut N' Shoot in Montgomery County were reportedly named for the ornery disposition of the local menfolk.

People who run across the name Point Blank in San Jacinto County confuse it with cowboy mythology. The name actually comes from Blanc Point (White Point), a name used by a Frenchwoman who lived there.

In 1903, Ira Bean built a store and established a post office named Horger for the president of a local school board. But when postal officials kept confusing Horger with Borger and Spurger, Bean substituted Bean's Place.

One of my favorite creek names is Can't 'Cha Get Over Creek in Kaufman County, which got its name because of its tendency to overflow after a rainfall.

Another favorite creek name is Swamppoodle Creek in Bowie County. The name refers to a puddle, not a dog, in a swampy area.

Choice in Shelby County was named when postal officials submitted three possible names to local residents and told them,"Pick your choice." They did, ignoring the three other names.

Uncertain in Harrison County was once called Uncertain Landing because of the difficulty boats had in mooring at the Caddo Lake port.

People who notice the sign to Latexo, in Houston County, think that it has been misplaced from the border of Louisiana and Texas. Thatís close, but the town was named for the Louisiana and Texas Orchard Company, a local business.


All Things Historical November 19, 2008 Column.
Published with permission
A weekly column syndicated in 70 East Texas newspapers

More on Naming of Texas Towns

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    Of the roughly 2,000 town names on the official state map, over 400 of them are first names.
  • The Naming of Names
  • Those strange town names by Bob Bowman
    While some early East Texans named their towns for families, their hometowns or landmarks, othes were a tad more creative...
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  • Why did they name it that? by Archie P. McDonald
  • Wonder Why They Named it That by Archie P. McDonald
  • A Geography Lesson by Bob Bowman
  • New Geography - Place name tweaking of several Counties and County Seats by Mike Cox
  • Twin Towns by Mike Cox
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  • Boo-boo towns by Mike Cox
    The Texas map is sprinkled with cities and towns that got their names by mistake...
  • Population Ranks by Mike Cox
    The historic urban population hierarchy and population figures dating back to 1850...

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