did they call it that? by
let anyone tell you that the people who picked names for some of East Texas' earliest
communities were not imaginative or lacked a sense of humor. |
Earpville, which went into the makeup of Longview.
The settlement was named for James Earp, but it almost became "Steal Easy" when
a traveler in a covered wagon threw out a line and a fishhook baited with grain
into a flock of geese Someone remarked that "it was a easy way to steal," and
for years, Earpville was known as "Steal Easy."
As settlers in Shelby County
contemplated a name for a new settlement, a deer approached a store and snorted
at people. People called the community "Buck Snort," but later changed it to Buena
Vista for a town in Mexico where a local resident had fought a battle.
In Newton County, the scattered community of Scrapping Valley supposedly got its
name when a boy tore up his girl friend's photograph in church, and she gave him
a solid thrashing. The couple was later married.
in Cherokee County, an old community dating back to the 1880s, supposedly got
its name when a young lady lost her petticoat during a community dance. Still-visible
lettering on the garment indicted it had once been a Java coffee sack.
Play in Panola County was named by a traveler who spent a night at Pine Hill,
in neighboring Rusk County and complained of the excessive costs. He was treated
with fairness in a neighboring town and dubbed the town as "Fair Play" and nicknamed
Pine Hill as "Rake Pocket."
was the camp of pirate Jean Laffite on the Sabine River in Sabine County. The
name came from the shackling sounds made by chained prisoners when they walked.
Stryker, a sawmill town near Corrigan in Polk County, was renamed Pluck when someone
remarked that any man who lived in the town had to have "a lot of Pluck." A little
town in Titus County was called Gouldsboro, but changed its name to Talco when
the post office kept sending its mail to Goldsboro in West Texas. The name Talco
was taken from the initials of a name on a carton resting on a store shelf, "Texas-Arkansas-Louisiana
Fodice in Trinity County got its name for "Four Dice," a game
played by its men. Another story says the town was named for Fordyce, Arkansas,
but misspelled. Some town names came about when people reversed the spelling of
local names. Some examples are Reklaw
(Walker), Sacul (Lucas), and Remlig
A town in Cherokee County was known as "Skin Tight," apparently
for its stingy disposition, but changed the name to a more respectable Lone
Ghent, also in
Cherokee County, was named for a town in Belgium, but another story came from
the salutation, "Howdy, Gents."
Some ghost town devotees like to use the
names of three logging towns in this ditty: "Pluck Plank and Platt. I don't know
where they're at." Plucks was in Polk County, Plank in Hardin County and Platt
was in Angelina County."
Lickskillet was a name often used for several
East Texas places, such as a road in counties along the Sabine River and the community
of Bethany in Panola County.
The name comes from a hungry man who arrived at a country supper, discovered that
all the food had been eaten, and he had to "lick the skillet."
incidentally, straddles the Texas-Louisiana line. The owner of a store sitting
on the line often took advantage of the different state laws. In half of his store
liquor was legal and in the other half, gambling was legal.
Things Historical March 7, 2006 Column.
Syndicated in over
Published with permission
(Distributed by the East Texas
Historical Association. Bob Bowman of Lufkin is a past president of the Association
and the author of more than 30 books about East Texas.)