What's In A Name?

bill_torrens

Cadet
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Winslow, Buckinghamshire
Most of us know about Jefferson Davis. How his devotion to the Union saw him rise to the rank of Brigadier General, commanding a division at Pea Ridge and Corinth. And how he shot his former commanding officer, General William Nelson, in apparently cold blood in a hotel lobby.



If he had a short temper, is it anything to be wondered at? With a name like his, imagine how many people must have thought it screamingly funny to draw his attention to it. As if they were the first ones ever to have noticed that, ha ha ha, he was Jeff Davis but he wasn’t the Jeff Davis.



I know a little about this. I have a very close friend who shares exactly the same name as a British actor who was a household name in the 70s and early 80s. Oh, the merry quips he had to endure.



But at least Jefferson C. Davis was, to some extent, protected by his rank. So spare a thought for the (at least) 41 other men named Jefferson Davis who served in the ranks or as junior officers in the Union forces. Think what life must have been like for them.



And what about the 15 boys in blue named Thomas J. Jackson? The couple named P. Beauregard? And poor old Braxton Bragg, of Co.B, 54th Connecticut Infantry? Joseph E. Johnston struggled on in the 170th Ohio. A.P. Hill tried to make a go of things in the 8th Illinois Cavalry. 64 men coped with the vicissitudes of life as Yankees named Joe Wheeler.



It wasn’t much easier in the opposing armies. William L. Garrison’s happy times around the camp fires of the 47th Virginia may be imagined in the light of his desertion in 1862. There was at least one George B. McClellan and a William T. Sherman. Four devoted sons of the South coped with being named Joe Hooker, and another four somehow found the will to get up every morning knowing they were called George Custer.



Spare a particular thought for the four Johnnies whose parents had thought it wise to name them Benjamin F. Butler. How perfectly beastly!



But, more than anything, give solemn thought to the lot of a private in Co.F, 1st Va. Cavalry. I’m talking about Old Abe. Abe Lincoln. Abraham B. Lincoln, of Rockingham County, if you want to be formal. How he must have looked forward to being asked his name. What japery must have ensued.



He deserted in 1864.



[This data was extracted from the Civil War Personnel Database at http://www.civilwardata.com/active/pers_dir.html Subscription required for access.]





Note to Unionblue: You might want to ponder on this before you ever take a vacation in Britain. You share exactly the same name as a disgraced former Member of Parliament, who is the living embodiment of sleaze and who now eaks out a living on TV game shows.
 

sockknitter

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Texas
Somewhat in that vein, I wondered about the town of Sherman, Texas, until I fouind out it was NOT named for Willam T. And I found out Ellsworth, Iowa, was not named for Elmer Ellsworth. Crooks, SD always amused me and I don't yet know how it got its name.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Dear Bill,

I knew there was a reason I never left the airport in London when our plane landed there during an inflight emergency!:smile:

However, I thought the name Hamilton was quite respected in some eras of British history and other parts of English society. Emma Hamilton comes to mind...Oh? What's that? Some sort of trouble with a sailor chap? Hmmm... Oh, well, certainly the other fellows named Hamilton, eh? Oh? You would recommend a bit more research before making any other claims or such?

Perhaps....

Sincerely,
Unionblue
PS Any Torrens of the past that you would like to remain in their historical closet, dear chum?
 

dawna

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
canada
"Female Sailor," paragraph from the September 6, Standard

"The remains of a woman who had had a remarkable career were yesterday interred at a village near Warrington. Her name was Elizabeth Taylor, but locally she was known as Happy Ned. She had for years dressed in male attire. She served as a sailor during the War for Secession in America. She was afterwards employed in the docks at Liverpool, and still later earned her living as a navvy and a farm laborer. Deceased, who as fifty-six years old; had appeared in male attire before the magistrates several times for drunkenness." (486)

[Ed. note: Taylor most likely served on a Confederate blockade-runner or raider such as Alabama, as many of their crews were British and Confederate ships were built in England.]

Notes and Queries VII, Series IV, December 17, 1889
 

sgtcsa

Cadet
Joined
Mar 8, 2005
Location
Blaine, Wa.
Bill,
Good job. Every name, has it's good and bad I guess. I suppose it's which side of the border you're on that makes the difference. It looks to me like you've done quite a bit of research, to come up with what you have. It's just like geneaology, no matter how much research you do, there is always a little more you can do. It just depends on far you wish to go. How much is enough? You don't have to find everything there is, to make a point.

Warm Regards,
SgtCSA
 

bill_torrens

Cadet
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Winslow, Buckinghamshire
Hi VS,

Tom Baker is an excellent guess, since there is a fair statistical chance of my knowing someone of that name. [Are you a fan of Dr. Who?]

But, no. The actor I had in mind is named Richard O'Sullivan. I'm sure he's completely unknown in America, but he was the bee's knees on TV over here for many years.

Neil,

No, there are neither famous nor infamous people named Torrens. Most appear to have been dull, sober, Ulster farmers.

The name Hamilton is a different matter, of course. But there is only one Neil Hamilton known to the general public in Britain. If you don't know anything about him, you might want to trawl the internet. It doesn't make pretty reading!

Bill
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Cool

Sure love The Doctor....once spent a semester on Gallifrey.

I must say though that I'm more of a fan of the short-lived 5th Doctor,played by Peter Davison.

I read somewhere that when Baker announced he was leaving the role,it was the lead story on the BBC that night. Figured he would have been very popular
and the time matched up.

Later,

VS...etc

:sabre:

"The Master leaves nothing to chance"
 
A

aphillbilly

Guest
Bill,

For some mad reason, the only guess I had was lovable Tod Slaughter but alas, he died far too soon to be your fellow. I am an avid film buff, or movie snob, but I confess to having drawn a blank on Mr O'Sullivan. Upon doing the standard imdb search I saw he was in a lot of films I had seen. One I never had the chance to. The story based on Dick Turpin. Stream of consciousness topic shift: No longer can I see the name Dick Turpin without thinking of Newt in Pratchett's 'Good Omens' naming his car Dick Turpin. "He called it Dick Turpin, in the hope that one day someone would ask him why"

On names, and film, I always disliked when Colonel Blake was replaced on M*A*S*H for Missourian named Sherman.

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering. Dick Turpin was a famous highwayman. Hence why Newt named his car after him. Because everywhere he went he held up traffic. I know. Groan.



tommy
 

scone

2nd Lieutenant
Honored Fallen Comrade
Excelent post indeed ..
In family tree there are two George Washington Cone's

One was my 3rd great grand father was in "Roddey's" 4th alabama Cav

The other was a first cousin of my 3rd greast grand father and was in Co. G of 77 Ill Vol. Infantry.

Regards, Steven
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
Thank you, Bill.

A highly amusing post as evident by the responses you've received. Comic relief. Kind of tends to mend and reunify, doesn't it?

Again, thanks.
Ole
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Dear Bill,

I can see where 'your' Neil Hamilton is nothing more than what we here in the States would call a 'sleaze bucket' but I assure you, I feel I have no family connection with him or would call him an ancestor.

No, I feel that I have many of the fine attributes of America's well known Neil Hamilton and would be proud to be called on by the title than he has noblely earned in service here, as I feel our bloodlines are very close, very close indeed.

I am speaking of course, of that servant of mankind and example to all of the Hamilton line, Neil Hamilton, aka, Commissioner Gorden in the 1960's TV series, 'Batman.'

I must leave you for the moment, my dear friend, I have to clean the Bat-signal tonight and I think I here the Bat-phone ringing.:smile:

Until that time,
Unionblue
 

bill_torrens

Cadet
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Winslow, Buckinghamshire
I've just come across this name, and I have to share it.

He lived in Person County, N.C. He was a private in Co.G, 15th N.C. Infantry. A good rebel, obviously.

And his name was Epluribus Unum Ragan. Ironic, or what?
 
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