Come Play The Name Game

Names can be funny. Who hasn’t felt sorry for the guy in high school named Harry Pitts (hope that wasn’t your brother). I’m sure some of you have wondered about my name-Tipper. My big brother, Steve, is responsible for me being Tipper.

He is 5 years older than I am and has always watched out for me-just like a big brother should. When I was a toddler learning to walk I fell down-a lot. He was afraid I would get hurt so he started trying to warn Pap and Granny “she’s going to tip over, she’s going to tip over” he finally just started calling me Tipper. And amazingly the name has stuck all these years.

Places have funny names too. In Appalachia, there is no shortage of strange names for cities, towns, roads, streets, and communities.

Numerous names used in the US came from over the big pond with the first settlers. Raleigh, Charleston, and London come to mind.

Many times names are repetitive from state to state-like Trenton, Springfield or Austin. But the really strange ones always make me wonder. Here is a list of 5 odd community names I have come across.

  1. Wehutty
  2. Hot House
  3. Bug Scuttle
  4. Hard Scrabble
  5. Hanging Dog

Just makes you want to know who came up with the names and why didn’t someone stop them?

Pinhook is on the other side of the ridge from where I live-last year I discovered where it’s name came from. A local man wanted to fish in the creek-but didn’t have a hook-he took a pin and fashioned it into a hook. Everyone teased him about fishing with a pinhook-and eventually the area came to be known as Pinhook. Neat uh?

Hope you’ll play along with the name game and leave a list of the peculiar names you’ve come across in your neck of the woods.


Parts of this post were originally published here on the Blind Pig on April 7, 2008.


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  • Reply
    March 3, 2011 at 10:27 am

    My grandfather is buried in Looneyville, WV.
    My grandmother lived in Pinch, WV.
    Near me there is a road named, Our Road. I’ve always wondered if I moved to a house on that road would I be considered an OUR or would it be THEIR road and I just live on it. LOL

  • Reply
    Sue (now proud to be a Mema to 2 generations
    March 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    love the names — being born in Ducktown, guess I would. Now living in Florida which has a town named Two Egg!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    There is a town near me named Scratch Ankle. I have no idea how it got that name!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Hey Tipper – I went to elementary school with a girl named Seena Robin. And in my tiny little town we have Booger Hill Road, Nowhere Road, and my doctor’s office is on a short driveway that has the distinctive name of Nomora Road.
    Hope you have a wonderful day.

  • Reply
    Rose Clawson
    February 27, 2011 at 8:58 am

    I live just north of Maybe, MI!

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    February 27, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I love how you got your name.
    The name of a town that comes to my mind is Doe Bag.
    I’ve had a good chuckle reading the responses to this post!
    Patty H.

  • Reply
    February 27, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Agisilaos is one of the rarest and strangest Greek names for boys named after the spartan king Agisilaos II. The name derives from the ancient greek verb ago = guide and laos = people. Agisilaos is the man who guides the people – a leader.
    In high school, a classmate of mine was called Agisilaos. He hated his name, so we called him Agis for short. After high school, he spent a few years in the UK where no one could pronounce his name properly – except the Greeks! So he changed it into Agi!!

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    February 27, 2011 at 1:21 am

    I grew up in the neighborhood known as Highland Park. It really was not in the country – it was close to town and Pisgah Drive – so I walked to school every day from the time I was in the first grade until I had some friends with cars in the 12th grade. Nana

  • Reply
    February 27, 2011 at 12:25 am

    There’s an East Texas town called “Cut and Shoot”.
    I always liked that name, and think it would be a hoot to be from Cut and Shoot.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    February 26, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    This one’s fun! Went through Burnt House & War,West Virginia last week. For the PG-13 crowd,we used to have to tell people to turn down Dicks Trail at Bob’s Knob to get to our house! Fortunately, my neighbor renamed her property. In Madison County, there is a place called Nekkid Place Mountain. However, my all time favorite name belonged to my great-uncle, Love Everhart. He was a lovely man who lived up to that wonderful name!

  • Reply
    SandyCarlson (USA)
    February 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks for the story behind your name. That is sweet.
    There’s a Hardscrabble Road over in Fishkill, New York. An old expression, maybe?
    Seems around here we have flat, uninventive names like Jack’s Brook, Goat Pond, Pond Brook. We are not risk-takers up this way!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    We play this game when traveling..writing down all the unusual road, settlement and town names…
    We have Bugtussle, Wartburg, Lickskillet, Cave Creek, Bell Buckle, Copper Basin, Copper Hill, Rockwood, Paint Rock, Only, Soddy-Daisey. Distance names: Four-Mile, Five-Mile and Ten Mile…Also lots of animal names.. Deer Creek, Turkey Creek,Bear Creek, Ducktown,Turtletown,Raccoon Valley,Fox-Lonas etc.Veggie names: Bean Station, Strawberry Plains.Trees: Oakdale,Walnut Log, Dogwood.. Weather related names: Sunbright,Windrock,Cloudland, Daysville. The one that I always wondered about was, Ozone, Tn…been named that for years…long before the Ozone layer was a subject of pollution distruction…It’s a small community smack dab in the curves of the mountains here..Hard to believe there would be an Ozone problem there at all…
    Thanks Tipper great post…

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    The first time I drove up to Langley to visit with my sister, we passed by a town called Gumberry… I thought that one was cute!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    There are three that come to mind for me immediately; one is Lizard Lick, NC, one is Intercourse, PA and one is Big Bone Lick, OH. And no, I don’t know why they’re named that. LOL

  • Reply
    Kim Campbell
    February 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Wondered how you got the nickname! Great story! The girls are getting sooo big. Wow, and beautiful too.
    I wish you;d put your civil war letters into a book. I’d buy it!

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    February 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I have been reading your posts for several months now and I really love them! Where I live in n.w. Georgia.. we have a Possom Trot, a Booger Holler and a Booze Mountain Road. I have passed through a town that was named “Between” and you can guess why, it was between two other towns!

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    February 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    We have several strange named roads around Aberdeen Ohio, I cannot think of very many but there is Fishing Gut, Slickaway and Lick Skillet I have no idea where they came from though. Around the Florence Ky. area there is a town named Rabbit Hash and it’s mayor is a rust colored border collie, We visited it last summer it has 4-5 buildings and if you visit and pick up a stick to throw for the mayor you could stay busy all day, you may of heard of it being it has been on TV.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    February 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    There are so many fun names in these mountains that I’d hardly know where to start – Thunderhead, Rocky Top, Defeat Ridge, Bearwallow Bald, Cold Spring Knob, Advalorem Branch, Blockhouse Mountain, Turkey Flyup, Deeplow Gap, Bone Valley, Desolation Branch, Dripping Spring Mountain, Hostility Branch…and on and on.
    But one of my favorites is Mollies Butt (which is on the lead that runs northwest from Devils Tater Patch and Lawson Gant Lot), and is at the head of Licklog Branch.
    Now Mollie might have been a cousin of Rhonda’s Phoebe Butt – I don’t know. But there was a poem written about Mollie which I think you’ll enjoy. The version I saw attributed it to a Paul Fisk, but I wonder if it wasn’t Paul Fink, who wrote a little book about named places.
    Here’s the poem:
    Mollie’s Butt
    In the far-off Smoky Mountains,
    Where the black bear makes his home
    There’s a crag called Charlie’s Bunion
    And a peak called Clingman’s Dome
    But the spot that takes my fancy
    And it’s there I’d build my hut
    Is a shapely little hillock
    That is known as Mollie’s Butt.
    There it stands in storm and sunshine
    While the changing seasons pass
    Named, no doubt in tender tribute,
    To some pink-cheeked mountain lass.
    There is found the ripest berry,
    There is found the sweetest nut
    And the setting sun grows crimson
    As it kisses Mollie’s Butt.
    You may scale the high Himalayas
    Braving Everest’s icy scorn,
    You make sink your iron pitons
    In Mount Blanc or Matterhorn,
    But when I go a-mountaineering
    I’ll forsake that common rut,
    For I’m heading for the Smokies
    With my eyes on Mollie’s Butt.
    By the way, if you don’t recognize the names of the other places I mentioned that are near Mollies Butt, it is about 3 miles south of the center of Cades Cove.

  • Reply
    Jerry McKelvy
    February 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    A town near us is named Smackover. We also have some communities called Goose Ankle, Terrapin Neck, and Possum Trot.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I knew a man named Harry Head. I’ve heard of an Ima Pigg. How awful to be named such names!
    I was born on the Rattlesnake Branch at Mistletoe, KY. KY also has a place called Monkey’s Eyebrow. There is a road here in our county called Dead Ox Hollow Rd. Sure some strange names out there for roads and people!!!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I grew up on Tupper’s Creek (named after a trapper with the last name of Tupper in the 1700s) and if you take a left about halfway up the holler you are then on Buzzard Rock road. And real close by is a road called Wolf Pen. I know they aren’t too unusual, but those were the first ones I thought of.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    we did a house once on goaWay…also did one on slop bucket road and a no trespassin lane, hogs hollow n devils den then there are the Pickleslimers and a kid i went to school with daddies name was dick wadd! :O

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Around here in east Texas, there’s Scrouge Out, Willow Slew, Broom City, Pert and Noonday. Have no idea how the names came about.

  • Reply
    Rhonda Haslam
    February 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    There’s a small widespot in the road in Kentucky named Chevrolet near. To get to my grandparents’ home in Southwestern Virginia you had to go across a ridge called Phoebe’s Butt. When I was newly married, we lived in Four Mile, Kentucky. It was exactly 4 miles from “town”.
    Gotta love small towns.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    February 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Brings to mind two fellows I knew in the Navy. One, a Sioux Indian, was named Stanly Many White Horses. the Navy shortened his name to Many. The other, Maxwell Standing in Water was a Navajo. He became Max Standing.

  • Reply
    Dale Anderson
    February 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    How about Possumneck in Mississippi? Must be a friend of Clay’s Corner in Brasstown.

  • Reply
    Susan L
    February 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    My favorite crazy named place, is Big Ugly, WV. Every time I pass the sign going down US119, I can’t help chuckling to myself. I remember when I was little the local newspaper’s headline one day was Big Ugly Woman found dead. Someone sent it to the Jay Leno show and he showed it on his tv show!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    and Long Hungry Rd.
    and Hard Labor Rd.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    “Dippin Road” sorta reminds me of “Witch Duck Rd” in southeastern Virginia…where early settlers dunked witches to rid their sinful ways.
    But dear to my heart is
    Needmore Rd with Licklog Rd. in the same community.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    there is a town in FL called Two Egg, wonder where they got that one?

  • Reply
    Dolores Barton
    February 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Now you have made me wonder where my lifelong nickname came from. My real name is Dolores, but I have been called Dory all my life by family and others. I am well past retirement; I was never curious about it. Now I am! I have one living aunt; perhaps, I need to do a bit of research before she meets her maker. Interesting post!

  • Reply
    Uncle Dave
    February 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Our home place is on Watson Ridge between Furnace and Cob Hill Kentucky. My Dad was from on Greenbrier in Wolfe County and Mother was from Fincastle on Big Andy Ridge in Lee County. My Aunt Grace always said she was born on Devil’s Creek and raised on Hell’s Creek. No unusual names here in Eastern Kentucky is there?
    Howdy to Pap and Paul.

  • Reply
    My Carolina Kitchen
    February 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I’m so glad to learn how you became Tipper. A good friend of ours name is Dick Pyles. Can you imagine having to grow up with that name?
    If you know how Hanging Dog got its name, I would love to know.

  • Reply
    Nancy @ A Rural Journal
    February 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    What a fun and clever post.
    The only story that comes to mind is about a forested area very close to our house that we kids used to frequent. We always called it Charlie Carlane. “Want to go play at Charlie Carlane?” It wasn’t until years later I discovered the true name of the area was Trollie Car Lane. I guess we thought Charlie Carlane was more mysterious. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    These are a lot of fun and I wish
    I could remember more, but at the
    Tag Office in Murphy they have
    tags that say: Where in heck is
    Aquone, NC? Why its right next to
    Kyle. And I got a friend who lives
    between Topton and Granny Squirrel
    at Cooper Siden. All these are our
    community main roads. Things really get weird if you travel the
    back roads.
    I was impressed to see the out-
    pouring of prayers and support for
    Pap and his family…Ken

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Odd names sure can be fun! I used to work for a local attorney. In our files there actually was a Harry Pitts! Some other fun names were Snatchco, Purdy, Manypenny and Cashdollar.
    We’ve done our share to contribute to the fun in this area, somewhere here in Ohio we have a town called Knockemstiff! A stone’s throw away, in western Pennsylvania, we have (and I’ve been to all of them) Intercourse, Mars, Moon and Ohiopyle. We also have a lot of nearly unpronouncable native names. Your Wehutty is interesting; sounds native, or maybe scots-irish for a small crude house? We may never know!
    I’m with you – makes you wonder why no one stopped them, though I’m glad no one did!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    February 26, 2011 at 11:59 am

    My most memorable name was a guy in college named Royal Fink III. he was called Roy, but he had fun introducing himself to strangers by saying, “Hi, I’m Royal Fink!!” just to see their reaction.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Well my name is Joji a combination of my moms name and my aunts….Jo and Dejie and Dejie was short for Virginia, go figure.

  • Reply
    John Dilbeck
    February 26, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Hi Tipper.
    Loved the story about your name!
    When I was a kid, there was a boy in our school named Bud Rose. He absolutely refused to write his name as Rose, Bud. He got into a lot of trouble for it, but he would not do it.
    When I lived in Arizona, I remember seeing a road sign that said:
    Mile And A Half 1.5 miles
    and had an arrow pointing to the left down a dirt road.
    I still grin when I think about it. I regret that I didn’t take the time to go see what was there.
    Hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weather!

  • Reply
    Phyllis Salmons
    February 26, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I was told (though I have no proof of it being true about how the road I lived on growing up — Dippen Road in Winston-Salem, NC — got it’s name. A short distance from our house (probably less than a half mile) there was a creek. It was said that many years before I was born, they would dam the creek and baptise people, thus making the road become known as “the dippin’ road.” Maybe it’s true and maybe it’s not, but I always like imagining that it really happened that way.

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