Appalachian Dialect Blog Heritage

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. Someone once ask me if I was named for Tipper Gore, I wasn’t. My big brother is responsible for me being Tipper.

Tipper and Steve

Tipper and Steve

He is 5 years older than I am and has always watched out for me-just like a big brother should. Like all babies beginning to walk I was constantly falling down. He was afraid I would get hurt so he started trying to warn Mom and Dad “shes going to tip over, shes going to tip over” he finally just started calling me Tipper. Amazing it 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? For more interesting names you can check out Appalachian History’s list.

Please play along with the name game and leave a list of the peculiar names you’ve come across in your neck of the woods. Just click on the word comments below and follow the directions.


p.s. If you leave a comment you are automatically entered in my monthly giveaway Spread the Love-so leave one!

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  • Reply
    J.R. "Hotmetal" Clark
    November 23, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    There is a small place down the road from me nammed Trebloc,not so strange but alot of people that live there their last name is Colbert notice that it is Trebloc spelled backwards.

  • Reply
    May 1, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Ooh, I love this. Of course Arkansas has plenty of its own to add to the list.This is just a short list:
    1. Toad Suck (a classic)
    2. Oil Trough
    3. Y City
    4. Nail
    5. Booger Hollow
    6. Ben Hur
    7. Parthenon
    8. Deer
    Actually, I think this list is nearly endless for Arkansas :D.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I think one of my favorite small-town names I’ve run across is Gumberry, NC. It’s one of the tiny towns we drive through when going to visit my sister’s family. There are some really interesting names on the NC coast also… Swan Quarter, Frying Pan Landing, and Pumkin Center! I love driving through and thinking about if I lived there… I would have to tell someone I lived in Gumberry or Frying Pan Landing, NC… it always makes me giggle.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Ha! I forgot to add a good name. My mother in law is a kindergarten teacher and she said a new student just joined her school and the boy’s name was Myree. Myree Ward. Say it fast now. Ha, ha, ha! Interesting huh?

  • Reply
    April 11, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Tipper, I love your name! As funny as it sounds I have always wanted a nickname. Maybe because I find it endearing and that if someone liked me enough or we were close enough they would have a nickname for me. I thought when I became an aunt that I would have some special name, but nope. My older niece and nephew call me by name and the younger two are trying hard to say my name, but it comes out Mernay. I love it though and hope that somehow they keep calling me that just because it shows history with someone. Tipper is really cute and thanks for sharing its roots.
    I want to comment on your gardening. I’m so jealous of your skill. I definitely have a “black/brown” thumb. Ha, I think it’s because I “forget” to water. I did great the year we lived in TN. It rained all the time and everything grew in abundance! I just blame it on where I live, not my lack of gardening skill. 🙂
    Also, thanks for checking up on my blog. I love to hear comments from people. Thanks for making me feel better about not posting much. I made sure to have a rambling one today. Don’t read it, you’d be bored. Ha!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Towns in KY:
    Mount Olivet
    Kings Mountain (there isn’t a Mtn. there)
    Coal Good
    Falls of Rough
    Stamping Ground
    Goose Rock
    Kettle Island
    Hi Hat
    Eighty Eight
    Enough! I could do this all day.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I went to college with a guy named “Harry Barber”, sweet guy!

  • Reply
    noble pig
    April 9, 2008 at 1:36 am

    I went to highschool with someone named Bertha Controla, not even kidding.

  • Reply
    April 8, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    One of my favorite names for a town is Two Egg in Florida and I love the name Burnt Schoolhouse Road where I live.
    Ty Ty, GA is another weird name I think.
    And Brasstown NC gets its name I’ve heard from the mistaken interpretation of an Indian word for the area. The Indian word did not mean brass but was thought to mean that. I wonder how many towns have names that come from the native American words, but misunderstood as to meaning.

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    April 8, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Living in Oregon, I have to add another odd Oregon town. (Boring, OR is interesting, too, as someone above noted!) Don’t forget about DRAIN, Oregon. In the wet, wet, Pacific Northwest, why name a town Drain, just to remind you of the constant sogginess and perhaps clogged up sewers? Actually, the town wasn’t named after a plumbing fixture, but the town’s first mayor, John Drain.

  • Reply
    Bobbi in KY
    April 8, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    1. Helechawa
    2. Thousand Sticks
    3. Fleming Neon
    4. Frozen

  • Reply
    April 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    let’s see…
    Pie Town, New Mexico
    Gay, Michigan…they have warnings signs below town signs waring of dire consequences if you steal the town signs. we stopped to take a picture, mark had camera in had and this guy drives up and gives us a hostel once over, sees the camera, smiles, waves and drives off. guess this is a major problem in Gay…they even had to resort to repainting other signs. in the summer i guess they loose a lot of signs. poor little Gay, there is just a bar “the Gay Bar” as in Gay, Mi not as in “gay” and i cannot remember what that other building was. it is in the middle of nowhere and takes a long time to get there but found a really awesome rock shop on way back…and of course mark knew the owners, his exwifes aunt and uncle, jeez, i cant take him anywhere… 🙂

  • Reply
    April 8, 2008 at 10:12 am

    I forgot to say I went to high school with Soda Popp, now his brother Rado Popp lives close by. It was reported in Riply’s Believe It or Not that they had a sister Lolli, but that isn’t true, there are just the two boys. Soda is now a school teacher and is 56 years old.

  • Reply
    April 8, 2008 at 12:48 am

    Boring, Oregon. Always gets me.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Hey Tip,
    You’ve already listed most of the weird ones in our neck of the woods. I’d never really thought about tying the names to an event. Think about “Vengeance Creek:” I don’t know what went down there, but it doesn’t sound good, does it? Of course there’s “Standing Indian,” and “Grape Creek.” A lot of the names around here are also Biblical, like “Bethel.” I guess when you think about it, “Brasstown” is kind of a weird name. Maybe there was some mining going on back in the day? Wish I knew. It has always amazed me how well nicknames stick. I should know; I’ve had half a dozen different ones, some of them still used till this day. Good thing I like them all. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 7, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    1. Riff (my husband)
    2. Dufur, Oregon
    3. Big Piney
    4. Justin Case (a real live person)
    5. Hayfork, California
    I know that there’s more stuck in my pea brain somewhere, but their just not coming out right now…

  • Reply
    April 7, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    All towns in Missouri

  • Reply
    April 7, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Bat Cave – my favorite
    Lizard Lick – drove through here a few times to get to the beach
    Climax – grew up near here
    Booger Swamp – not far from here actually
    Hanging Rock – where my husband’s from

  • Reply
    April 7, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Cities from my homestate of Michigan: Climax, Hell, Nirvana, Kalamazoo, Christmas
    French Lick, Indiana

  • Reply
    April 7, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    I was raised in Scioto County Ohio (foothills of the Appalachians) We have:
    Mule Town
    Tick Ridge
    I now live 2 counties up in Ross.
    We have:
    Knockemstiff (now a ghost town)
    There is also:
    Greasy Ridge
    Henpeck Corners
    Ohio is full of names like this! I get a chuckle out of some of these names!

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