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The colonization of America has been effected during the modern historic period, the process of name-giving is illustrated by numerous authentic documents, and the names are de- rived from living languages.
The names of the States and Territories themselves form a chorus of sweet and most romantic vocables : Dela- ware, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming, Minnesota, and the Carolinas ; there are few poems with a nobler music for the ear ; a songful, tuneful land ; and if the new Homer shall arise from the Western continent, his verse will be enriched, his pages sing spontaneously, with the names of states and cities that would strike the fancy in a business circular." — Robert Louis Stevenson : Across the Plains.
Eavenson i £1-1 UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH LIBRARY THIS BOOK PRESENTED BY Mrs. HOWRY ESPENSHADE PROFESSOR IN THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE COLLEGE MEMBER OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA AUTHOR OF "THE ESSENTIALS OF COMPOSITION AND RHETORIC" THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE COLLEGE STUDIES IN HISTORY AND POLITICAL SCIENCE, NO. Pekin is in the same State with Euclid, with Bellefontaine, and with Sandusky.
If he thinks that our forefathers have not generally been very suc- cessful and happy in the naming of places, and that the of names given in the index of this book is only another proof of the poverty of the average human intellect, he should remember that the colonists and pioneers were of necessity much engrossed with more pressing concerns, and that the particular names at which one may be inclined to cavil may have been to them objects of respect and love, or become dear to them by long familiarity and association. These fabulous explana- tions are all the more diverting because men who are otherwise intelligent put them forth quite seriously and expect others to accept them as satisfactory statements of fact.
The relative amount of space devoted to the discussion of the names of counties and county seats, and to pertinent historical and biographical comment, has been determined by the fact that in Pennsylvania the county is the most important geographical and political unit, and that the county town is of almost equal consequence as the seat of justice and the centre of the public business of the county. Similar ridiculous ''name stories" are current about the origin of common place names.
In some cases doubtless the so-called authorities have . Fuller knowl- edge, it is hoped, will in the future correct the errors and fill in some regrettable gaps in the author's work. The founders of towns have often been no less anxious to find apt and pleasing names.
And yet some facts about the naming of places can never be known, because it is impossible to subpoena the dead. Our local patriotism revolts at the use of an undignified or contemptuous nickname of the place in which we live, almost as much as our personal pride resents any un- warranted liberties that thoughtless people may take with our own names.The author has, for the most part, refrained from any criti- cism of the names selected by the early settlers of Pennsylvania. King Solomon's maxim, '*a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches," applies to places as well as to persons.On this point the reader will form his own judgment. So few people really know anything definite or con- clusive about place names that a writer with a fondness for the marvelous or the sensational may easily impose on the credulity of the public. Sabine Baring-Gould, in his Family Names and Their Story, has an interesting chapter on ''Name Stories," in which he relates a num- ber of amusing fables that people have invented in order to explain their own names.itlliil y Bfe_ ffnfv|' '■ ^\ m •iiiut I i DMliiiiiiunluiu Ihliil! Perhaps the writer should add that fourteen years ago, when he first began to collect material bearing upon the origin, his- torical setting, and meaning of Pennsylvania place names, he had no thought of writing a book, but was simply riding a hobby for his own gratification. So far as he knows, the only other work in any way resembling this is Dr. Long's Virginia County Names, which presents a somewhat similar but briefer historical commentary on the names of the one hundred counties of Virginia.In Pennsylvania the counties and the municipalities — cities and boroughs — are of far more importance than the civil subdivisions known as townships, which are useful mainly in maintaining roads, in providing means of education for rural communities, and in administering justice in minor misdemeanors and disputes. A few of these INTRODUCTION 13 specimens of folk etymology, which have been offered to the writer in all seriousness, are perhaps worth re- peating. It was this way: the first pioneer who came into this region with his wife camped near where the town now stands.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating