Those Crazy Texas Town Names

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As I told you last month, I’m writing a new series based in Texas and I’ve been studying maps. Texas sure does have some odd, charming and altogether weird or funny town names. Here’re just a couple that caught my eye.

City_HallCut and Shoot, Texas
Believe it or not, this town name was the result of a church fight. No one really knows what the dispute was about. Some say it was over the new steeple; others say there was a disagreement as to who should preach there. Still others insist that church member land claims was to blame.

Whatever the reason, the altercation was about to turn violent. A small boy at the scene declared he was going to take up a tactical position and “cut around the corner and shoot through the bushes.”

Later, after the matter was taken to court, the judge asked a witness where the confrontation had taken place. Since the town didn‘t have a name the witness described the location the best way he knew how. “I suppose you could call it the place where they had the cutting and shooting scrape,” he said, and the name stuck.

Ding Dong, Texas (which just happens to be in Bell County)DingDong

As the saying goes, if you find yourself in Ding Dong, you had to be looking for it. Two early residents Zulis Bell and his nephew Berth ran a general store and hired a local painter named C.C. Hoover to make a sign for their business.

Hoover illustrated the sign with two bells inscribed with the owners’ names, and then wrote “Ding Dong” on the bells. No one remembered the Bells but they sure did remember Ding Dong and the name stuck.

jotemdowntexasJot-Em-Down, Texas
This is a small unincorporated community in Delta County, Texas, United States.

The town’s name comes from the name of a fictional store in the Lum and Abner radio show, which aired in the 30s and 40s.

Dime Box, Texas
The name originated from the practice of leaving a dime in the box at Brown’s Mill to have a letter delivered. The practice stopped when a post office was opened in 1877.

The following town isn’t in Texas but I just love the name—and of course the love story.

Total Wreck, ArizonaTotal_Wreck
Total Wreck was discovered by John L. Dillon in 1879.  He named it such because he thought the ledge the mine was on looked like a total wreck. A man once got into a shooting at Total Wreck and survived because the bullet lodged in a stack of love letters he had in his jacket. He later married the girl who wrote the letters!

 

What is the strangest named town you ever visited?

For me it would have to be Monkey Eyebrow, Arizona.

 

“How come no one ever told me that kissin’

is even more fun that fighting a bear?”-A Lady Like Sarah

Want to know more about Sarah?  The eBook is now only $1.99

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Margaret Brownley
Margaret has published more than 40 books and is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author and past Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. She writes historical novels set--where else?--in the Old West! A Match Made in Texas is available for pre-order now. Margaret's stories also appear in the 12 Brides of Christmas, Pioneer Christmas and Second Chance at Star Inn collections. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.

29 Comments

  1. So fun, Margaret. I live in Texas and had never heard of those.

    There is a Noodle, TX not too far from where I live which has always made me laugh. There is also an Oatmeal, TX that we pass on the way to church camp every summer. And yes, they have a giant yellow and red canister of 3 min oats on display so you’re sure not to miss it. LOL.

    1. Hi Karen, I love Noodle! That’s really good for a laugh.

      No funny town names around me, only Spanish ones which some people and my GPS can’t pronounce. Port Hueneme is mangled the most.

  2. I am laughing out loud, Margaret. What great names. Somehow from this blog, either you or maybe Phyliss, I learned about a place called Black Ankles…I just used it as an outlaw’s name in my latest release LOL.

    The craziest town I’ve ever come across is Zzyzx, California. The prettiest–Carefree, Arizona.

    Oh, and Karen, I’m still chuckling. Noodle? Oatmeal? Yowzers.

    Hugs to you both…

    1. Tanya!
      Ah, yes, Zzyzx. We pass it on the way to Vegas. Have you ever pulled off to see what’s there? If not, you should. You’ll be surprised! It’s an absolute oasis in the middle of the desert.

  3. I did not know there was a Monkey Eyebrow, Arizona… I guess I need to look closer at a map, LOL. There are some really odd names out there…

    1. Hi Colleen, I think there’s a Monkey Eyebrow somewhere else, too, maybe Kentucky. I think the one in Arizona got its name from how the area looks on a map. Fun, eh?

  4. some of those ive never heard of,,I went to the cayman islands to a city named Hell,,in the south ive been to a town name possum creek ,,was a cute little town

    1. Hi Vickie, you reminded of something I heard on the news this past week. It seems that Hell froze over. They were talking about Hell, Michigan. I think there’s also a Hell, Texas.

      I love the name Possum Creek.

  5. Yep, I talked about Black Ankle, Texas, not long ago. I’m writin’ this from memory (who could forget such a name) but as I recall, it was named from the soil and the ladies always go black dirt up to their ankles when they crossed the street. I love your blog, Margaret. It’s always fun to learn where names came from. Amarillo, where Linda Broday and I live, is named for the yellow soil and came from the Spanish name for yellow. Every house was painted yellow when they first settled us in the mid 1800’s. Thanks for a great blog, my friend. Of interest the railroad first named us Oneida but it was changed by a vote of the residents. Hugs, Phyliss

  6. Hi Phyliss, I love the story about Black Ankle. Great name and fun story. I didn’t know about the yellow soil.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Hugs back.

  7. There is a little community about 3 miles from our house that was called Shake Rag for many years. The area is now called New Victory, the name of the 2 churches there on the corner of New Victory Road.

    In this area, roads have some interesting names. Again, not far from us are Hog Eye Road and No Fatty Road. I have no idea how they got their names. In North Carolina, just off I-26 to the west of Asheville there is a community called Forks Of Ivy. I think it is a wonderful name.

    I have A LADY LIKE SARAH in my TBR Mountain. Unfortunately, I can’t find the box we put most of your books in. We packed things up to do some work on the room and now I can’t find anything.

    Thanks for an interesting post.

    1. Hi Patricia, the names you shared are great. I love Hog Eye Road and No Fatty road. It would be great to know how they got those names.

      Thank you for sharing. I’m not decorating and I still can’t find anything.

  8. Hi Margaret,

    This list is hilarious! I just love those city names! Monkey Eyebrow? Too much fun.

    Love me a Texas book!!

    1. Hi Charlene, Love me a Texas book indeed! What a fun place.

      Have a great weekend,

      Hugs

  9. Margaret, the town of Denison used to be called Lick Skillet. Makes you wonder how that one came about. There are so many crazy town names in Texas it would take too long to list them. LOL

    1. Caroline, what a great name, Lick Skillet. Thank you for sharing. That made me laugh…

  10. Wisconsin has several Native American named towns and cities: Pewaukee, Milwaukee, Shawno, Manitowoc, Oshkosh, Menominee, Waukesha, Wauwatosa, Neenah, Menasha, Algoma, Kewaunee, Chippewa Falls, Kenosha, Kaukauna and Wausau

    French- Prairie Du Chien, Fond Du Lac, DePere, Eau Claire

    Odd names: Beaver Dam, Tomahawk, Ephriam, Embarrass, Brown Deer, Bloomer, Fish Creek, Baraboo, Elkhorn, Gillett and Waldo

    1. Laurie, I bet visitors have a time trying to pronounce some of those names. I wonder how Embarrass got its name?

      Thank you for sharing.

  11. Reklaw, Texas-there was already a Walker, Texas-so the founder spelled their name backward 🙂

    1. Oh, my goodness, I love this! Reklaw is a great name. I can just picture a bunch of highway men riding into town.

      Thank you for sharing!

      1. Your post made me think of a nearby town named Moorpark. Unfortunately, it has a less appealing name when spelled backwards. I wouldn’t have noticed had my kids not pointed it out to me.

  12. What fun names. I have never visited any strange name towns that I can remember.

    1. Maybe you will in the future, Janine,

  13. I love this post. I live in Odessa, TX. Near here is a tiny town called Notrees. Guess how it got its name. Lol.

    1. Susan, that’s great. Talk about a descriptive name, though I’m not sure it does much for tourism.

      Thanks for sharing.

  14. What fun names.. We have a town close to us that is Ong…
    Just fun to say..

  15. Deanna, that’s strange, but you’re right. It is fun to say!

  16. Loved the post. I live in Texas too and I’m between Dime Box and Cut N Shoot. Been through both. Used to go through Cut N Shoot on my way from my hometown of Waller,(named for a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and Lufkin. I’ve seen many fun names but can’t remember them all right now.

    1. Connie, now I know about where you live! What fun!
      Thank you for sharing!

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