That brings me to “born and raised” which is totally off the subject. I always was told I was born and raised here, but when I got a little older I found out I was “born and reared”. Corn is raised, children are reared. I absolutely hated it to the max, but when I did any type of a talk I’d use reared. My last copy editor changed my MS from reared to raised and said reared is antiquated. Guess that tells you how old I am. What’s you thoughts on born and raised vs. born and reared?
Now for how some of our towns got their names.
The community my parents lived in when I was born is Cactus, Texas. It’s one county over but I was actually born in Amarillo at St. Anthony’s Hospital.
Now for Cactus: The only living thing in sight — cactus — gave New York engineers their inspiration for naming the Cactus Ordinance Works. When a post office was established, the name was transferred. Early residents, which my family would fall under, remember how cactus and other prickly plants had to be cleared before the first housing units could be built in Cactus. From personal experience, although my family, including my grandparents, moved to Amarillo before my second sister was born, one of my aunts and uncles lived in Cactus, Texas, for years. Uncle Durward worked for the petroleum plant until he retired and he and Aunt Martha moved to Dumas, a few miles south-east of Cactus.
The next town we lived in for a very short time was Pantex, which was just east of Amarillo. The location of this town suggested the abbreviated compound of Panhandle of Texas. The post office was established to provide service for employees of the Pantex Ordance Plant, which loaded bombs with TNT for the Army from 1942 to 1945, but the town vanished after WWII. For me personally, it was the best kept non-secret I’ve ever seen. The workers weren’t allowed to tell anybody what they were working on in the underground bunkers. Some 75 years later, they are now dismantling the “secret” weapons and it’s on the front page of our newspaper regularly as they make progress. So, now you all know the non-secret that I grew up with. As I said, we didn’t live in the Pantex Village very long before moving to Amarillo.
Amarillo’s history is really long and although we are very young for this part of the country … settled in 1887. We are the largest of the five original towns settled in the Panhandle. We were the last to be officially established and that was due to the railroad and the route they ending up taking thanks to a group of merchants in Colorado City, Texas.
I moved here with my family when I could barely walk, but I had a lot of miles on me already. I plan to be buried here with my husband by my side.
Here’s some fun towns:
Bass Hollow: Sam Bass and his gang, notorious for their daring train and bank holdups during the 1870’s, once made their outlaw camp there.
Black Ankle: The San Augustine County town was so named after a local belle tore her silk stocking at the ankle before a dance and concealed the rip by painting her exposed skin black with soot. In Caldwell County, the deep, black, waxy soil literally created some black ankles after heavy rains.
My last town is one of my favorites. I’ve been to both towns. Now that outta make you wonder what I’m up to. Nacogdoches (nae-ke-‘do-‘cas) Texas: A legend has been composed for those who expected an explanation more romantic than the one that this oldest town in Texas was named for the Nacogdoche Indians, a Caddoan tribe and one of the nine major members of the Hasinai Confederacy. The tale also accounts for the similarity of the names of Nacogdoche, Texas, and of Natchitoches (nak-ki-tish), Louisiana. Here comes the answer to why I selected this town … my favorite of the two Natchitoches, Louisiana (notice the spelling difference). The towns are often mistaken for one another, or in my way of thinking, I thought they were one in the same for years.
Once upon a time, an old Indian chief had two sons: Natchitoches and Nacogdoches. When they grew to manhood, their father sent them out to make homes and establish tribes of their own. Natchitoches was to travel three days and three nights in the direction of the rising sun, and Nacogdoches was to travel three days and three nights into the setting sun. Thus, the Louisiana and Texas towns were established, linked by a route later followed by the Spaniards and name El Camino Real de los Tejas (the Royal Road but later English translated to the King’s Highway) running through Texas and into Louisiana.
Okay readers, which town would you liked to have lived in? Do you have a favorite town with an odd history behind its name?
To one reader who leaves a comment today, I will send you a gift certificate for your choice of one of my books from Amazon. To a second commenter, I’ll send you a Bath and Bodyworks Gift Card.
Watch for my next installment of the Kasota Springs Romance series “Out of the Texas Night” by eKensington coming out next spring.