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Category: Memorial DAy names

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

The holiday we’re celebrating—originally called Decoration Day—was first commemorated in 1868, not long after the end of the Civil  War, the bitter, bloody battle between the North and the South that ripped the country apart.

Over the course of the war, more than a thousand soldiers reached the rank of general, six of whom, including Ulysses (born Hiram) S. Grant, went on to become U. S. presidents. And for our purposes, they provide us with a fascinating range of period names.

In addition to the expected profusion of Johns, Jameses, Williams and Thomases, we find many Latinate appellations such as Augustus, CassiusMarcellus, Gustavus and Theopholus; word names like Strong and Pleasant, and surnames Sullivan, Johnson and Jones.

From this cornucopia of intriguing choices, we pick 15 of the best:

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memorial

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Before you fire up the barbie or pack up the picnic basket, why not take a minute to think about what Memorial Day memorializes.

The holiday—originally called Decoration Day—was first commemorated on May 30, 1868, not long after the Civil War had ended, and was given that name because it was when flowers were placed on the graves of the Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In the course of this brutal war  that tore the country apart, over a thousand soldiers reached the rank of general, several of whom went on to reach high offices in government, including six presidents– Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Harris, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield and Chester A. Arthur.

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Heroine Names: A Memorial Day salute

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When Memorial Day—then called Decoration Day—was first observed on May 30, 1868 to honor and decorate the graves of the Civil War dead, much of the impetus for it came from women—particularly in the South.  It was a woman poet who conceived the idea of wearing poppies on Memorial Day to honor those who died serving the nation during war. 

Over the years, though, the emphasis has been on the brave G.I. Joes who sacrificed their lives.  But we’re here to say that there were many equally courageous women who played their parts in and out of the military—as soldiers (sometimes disguised as men—we have to assume they didn’t have to pass a physical), battlefield nurses, scouts and guides, spies (many), messengers and couriers.

Here are the heroine names  (including a few unusual ones) of some of the outstanding women who served from the Revolutionary War to World War II—worthy namesakes all.

Amabel Scharff Roberts—World War I

Anne Hennis Trotter Bailey –Revolutionary War—sometimes known as “Mad Anne” for her recklessness

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Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 and first observed on May 30 of that year, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.  So this year, instead of looking back again at the names of Civil War generals and such, I thought it could be more enlightening to look instead at well-known people (with interesting names) who were born in 1868—giving us a bird’s-eye view of some aspects of post-Civil War baby naming, both in America and elsewhere.

 

GIRLS

ALEEN Cust, first British female veternarian

ALIDA B. Jones, early movie actress

ALMA Kruger, Shakespearean actress, later featured in Dr. Kildare movies

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memorial-day2

Memorial Day–formerly  known as Decoration Day–was first observed on May 30, 1868, shortly after the Civil War, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, so that the  roots of the holiday were very much entwined with the War Between the States. It’s always celebrated on the last Monday of May–a date close to the day of reunification of the country after the Civil War.

In the course of this deadly and divisive war, there were over a thousand soldiers who reached the rank of general, many of them becoming national heroes, and namesakes for babies born during and after the war. There were countless little Grants and Lees, just as there were Lincolns and Jeffersons and Davises.  Looking at the rolls of officers on both sides, we find some interesting names–both first and last, as well as names attached to battlegrounds– that could still be inspiring today.

UNION GENERALS’ FIRST NAMES

ABSALOM
ADIN
ALBION
ALPHEUS
AMIEL
AUGUST
CASSIUS
CUVIER
DARIUS
EBENEZER
EMERSON
EMORY
ERASMUS
GREEN
GUSTAVUS
ISHAM
JASPER
JEREMIAH
JUSTUS
KENNER
LAFAYETTE
LORENZO
MARCELLUS
NAPOLEON
ORLANDO
ORRIS
PLEASANT
REGIS
ROMEYN
SPEED
SULLIVAN
THEOPHILOUS
TRUMAN
ULYSSES
ZEALOUS

CONFEDERATE GENERALS’ FIRST NAMES

ALPHEUS
ARMISTEAD
BIRKETT
BRAXTON
CADMUS
CARNOT
CLAUDIUS
CULLEN
ELKANAH
EPPA
EVANDER
GUSTAVUS
JUBAL
LEONIDAS
MAXCY (sort of cute)
OTHO
THEOPHOLUS
TURNER
TYREE
ZACHARIAH
ZEBULON

SOME SURNAMES FROM BOTH SIDES

ASHBY
AUGUR
BAIRD
BARNUM
BEE
BERRY
BOWEN
CLAY
CULLUM
DEWEY
DUNCAN
EATON
EGAN
FRAZER
FROST
GRAHAM
LOGAN
MAURY
MAXBY
McCLELLAN
MEADE
PAXTON
PERRY
POE
QUINBY
RIPLEY
ROUSSEAU
SAXTON
SHEPARD
SHERIDAN
SORREL
SPRAGUE
SULLY
SWEENY
TUCKER
VINTON

CIVIL WAR BATTLE-RELATED NAMES

AMELIA (SPRINGS)
ANDERSON
AUBURN
BAXTER
BRISTOE
CHANTILLY
CORINTH
DALTON
DOVER
MARIETTA
McALLISTER
PHILIPPI
SABINE (PASS)
SHILOH
SUMPTER

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