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Antiquarian Names: Colonial craftsmen names

Antiquarian Names: Colonial craftsmen names

For a number of years, when I wasn’t writing about names, I was writing about antiques and collectibles for a syndicated newspaper column.  But of course when I was thinking about antiques, I was still also thinking about names.

Looking at the field of antique furniture, for example, I found that when it came to early British cabinetmakers, the names were relatively unexciting.  George Hepplewhite. Robert Adams. Thomas Chippendale. Thomas Sheraton.  Nothing too juicy there.

But with the Early American cabinetmakers and clockmakers it was quite a different story.  Lots of antiquated Biblical names, more than one Chauncey, Ebenezer and Lemuel, a few virtue names rarely heard in modern times (Prudent, Noble), a couple of Latinate names and a Greek god—in other words a variegated picture of American Colonial and Federal era nomenclature:

Some prime examples:

  • Abel Cottey

  • Abiel Chandler

  • Abner Toppan

  • Ansel Goodwin

  • Asa Holden

  • Chauncey Boardman, Jerome

  • Duncan Phyfe

  • Ebenezer Knowlton, Tracy, Parmalee

  • Elbert Anderson

  • Eli Terry

  • Elias Ingraham

  • Elijah Booth, Sanderson

  • Eliphaler Chapin

  • Elisha DeWolfe, Jr

  • Elnathan Taber

  • Enos Doolittle

  • Ephraim Haines, Downes

  • Everadus Bogardus

  • Garvan Carver

  • Gawen Brown

  • Gerrard Hopkins

  • Gideon Roberts

  • Heman Clark

  • Hercules Courtenay

  • Holmes Weaver

  • Job Townsend

  • Kenelm Winslow

  • Lemuel Adams, Curtis

  • Macock Ward

  • Marinus Willett

  • Maskell Ware

  • Matthias Baldwin

  • Miles Beach

  • Nehemiah Adams

  • Noble Jerome

  • Phineas Pratt

  • Prudent Mallard

  • Reverdy Ghiselin

  • Seth Thomas

  • Silas Hoadley, Terry, Cheney

  • Simon Willard

  • Solomon Hayes

  • Any of these appeal?

    About the Author

    Linda Rosenkrantz

    Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.