Memorable Memorial Day Names: Marcellus, Maxcy and Moonlight

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.

And of course this mid-nineteenth century period was one of remarkable names in America—elaborate Latinate appellations, multi-syllabic Old Testament examples, unusual word names such as Speed and Zealous and Strong. It’s interesting to note that,  particularly on the Union side, a great many of these young soldiers had been given aspirational hero names as their two middles—so there were a number of them who had had Christopher Columbus, Americus Vespucius, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry or Ethan Allan inserted between their first and second names.  There was even one general named States Rights Gist. Looking through the lists of records of these high officers on both sides, the following names stood out:

UNION GENERALS

Absalom

Albion

Alonzo

Alpheus

Ambrose

Amiel

Amos

Augustus

Cadwallader

Cassius

Catharinus

Cyrus

Darius

Delevan

Ebenezer

Eleazer

Erasmus

Gershom

Green

Gustavus

Hiram

Horatio

Isham

Justus

Llewellyn

Lorenzo

Lucius

Lysander

Marcellus

Mosby

Orlando

Pleasant

Regis

Rufus

Speed

Strong

Sullivan

Ulysses

Winfield

Zealous

CONFEDERATE

Alpheus

Armistead

Braxton

Cadmus (known as Billy Fixin’)

Carnot

Claudius

Collett

Cullen

Ellison

Evander

Goode

Gustavus

Johnson

Jones

Jubal (known as Jube and Jubilee)

Junius

Leonidas

Marcellus

Maxcy

Raleigh (known as Parlez)

Theopholus (nicknamed Granny)

Turner

Tyree

Zachariah

Zebulon

…And a few cool surnames from both sides:

Ashby

Baird

Bee

Cullum

Duncan

Eaton

Egan

Frost

Kenly

Maxby

Moonlight

Paxton

Poe

Quinby

Ripley

Saxon

Sprague

Tucker

Vinton

Zook

Find any inspiration here?

Happy holiday, Berries!

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If you’re already our Facebook friend, refer a friend and then send your name AND your friend’s name to us at contest@nameberry.com so you both get a chance to win.  Good luck, everyone!

 

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12 Responses to “Memorable Memorial Day Names: Marcellus, Maxcy and Moonlight”

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Mclevine Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 1:01 am

Thanks for the interesting blog, Linda. And happy holiday to you too!
Almost every name on the list thrills me to the 10th degree – they are all great but Augustus, Catharinus, Cassius, Eleazer, Lewellyn, Regis, Winfield and Armistead = awesome.

Tuitree Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 2:50 am

I’ve had a crush on Alpheus for ages… But hubby would never let me use it…

maggiemary Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 3:09 am

Some incredible names there. I am particularly taken with Absalom, Ambrose, Amiel, Amos, Augustus, Cadwallader, Cassius, Eleazer, Horatiom, Justus, Lucius, Lysander, Rufus, Cadmus, Claudius, Ellison, Evander, Junius, Leonidas and Zachariah.

Cadwallader was the name of my great-great-grandfather, and he lived to the ripe old age of 101, so my dad actually met him once (during a trip to Wales, to visit his father’s family in the UK). My dad actually has a photo with him and he looked a right character. If I’m ever brave enough, I’d consider it as a second middle name for a son, should I ever be blessed with one.

rebekah83 Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 11:17 am

Marcellus has been at the top of our list for our baby due in Nov (if it’s a boy). It’s a variation of a family name for us–and we love it. I hope it doesn’t become too popular!

AnuthriumInvidia Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 11:33 am

So many amazing names. I love Evander.

alzora Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 11:34 am

Oh man, I’ve actually been loving the name Jubal lately! I’ve also loved Ebenezer and Absalom for a long time but my husband has nixed both of them.

I know a man in his 30s named Gershom. Interesting name. He signs his emails “Gersh,” so presumably that is what he goes by.

tori101 Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 1:01 pm

As a ill informed Brit I didn’t realise this holiday existed!
Interesting read though and happy holidays of course, from this list I love these names;
Augustus
Cyrus
Cassius
Lorenzo
Orlando
Sullivan
Cullen
Marcellus
Turner
Zachariah
Ashby
Ripley

KateMP91 Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 2:28 pm

These are all pretty offbeat, but there are several I would possibly consider as a middle!

Delevan (Alternative to Donovan?)
Green (Goes with other color names: Blue, Violet, Lilac..)
Speed
Braxton (Fairly popular around here, I know/know of a few under age 2)
Jones (I nannied for a boy named Jones!)
Raleigh
Turner
Maxby
Poe (In highschool, I had a friend called Poe)
Sprague
Vinton (A possible alternative to Vincent?)
Tucker

OceaneBreeze Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Another Great List! However, I am more of a nature name myself.

Mischa Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I’m dreaming of many gorgeous sibsets from the names on this blog.

Cassius, Horatio and Lysander (swoon)
Evander, Marcellus and Zebulon
Ambrose, Duncan and Rufus
Augustus and Zachariah
Armistead and Ellison
Regis and Jubal

Poe and Moolight would make quirky middle name choices.

Happy Memorial Day to all the American Berries!

MeleriHaf Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I had an ancestor from Tennessee who fought for the Union. His name was Leonidas Lysander Lindsey. Years ago, I told my friends (as a joke) that I was going to name my first son Leonidas Lysander nn Sander. They thought (in all seriousness) it was a brilliant idea. I still think it’s a bit of a mouthful, but they are awesome names individually.

frustratedauthor Says:

May 23rd, 2013 at 10:12 pm

So many good names here. My favorites:

Jubal
Augustus
Leonidas
Absalom
Erasmus
Ulysses
Albion
Alonzo
Lorenzo
Raleigh
Frost
Zebulon
Hiram
Orlando
Sullivan

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