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:
Raleigh (known as Parlez)
Theopholus (nicknamed Granny)
…And a few cool surnames from both sides:
Find any inspiration here?
Happy holiday, Berries!
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on 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.
on May 23rd, 2013 at 2:50 am
I’ve had a crush on Alpheus for ages… But hubby would never let me use it…
on 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.
on 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!
on May 23rd, 2013 at 11:33 am
So many amazing names. I love Evander.
on 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.
on 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;
on 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..)
Braxton (Fairly popular around here, I know/know of a few under age 2)
Jones (I nannied for a boy named Jones!)
Poe (In highschool, I had a friend called Poe)
Vinton (A possible alternative to Vincent?)
on May 23rd, 2013 at 4:52 pm
Another Great List! However, I am more of a nature name myself.
on 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!
on 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.
on May 23rd, 2013 at 10:12 pm
So many good names here. My favorites:
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