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Sun Dec 11, 2011, 12:19 PM

My book on how the states got their names...

Sorry if you've seen this before, but I'm pretty sure I've never posted anything about it to this forum on DU.

My book is entitled "U.S. State Names: The Stories of How Our States Were Named". It's 511 pages with a lot of maps and illustrations. It tells the story of each state name--not just the etymology, but the story of how it came to be applied to particular region on the planet.

If you have a history buff on your Christmas list, this makes a great gift (Just sayin'.)

The website is http://www.MountainStormPress.com

Also, I've just recently put individual states' stories up for sale as ebooks on the iTunes store. (Sorry, the whole book isn't available digitally just yet.)

Please forgive me if this post is inappropriate. I will be happy to move it or remove it there is a problem.

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Reply My book on how the states got their names... (Original post)
kag Dec 2011 OP
RZM Dec 2011 #1
kag Dec 2011 #3
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2011 #5
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2011 #7
RZM Dec 2011 #8
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2011 #9
TheDebbieDee Dec 2011 #2
kag Dec 2011 #4
RZM Dec 2011 #10
bluedigger Dec 2011 #12
kag Dec 2011 #13
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2011 #6
kag Dec 2011 #11
Ohio Dem Dec 2011 #14

Response to kag (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 12:56 PM

1. Sounds very interesting

 

Last edited Sun Dec 11, 2011, 01:29 PM - Edit history (1)

I've always been interested in that kind of thing but I've never really taken the time to read about it. I know very little about how most state names came about, except some of the more obvious ones (Washington, Virginia, etc.).

I've also always been curious about why states ended up with the borders they did, especially where the border isn't a river. Looks like a book on that comes up under suggestions when one views your book in Amazon.

Thanks for posting this. I might just check it out!

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Response to RZM (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 01:28 PM

3. Thanks.

Yeah, the book about state shapes came out before I published mine. In fact, I used his as a reference in some cases.

I got the idea for the book many years ago. I wondered how Colorado came to be named. I knew it was named for the river, but I wanted to know who got to decide how that word would apply to this square on the map. I looked all over for a book that would give that kind of information for all of the states, but there wasn't one. There were a few that came close (the classic "Names on the Land" by George Rippey Stewart came closest) but the exact book I wanted didn't exist. So my husband suggested I write it.

That was about twelve years ago. As a full-time mom of two, I would drag my kids to the library with me, and research and write in my "spare" time.

Sorry to babble on, but it's like my third child.

Take care.

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Response to RZM (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 01:59 PM

5. There is a show on the History Channel

 

called How the States Got Their Shapes.

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Response to RZM (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 02:02 PM

7. Why is Virginia obvious?

 

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 02:11 PM

8. Queen Elizabeth, the 'Virgin Queen'

 

Maybe that's not entirely obvious, actually. I perhaps said that because I learned it when I was young and it stuck with me.

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Response to RZM (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 02:28 PM

9. I just learned something new.

 

I did not know that.

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Response to kag (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 01:23 PM

2. Aside from Anglo, Spanish, French or Dutch-named places,

I just assumed that most of the states were named after the most dominant Native American tribe that particular region/area.

Come on, Minnesota, Dakota, Idaho, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Mississppi, Kansas, Oregon and others. Those have got to be the names of major Native American tribes.

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Response to TheDebbieDee (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 01:51 PM

4. If all you want to know is...

which tribe a word came from or what the word "means" you can find that all over the internet (although there is a fair amount of wrong info out there).

My book covers more of what George R. Stewart called "the motivation of the namer". I wanted to tell the whole story of how the word came to be applied to the state. And there are some very interesting stories out there, even for states where you think the derivation is "obvious".

For instance...

The word "Wyoming" comes from a small valley in Ohio, but came to be applied to a region a thousand miles away.

The word "Idaho" was made up by a man named George "Doc" Willing as a kind of practical joke. He wanted it to sound like an aboriginal word, and even gave it a fake meaning: "gem of the mountains". He intended it to be proposed as the name for what is now Colorado.

Many names that we use for native tribes are those that were given to them by their neighbors, often their enemies; they had their own names for themselves. For example, the Missouri called themselves "Niutachi", the Arkansas called themselves "Quapaw", and the Iowa called themselves "Pahoches."

There are lots of other stories surrounding the names of our states, many of them very funny. There are also some new, compelling theories about how some states were named (e.g. Oregon, Arizona and Maine), and there are still some mysteries surrounding a few of the names; for instance, we still don't know for sure what the word "Iowa" means, and we don't know the motivation behind changing the name of "Alabama" from it's originally proposed name, "Mobile".

These are some of the topics I researched and wrote about. I'll admit, it takes a certain kind of nerd to enjoy this stuff, but I count myself among them.

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Response to kag (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 02:34 PM

10. Wow

 

Now I really am going to have to buy it! The whole stories sound really interesting.

Wyoming was actually one that I've always wondered about. Growing up in SW Ohio, I was dimly aware that there was a Cincinnati suburb called Wyoming, but I would never have thought to make the connection.

Cool stuff.

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Response to kag (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 05:54 PM

12. Iowa means "Idiots Out Walking Around".

You're welcome.

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Response to bluedigger (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 12, 2011, 09:25 AM

13. I'll have to remember that for the second edition...

Thanks.

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Response to kag (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 02:00 PM

6. Your book sounds very interesting.

 

I'd like to read it.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 05:24 PM

11. Thanks.

It really is like my third child.

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Response to kag (Original post)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 12:17 AM

14. I'm done shopping, but I will certainly consider your book

after the new year.

I've always been told that Ohio is named for the river, not the other way around, and that "Ohio" means "beautiful river." Why it became the state's name, I don't know. Your book sounds like a great read.

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