In these days where so many people have made-up names, I wonder what really constitutes an unusual name anymore. We live in a really ethnically mixed world and deal with folks with names that don’t necessarily roll off our tongues. I know, growing up in Tennessee, I never expected to meet the Polish and Slavic names I found when we moved to Pittsburgh. Now, I work with people from around the world and encounter lots of “unusual” names.
In my family, you can find all of those good Old Testament and New Testament names. Along with Aaron, Abel, and Abraham, you find Ebenezer, Eunice, Hephzibah, Vashti, and Micajah. Sometimes you have to wonder whether the parents actually read the Scripture, or whether they just figured it was a good Bible name.
There are several folks with Puritan-style virtue names – Charity, Experience, Patience, Constant, Honore, Hope, and Mercy for some. These seem to have gotten a start in the Great Migration, but they carry on for generations.
There are folks named after famous people – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and even Marcus D. Lafayette.(Marquis de Lafayette – for real! And they have no name to go with the D. and they were called Marcus!) There’s a Fernando Cortes (in Arkansas) and a Christopher Columbus (called Lum).
I have a number of folks named after places – Tennessee, Texanna, Virginia, Carolina (and even Virginia Carolina!). There’s an Augustine Florida and an Augusta Carolina, a Georgia Augusta, and a Savannah Georgia. Seems like the women are more frequently named after places than the men in my family.
One man in my family had not so much an unusual name as an unusual coincidence of names. Benjamin Franklin Pierce Hudson was born 22 Dec 1854 in Fulton County, Georgia to Wesley Hudson and Elizabeth Landers. He was the 10th of their 13 children. I’ve spent years working on trying to find the families of Wesley and Betsy with no real luck. And among their children, I’ve really spent most of my time on their son John Wesley Hudson, my great-great-grandfather, who moved from Georgia to Arkansas after the Civil War.
I thought that maybe there was another Benjamin Franklin Pierce for whom Dock Hudson was named. I suspect that if there were, he was a family friend. He had brother named Silas Norton Hudson, named I suppose for the neighbor and associate Silas Norton who lived nearby. But, I’ve not found one yet. I guess I might look a little harder. Maybe he was named for President Franklin Pierce, who became president in 1853, just a year before B.F.P. Hudson was born.
Benjamin Franklin Pierce Hudson often went by the nickname “Dock”. That’s pretty coincidental, since his namesake, years later, was a famous doctor of sorts. Do you remember watching M.A.S.H. during the 1970’s? What was Hawkeye’s real name? Dr. Benjamin Franklin Pierce! I thought this was a funny coincidence as I was reviewing my family groups.
Dock Hudson, like I said, was born in 1854 in what would now be called Midtown Atlanta. Wesley and Betsy owned over 350 acres there before the Civil War. When the war broke out, they moved west to Dallas in Paulding County and lived along Pumpkinvine Creek. If they were trying to escape the war, they didn’t do very well. Pumpkinvine Creek was the scene of some major fighting during the battle for Atlanta in 1864.
Dock married Salina Laura Adair on 11 Dec 1873 in Paulding County, Georgia. She was the daughter of William Levi Adair and Adaline Gann. For any of my Arkansas Hudson family, you will recognize the Gann name. The Hudsons and the Ganns were thick even back in Georgia. John Wesley Hudson and John William Gann were best of friends in Georgia and in Arkansas. The two families have cemeteries less than a quarter mile from each other, on Gann Cemetery Rd and Lane Cemetery Rd, near the Pumpkinvine Baptist Church outside Dallas, Georgia.
Dock was a prominent businessman in Dallas. He as elected to the Ordinary Court in 1896. The 1910 Census shows him as bookkeeper for the court. He died in 1925 and Laura died in 1939. Both of them are buried, along with several of their children, in the Dallas City Cemetery, right on the main avenue as you pull into the cemetery. A place of prominence.
He and Laura had seven children, six of whom lived to adulthood. The last of his children died in 1994. I wonder if Ethel Hudson saw the coincidence that the main character in one of the most popular television shows of the 1970s shared a name with her father, “Doc” Benjamin Franklin Pierce Hudson.