When your town’s name really is just a seed to a elaborate murder mystery…your town is Dead Women Crossing in Oklahoma.
The origin of the name involves divorce, prostitutes, murder, and even suicide. Not necessarily in the order one would expect. Wiki explains:
On July 6, 1905, a schoolteacher named Katie DeWitt James filed for divorce. The next day, she carried her 14-month-old daughter Lulu Belle to a train station in Custer City. Katie was going to visit with her cousin who lived in Ripley. Her father Henry DeWitt came to bid farewell; her husband Martin James did not come to the station.
A few weeks later, Henry became concerned that he had not heard from his daughter. He contacted a sheriff, who suggested hiring a detective named Sam Bartell. Bartell started his investigation from Clinton, but nobody remembered seeing a woman and a baby there. Then on July 28, 1905 in Weatherford Bartell learned that Katie and the baby spent a night in the house of William Moore. They were brought to this house by Moore’s sister-in-law Fannie Norton, a resident of Clinton who also was known as Mrs. Ham, and reputed to be a prostitute.In the morning Norton, Katie and the baby left in a buggy; Norton returned alone two hours later. Then Norton went back to Clinton.
Later Bartell found out that two women and the baby were seen around Deer Creek. The detective also was able to find the baby. The witness testified that Norton left the baby with a boy, and asked him to take the baby home. The baby was unharmed, but her clothing was covered with blood.
While locals searched for Katie, Bartell tracked down Norton, who denied she murdered Katie. Later that day Norton committed suicide by poison.
On August 31, 1905, Katie’s remains were found near Deer Creek, about twenty miles east of Clinton. Her head was severed from her body. Katie’s father confirmed these were remains of his daughter.
Of course the loose ends on the story were not all tied up.
And now the least surprising part of the Wiki page: It’s purported to be haunted.
When Susan Woolf Brenner went to Deer Creek during her research, she saw a blue light with no particular shape that originated in the creek, and was coming towards her friend and her. Some people claim they have heard a woman crying for her baby around this place.
The Wiki page is called “Dead Women.” Another page on Google lists it as “Dead Woman” which would make more sense.
It’s long overdue for Somebodyisfromhere.com to create an Arkansas search tag.
And to do it Somebodyisfromhere.com found the town that may lead the land in percentage of (former) population that’s in the college football hall of fame. The Wiki page seems to be guessing there. And Somebodyisfromhere.com never heard of the players anyway.
Nevertheless, Smackover has a population of over 1,900 and two hall of famers. What is more interesting, though, is the name. What the hell is with the name?
The name Smackover comes from an anglicization of the French ‘Sumac Couvert’ which translates to ‘covered in sumac’.
The little oil town of Smackover is steeped in pure Americana, as evidenced by the street-mounted antique stop light in the center of town as well as the old western-style store fronts that line Main Street.
Somebodyisfromhere.com knows what you are thinking: what if you drove through this small town and you immediately wanted to reminisce about it but in like a detached historic kind of way?
Well, you’re in luck.
It is home to the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources. The Museum depicts the history and culture of Smackover and the surrounding area with an indoor reconstruction of downtown Smackover…
Smackover is also where rockabilly musician Sleepy LaBeef was born. LaBeef was one of 10 children which makes the town’s overall population numbers somewhat surprising.
He received the nickname “Sleepy” as the result of a lazy eye.
It’s Halloween season so it’s time to uncover one of the country’s more gruesome names: Slaughter Beach.
Often times, when looking up a cool sounding name, the answer is not as interesting as it would first appear. For example, one might expect the name of the town to come instead from a person’s last name. Here, however, that is only one possible scenario.
…It was named after William Slaughter, a local postmaster in the mid-19th century.
The second story claims “the name came from the horseshoe crabs that wash up on shore and die each year.
Alright, well that’s something. The description goes on:
They come near shore to shallow water to lay their eggs and the low tide strands them leaving them to die, thus the “slaughter.”
That’s a pretty colorful tale. Wiki offers a third possible explanation but even they seem skeptical calling the option, “The most contested source of the town name.”
The third story…stems from a local legend which tells of a man named Brabant who, in the mid-18th century, “slaughtered” several indigenous inhabitants by cannon in order to prevent an impending massacre.
A brief reminder that history is a bummer.
Slaughter Beach has a population of just over 200 people and is not near anything. Even by Delaware standards.
It stands to reason that the more specific the town name, the easier it should be to identify the origin of the name.
Ninety Six exists to dissuade you from that notion.
There is much confusion about the mysterious name, “Ninety-Six,” and the true origin may never be known.
There’s the Native American possibility.
Speculation has led to the mistaken belief that it was 96 miles to the nearest Cherokee settlement of Keowee; to a counting of creeks crossing the main road leading from Lexington, SC, to Ninety-Six.
Somebodyisfromhere.com’s own origin has a little to do with the Welsh so he is partial perhaps to their stories. What do they have to say?
“(The name comes from) an interpretation of a Welsh expression, “nant-sych,” meaning “dry gulch.”
Ahh, sure. Makes sense. It was founded by Welshman?
No one is able to confirm that founder Robert Goudey (sic) was Welsh, English, Scottish, or German.
(There is also an explanation how chains used to be used to measure maps – and that Ninety Six was perhaps 96 chains away from so and so- but that description was too convoluted to include in this free flowin’ and breezy website.)
Prior to Ninety Six, the area was known as “Jews Land.”
For a time it was known as “Jews Land” because some prominent Sephardic Jewish families of London bought extensive property there. The Salvador and DaCosta families bought 200,000 acres, intending to help some poor Sephardic families to relocate to the New World.
While one Jewish resident’s history seems to be…mixed.
Francis Salvador (1747-1776), bought land in Ninety-Six District, and was the first Jew to be elected to public office in the colonies (1774, to SC’s Provincial Congress); after joining the militia, in 1776 he was the first Jew killed in the American Revolution in a battle with Loyalists and Cherokee
At least one resident was good-natured about where he was reared.
Bill Voiselle, pitcher for the New York Giants, Boston Braves, and Chicago Cubs, wore his hometown as uniform number “96″ when playing with Boston and Chicago.
The town has a little under 2,000 people living in it.
Somebodyisfromhere.com is not above pandering. At one point the state with the most site views on Somebodyisfromhere.com was Washington. So hello, Washintonians, do you know where the town Puyallup got its name?
Named after the Puyallup Tribe of Native Americans, Puyallup means “the generous people”. Continue reading
Somebodyisfromhere.com ruined Atlantic City.
In the whimsical years pre-recession he used to go to Atlantic City maybe once a week. Especially in summer. He would gamble every time. Win or lose he’d spend money on booze. When he’d win he’d spend some of it shopping and more booze.
He once tried to buy a whole poker table pizza simply because he was up that night and a stranger dared him to. They couldn’t find a place that delivered at that hour.
After one particularly successful night, Continue reading
It’s not surprising that Nevadans – with their cowboy streak – might have a roguish twinkle in their eyes that says, “We are going to do what we want and we are going to do it our way.”
In Jackpot they have taken it to another level. Heck, they don’t even recognize Nevada time. Continue reading