My husband several months ago sent me an email message with a link to a map with names of towns that were not on a 2011 map of the United States. A few of the names like Nieuw Amsterdam and Fort Goede Hoop I recognized but many of the other names on the map were not familiar. Daniel Geduld created the map that identified previous names for 56 of larger cities in the United States.
I embarked on a quest to learn more about each of the cities/town named on this map. At times, finding any information about some of the locations was a challenge. Although I spent more time on this project than I expected, I read about some very interesting people and places. There are 56 names on the map. I decided to cover the cities/towns 14 at a time. The names below are the first fourteen.
Fort Goede Hoop (Hartford, CT)
Fort Huys de Goede Hoop was established as the northeastern fortification and trading center of the Dutch West India Company in 1633. A group of Englishmen from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 set up a community across the Park River from the fort and called it Hartford. In 1654, the fort was turned over to New England and the fort was subsumed by the town of Hartford.
Nieuw Amsterdam (New York, NY)
Nieuw Amsterdam is known as the Manhattan Borough of the City of New York. The town was established in 1629. In the Fall of 1664, the British took control of Nieuw Amsterdam and named the city, New York in honor of the Duke of York. The Dutch briefly regained control of the area and called the city New Orange in honor of the House of Orange, the Dutch royal family. This name lasted from August 1673 to November 1674 when New York was returned to British control by treaty.
Beaver Creek (Buffalo, NY)
Beaver Creek has been known by the name of Buffalo, New York for well over 100 years. The city is on the Buffalo River and derives its name from the River. Buffalo Creek becomes Buffalo River near the city of Buffalo where the Cayuga and Cazenovia Creeks merge with it. No one really knows how Buffalo Creek derived its name. This name is mentioned by John Montresor four times in his journal of 1764. One story is that it is an Anglicization of the French phrase Beau Fleuve meaning beautiful river. Others claim that an English interpreter incorrectly translated the Indian word for beaver. Because there were so many beaver in the area in the 17th and 18th centuries, some believe that Buffalo Creek was really Beaver Creek. There are many theories but not much evidence to support any of them.
Trimountaine (Boston, MA)
The first European explorers called this area Trimountaine because of the three hills on the peninsula. Governor John Winthrop arrived here in the summer of 1630. On September 17, 1630, he named the new town Boston after the town in Lincolnshire, England. Two of three hills were leveled. Beacon Hill only remains.
Milford (Newark, NJ)
Unhappy with the merger of the New Haven Colony with the Connecticut Colony, several people from the towns of Branford and Milford left in the Fall of 1966 and settled in New Jersey at what it now Newark. The leader, Robert Treat, named the town, Milford after the town from which he left. Rev. Abraham Pierson of Branford was the first minister of the Congregational Church in Milford. Later the town was renamed Newark in honor of Rev. Pierson who entered the ministry at Newark-on-the-Trent in England.
Shackamaxon (Philadelphia, PA)
Shackamaxon of Shakamaxon was a Lenape or Delaware Indian village on the Delaware River. In 1681, William Penn was granted a charter for the Pennsylvania Colony and looked for a suitable location for the capital of his colony. He purchased the site from the Lenape Indians to avoid any confrontations with the natives. He named the city Philadelphia from the Greek words philos and adelphos that mean love or friendship and brotherhood.
Pittsborough (Pittsburgh, PA)
General John Forbes was responsible for the construction of Fort Pitt named after the elder William Pitt. Forbes named the settlement between the forks of the Ohio River, Pittsborough. In 1769 a survey was made of the land between the forks. In this survey the area was called the Manor of Pittsburgh.
Fort Christina (Wilmington, DE)
The fort was built in 1638 by the Swedes. Control of the fort fell into the hands of the Dutch in 1655 and was renamed Fort Altena. In 1664, the British gained control. In 1739, King George II granted a borough charter to the settlement and the name was changed to Wilmington. It is presumed that it was in honor of Spencer Compton, the 1st Earl of Wilmington. It may be so, but I haven’t anything that made him stand out as a special person after whom a city would be named.
Georgetown (Washington, D. C.)
George Gordon and George Beall owned land that included the site that was to become Georgetown. The Maryland legislature purchased sixty acres from the two Georges in 1751 and established Georgetown. The town became a port from which goods from Maryland could be shipped. Why the town was called Georgetown is not clear. The town may have been named for Gordon and Beall. However, King George II was on the throne of England and Maryland was a province of England, so others believe that it was named to honor King George. It was not until 1871 that Georgetown was subsumed by the city of Washington.
Fort Charles (Richmond, VA)
Fort Charles was built on the James River at the falls about 1646. Two years later, the fort was moved to the south side of the James River in what was Manchester, VA. In 1910, Manchester became part of Richmond. Manchester was originally known as Manatosh and then Rocky Ridge. In reality, Richmond was never called Manchester.
Fort Lee (Charleston. WV)
Colonel George Clendenin purchased land at the confluence of the Kanawha and Elk Rivers. In 1788 he built a fort to protect the settlers who were moving into the area. He named the fort for General Richard Henry (Light Horse Harry) Lee who became a governor of Virginia. It is believed that he called the area outside the fort Charles Town after his father. Charles Town in eastern West Virginia was named for George Washington’s brother. To avoid confusion, the name of the town at Fort Lee was changed in 1794 to Charleston.
Bloomsbury (Raleigh, NC)
Bloomsbury was the county seat of the newly established Wake County (1771). Raleigh was chosen as the site of the state capital in 1788 and the county seat of Wake County in 1972. Bloomsbury was absorbed by the new town.
Charles Town (Charleston, SC)
This city was called Charles Towne or Charles Town until the American Revolution. It was named after King Charles II of England. At the conclusion of the war, the name of the city was changed to Charleston to distance its connection to the British royalty.
Terminus (Atlanta, GA)
This was the terminus of the Western and Atlantic Railroad that was built in 1837. The settlement here was named Terminus. But it was also informally called Thrasherville after a merchant, John Thrasher. When enough families (30) had settled here, the town was renamed Marthasville. A railroad engineer thought that the name of the town should be Atlantica-Pacifica after the railroad. His name prevailed but was shortened to Atlanta.
To be continued...