What’s in a name? Not a lot in these instances
When we started the “What’s in a Name?” series that runs every other Monday, my initial thought was to tell the stories of the place names that we’re familiar with (and aren’t obvious).
What we quickly found though is there are or were names for EVERYTHING.
And many of them just don’t survive which means pinning down locations and information can be really challenging.
Here are a few of those places that I’d be stunned to ever learn
This was a small settlement in Sheffield Township named for Andrew Donaldson, who owned a large farm at the site and moved here from Kittanning, Pa. in 1848. As with many of these obscure place names, the oil industry produced some notoriety when 12 producing wells were located on the site.
Frank Henry once had a lumber mill at this location in Sheffield Township. The Henrys Mill bridge carries Rt. 666 over Tionesta Creek.
Moving to Triumph Township, McGraws was named for Michael McGraw who settled here in 1830. The early oil era – the 1860s – is primarily why this location is known.
This one’s also in Triumph Township and it’s not a name to overthink – many of the early settlers were English and named their village after London, England. It was particularly active during the 19th-century oil boom.
This Sheffield Township settlement is the result of wanting to honor a man. But it wasn’t particularly creative. They mashed his last name into his first name and went with it.
Roy Stone first came to Warren County when he was in the lumber and railroad business prior to the Civil War.
He held the contract for grading the railroad that runs through what became known as Roystone.
During the Civil War, he recruited the county’s initial Bucktail company and was tasked with recruiting more Pennsylvania Bucktails the following year. His most well-known war service is likely the defense of McPherson’s Ridge on the first day at Gettysburg, where he was wounded severely in the hip and arm.
He recovered from those wounds though because he would go on to invent railroad systems in the 1870s and was the first leader of the Division of Public Roads, which we now know as the Federal Highway Administration.
He re-entered the service for the Spanish-American War where he served as a brigadier general in Puerto Rico
Sugar Run (Sugar Run Station)
Here’s one that’s no more because of the Kinzua Dam.
Sugar Run – a small settlement and a railroad stop – was located in Corydon Township on the east side of the Allegheny River.
The name is pretty predictable. A large grove of Sugar Maple trees was at the source.
It’s reported that Seneca women use to come to the place to make syrup every spring, calling the place “dyeenodah gwa” which translates to “where women make sugar.”