Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Changing the Town Name

Image result for hangtown california
Hangtown, California aka Dry Diggins

Let’s face it, most town names have been overhauled since their first inceptions in the 17 or 1800’s. I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and that’s what it has always been known since its start. I was taught that it is a Scottish word meaning clear running water (I only wish that was true today). However, places like Placerville, California have undergone a few name changes. I’ve been through Placerville. I-80 goes right through it. It’s a gorgeous city nestled in a pine forest. I could see myself living there, only because I appreciate tree’s, and lots of them. Placerville’s past is tied to the LDS Church. Okay, maybe I’m overstating this some. It’s really tied to one of the first four missionaries to Missouri in the fall of 1830, just months after the church was organized. We know that those four missionaries were Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer Jr., Oliver Cowdery, and Ziba Peterson. Ziba Peterson couldn’t survive the persecution in Missouri. He and his wife left the Church and by 1847 moved to Placerville. However, it wasn’t known as Placerville yet. It was actually dubbed Dry Diggins. Ziba became the Sheriff of the town. He caught two desperadoes and conducted the first legal hangings in the state of California. This incident caused the town name to undergo a slight overhaul in honor of the situation. It became known as Hangtown. We have the Bushman family living in our ward. He comes from that area and still has family living there. One day he told me that one of his relatives has a tree on the property that is dubbed, and has always been dubbed the hanging tree by the locals. Hmm . . . I wonder.  Eventually the town took on the more pleasant name of Placerville. Lewiston, Utah is another classic example. I’ve also been through Lewiston, Utah on many occasions. It’s small, and quaint. Just the way I like it (maybe it could use a few more trees). What was Lewiston, Utah nicknamed in the 1870’s?

A)                 This-Is-Really-The-Place

B)                 Lewiston Flat’s

C)                 Poverty Flat’s

D)                 Lew’ston

Yesterday’s answer:

(C) To rid the covers of any critters that might have crawled into the bed.

Phoebe Arabell Woodruff Moses, daughter of Wilford Woodruff, gives us a glimpse of some of the critters that snuck into their adobe house in Arizona in the early 1880’s:

   We had all kinds of vermin to contend with. Jesse made the same kind of bedsteads here as in the other cabin. We made a bed on the cedar chest for little Jesse. One night he cried with earache. His father was going to get up to go to him. I told him to light the candle first, which he did, and right beside the bed where he would have put his foot was a tarantula as large as a saucer. It is a hairy-legged spider that runs and jumps. My husband killed it with a club. One morning, I picked up the baby’s stocking by the toe, and a scorpion fell on my finger. It happened to be a young one, so a bath of alcohol and a poultice of indigo cured it. We had to shake our bedding twice a day because we often found lizards in them. One night we shook a centipede out. It is a flat green worm with dozens of legs on both sides, and deadly poison. It runs very fast.

Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Chronicles of Courage (Salt Lake City: Utah Printing Company, 1991), 2:140.

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