Among other things it is somewhat amusing to notice in passing through our streets, an almost endless variety of names, titles, characters, symbols, hieroglyphics, &c., with which numberless signs, doors, gates, and posts abound. One would suppose that it must have long taxed the ingenuity and patience of a nation of linguists to invent so many break-jaw-names, which many a daring nomenclator would hardly undertake to spell, much less to pronounce, and less still to write from the pronunciation of the owners. Where all these strange words have come from, we would not like to say. Perhaps the printer who has his types in “pi,” can answer the question.
A few for example will suffice. Well there is Mr.”Blehl,” and Mr. “Schnitzpahn,” and Mr. “Congnacq,” and Mr. “Schweppenheiser,” and Mr. “Chishofcke,” and Mr. “Schwoerir,” &c. &c.
As to the color of our population, here is Mr. Black, and there is Mr. White, and a little farther on we find Messrs. Slate, Gray, Green, Brown, Blue, Orange, Pink, and Purple.
The physical structure of our human fabric exhibits quite a variety of materials, for we find mingled together Messrs. Stone, Iron, Steel, Clay, Sand, Brick, Wood, Beam, Brace, Post, Stud, Sill, Board, Shingle, Glass, and Slate. In addition to these, we are provided with men of other qualities, such as Mr. Long, Short, Broad, Small, Strong, Week, Stout, Smart, Quick, Sharp, Blunt, Keen, Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Good, Better, Best, Goodspeed, Goodenough, Goodman, Goodchild, and Goodall.
But this is not all. As far as names are concerned, the brute creation have also a pretty fair representation. A brief notice, however, of the finny tribe will suffice. And after the name of “Fish,” we may mention Whale, Sturgeon, Bass, Salmon, Shad, Trout, Pike, Eels, and Crabbe. But appellation has little to do with character, for to be a Dove by name and a Shark by nature would hardly afford a sufficient cause for excessive congratulation. We hope that every man by his good deeds will give himself a name, of which his posterity shall never be ashamed.
Article by Joel H. Ross. What I saw in New York, or A bird’s eye view of city life. Published Aubum, N.Y.: Derby & Miller 1988
As we celebrate Thanksgiving and all the blessings that we have to be grateful for including our names, both first and last, let us remember our ancestors and be grateful for the lives that they lived.