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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 353

is now the Yakara river; the Bulldog mountains, in Arizona, have become the Harosomas; the Picketwire river, as we have seen, has resumed its old French name of Purgatoire. As with natural features of the landscape, so with towns. Nearly all the old Boozevilles, Jackass Flats, Three Fingers, Hell-For-Sartains, Undershirt Hills, Razzle-Dazzles, Cow-Tails, Yellow Dogs, Jim-Jamses, Jump-Offs, Poker Citys and Skunktowns have yielded to the growth of delicacy, but Tombstone still stands in Arizona, Goose Bill remains a postoffice in Montana, and the Geographic Board gives its imprimatur to the Horsethief trail in Colorado, to Burning Bear in the same state, and to Pig Eye lake in Minnesota. Various other survivors of a more lively and innocent day linger on the map: Blue Ball, Pa., Cowhide, W. Va., Dollarville, Mich., Oven Fork, Ky., Social Circle, Ga., Sleepy Eye, Minn., Bubble, Ark., Shy Beaver, Pa., Shin Pond, Me., Rough-and-Ready, Calif., Non Intervention, Va., Noodle, Tex., Number Four, N. Y., Oblong, Ill., Stock Yards. Neb., Stout, Iowa, and so on. West Virginia, the wildest of the eastern states, is full of such place-names. Among them I find Affinity, Annamoriah (Anna Maria?), Bee, Bias, Big Chimney, Billie, Blue Jay, Bulltown, Caress, Cinderella, Cyclone, Czar, Cornstalk, Duck, Halcyon, Jingo, Left Hand, Ravens Eye, Six, Skull Run, Three Churches, Uneeda, Wide Mouth, War Eagle and Stumptown. The Postal Guide shows two Ben Hurs, five St. Elmos and ten Ivanhoes, but only one Middle-march. There are seventeen Roosevelts, six Codys and six Barnums, but no Shakespeare. Washington, of course, is the most popular of American place-names. But among names of postoffices it is hard pushed by Clinton, Centerville, Liberty, Canton, Marion and Madison, and even by Springfield, Warren and Bismarck.
  Many American place-names are purely arbitrary coinages. Towns on the border between two states, or near the border, are often given names made of parts of the names of the two states, e. g., Pen-Mar (Pennsylvania+Maryland), Mar-Del (Maryland+Delaware), Texarkana (Texas+Arkansas), Kanorado (Kansas+Colorado), Tex-homa (Texas+Oklahoma), Dakoming (Dakota+Wyoming), Texico (Texas+New Mexico), Calexico (California+Mexico). Norlina is a telescope form of North Carolina. Ohiowa (Neb.) was named by settlers who came partly from Ohio and partly from Iowa. Penn Yan