Volume VII, No. 2, Winter 1979


And Other Interesting Missouri Place Names

Compiled by Chris Cotrel

Hawk Point in Lincoln County is the only town in the United States with the name. Long before the early settlers came, the prairie hawks roosted there in a point of the woods where the timber left off and open rolling hills began.

Oxly, near Doniphan, was once a thriving town named for the oxen that used to haul logs to the lumber yard and tie yard. It was called Oakdale originally and then Varner when the post office was established in 1883. The name was changed to Oxly in 1900, probably because there was another Varner in Missouri.

A postal inspector asked a merchant and first postmaster of a place in western Dent County what he was going to call his town. Seeing a pair of Boss work gloves, he replied, "Boss." And so it is.

When establishing a post office in Howard Township in southwestern Bates County, the residents couldn't agree upon a name. Howard was not acceptable, probably because of duplication. While loafing on the railroad depot platform, s, a group of citizens noticed a keg of whiskey bearing the name "Hume." It isn't known if this was the town where the distillery was located, name of the distiller or brand name of whiskey. At any rate on November 23, 1880, the post office was established as Hume.

Named for Howell County, Mo., Hocomo was established July 6, 1931 and absorbed by Caulfield in 1976 on the retirement of the postmistress.

Lecoma in the northwest corner of Dent County is situated on land granted to James M. Eason by President James Buchanan in 1857. The name was taken from the names of three prominent local families: Lenox, Comstock and Martin.

Now a rural mail station, Brown Branch in northeastern Taney County was given the name because of its location between the two creeks, Big Brown and Little Brown. For about two years in the 1870's there was an earlier post office west of there across Caney Creek called Thistle. The Thistle postmistress, a native of Scotland, named it after the thistle, the national flower of Scotland.

The town of Mindenmines on the Kansas border in Barton County was plotted in 1884 by the Mindentown Company. It was originally called Minden, but sometime around 1904 after coal mining was in the area, the name was changed to Mindenmines.

Livonia was established around 1862 to 1865 during the Civil War. It was located on a trail (now Highway 136) leading from Unionville, Missouri, the county seat of Putman County, to Glenwood, a point on the Wabash Railroad. Because of the war and all the letters exchanged between the soldiers and the families, a post office was necessary at this location. The first postmaster, Absolum Gnogan, a young man at the time, named the town after Livonia, an Indian girl who frequented the post office.

Ionia got its name when John N. Ans-paugh came to the community south of Sedalia in 1861. While in Boonville one day, someone asked where he was from. He replied, "I've got a store, a blacksmith shop and a post office. I own a city." After that it was called Iona City. City was later dropped and an "i" was added, making it Ionia.

It was told that Ava Kidd, a young lady of Tennessee, did not care for a suitor who wanted to marry her. The young man moved to Missouri and, in honor of his love, called the spot he settled Ava.


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