Names Caused Ruckus in One-Room Schoolhouse

Brothers’ names threw the teacher at their new one-room schoolhouse for a loop.

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My brothers’ names caused quite a ruckus when they began attending their new one-room schoolhouse.

Here is how it happened.

My mother and father were already the proud parents of five children and looking forward to a new baby. On March 2, 1920, a baby boy arrived. The whole family was trying to decide on a name for him when my mother proudly showed the baby to a long-time friend who said, "Since he was born so close to George Washington's birthday, why not name him George Washington?" George Washington Utterback it was!

Two years later, on February I, 1922, another boy was born. We all thought, since he was born in February, we should name him Abraham Lincoln.

Our parents were farmers. Because they rented, they, with the children, moved to a different farm every three or four years. In the Spring of 1931 our family moved to a farm several miles away where everyone was strangers. On the first day at the new school, George and Lincoln happened to sit next to one another. The teacher told each child to stand up and give their name. She asked the oldest brother to give his name first, and he said, "George Washington." Then the teacher stepped to the next desk and asked the younger brother his name. When he said, "Abraham Lincoln," all the children laughed. The teacher said, "WE WILL HAVE NO MORE OF THIS FOOLISHNESS!" She grabbed my brother by the shoulder and shook him so hard she tore his shirt. This really hurt his feelings because it was during the depression and they barely had a change of clothing.

My brothers were still upset when they got home from school. They didn't want to go back to THAT school. Nobody had laughed at their names before, plus the teacher's actions had embarrassed them. Our father listened as the brothers recounted what had happened and then he simply said, "Be proud of your names." The brothers finished the term at THAT school, where they made many new friends.

Cecil Utterback Winn
Moberly, Missouri

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.