Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thomas Benton Stout - Follow-up

The picture is our Thomas Benton Stout with five of his sons; "Riley, Marion, Willie, Johnie, and James", taken in 1917 in Clovis, New Mexico.

This is just a short note concerning the name of our g-g-grandfather. See the Jan 19 post for details concerning his family, etc.

This is one of the few posts that will be pure speculation! But I hope it is informative and maybe a little fun.

In the mid 1800s, there was a very popular fad of naming children after famous celebrities, mostly political or military folks.

So, where did our Thomas Benton Stout get his name?

I believe it was from the Missouri Senator, Thomas H. Benton.

Thomas H. Benton was elected as one of two senators from the then brand-new state of Missouri in 1820. He served for 30 years, until 1850, the year our Thomas was born. He led a colorful life, with famous fights and an unpopular stand against slavery late in life bringing him notoriety.

Instead of re-writing his life story, I will link to his Wikipedia page for those who are interested:

He is the subject of several books, two of which were written by future presidents. Teddy Roosevelt published a biography in 1887, and Benton is one of the Senators profiled in John F. Kennedy's book, 'Profiles in Courage'.

Can we be sure that our Thomas Benton Stout was named after Thomas H. Benton? No. But until someone comes up with a better idea, this is what I will lean toward. It seems likely that parents would name a son after a man in whom they saw qualities which the family admired. Thomas H. Benton would fit the bill. We know the Stouts were men and women who stood strong for the values they deemed important, and the fact that John Lewis Stout (the father of our T.B.Stout) enlisted in the Union Army in Missouri shows that he must have been an abolishionist.

I hope that was fun, and even if it is wrong, it tells us a lot about the times in which these folks lived!

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