What's in a Name?

In 1938, Bill Whitney wrote following article for The Sunbury News.  Nicknames must have been a big thing in years gone by.  Like many of my generation (I was born the year after the article was in the News), I only knew many residents' nicknames. 

Most Odd Nicknames Acquired During Boyhood

Residents Tell How They Were Given Nicknames
Such as Swipes, Ding Bat, Dude, Ping

Those unusual nicknames of your friends are acquired during boyhood with favorite activities and foods, supremacy in sports, and your chums creating these odd names.

Common nicknames of Dick for Richard, Jim for James, Dave for David are tacked onto men with those names nearly at birth but those odd ones  here's how a few residents of our community acquired theirs:

Pete Baker

"I've been called Pete for years.  Don't believe many people know my right name", L. O. Baker, Sunbury's telephone man said.  Mr. Baker's name is Lemuel Otis Baker.

"My nickname?  I've had that a long time", Frank Granger told.  Most of the boys in the community call him Swipes.  Mr. Granger was quite a pool player some years ago.  One time while playing in a match here with some Delaware boys, Frank took them into camp.  One of his opponents remarked, "See that fellow swipe the balls off!"  Since then it has been Swipes Granger.

Liked Peanuts

Edsel Day's appetite favored peanuts when he was a little boy.  That is the cause of the boys calling him Peanut.

When I started into school here I called all the boys scuz and they soon reversed it and everyone calls me Scuz", Freeman Overturf says.

Lauris Bennett of Galena was nicknamed Ding Bat from his ability to ding the bat when a small boy.  Lauris was playing ball with Everard Ulery and other boys when he dinged the ball.

Earl "Derrick" Fravel, Delaware county's road patrolman, has been called Derrick since he was a small boy.  Earl met Mr. Williams on his way to the stone crusher along Duncan Run in Harlem Township.  Mr. Williams inquired where he was going and Earl answered, "Down to see the big derrick."  Since then it has been Derrick Fravel.

"Waldron Townley used to call be Dudle Doddle Clark when I was a little fellow.  That was shortened to Dude, says Ralph Clark, owner of a furniture store in Sunbury.

Played Ping Pong

"Percy Ports gave me my nickname in Blake's store twenty five years ago", Leroy Gill said.  Mr. Gill and Mr. Ports had a ping pong table on the second floor of the "Blakely-Williams store.  "We played a lot and Percy said that I was too good at pinging that ball.  The boys started calling me 'Ping' Gill.

"An old pair of greasy overalls gave me my nickname of Honkey", Glen Perfect says.  Glen was operating a threshing machine at Mack Boy's one day several years ago.  His overalls were greasy and when thee men started for dinner one of them called him Honkey.

"An automobile salesman gave me the nickname of Shorty", A. C. Morris, mechanic in V. M. Williamson's Chevrolet Sales.

Grew Too Fast

"Franklin Whiteside started calling me Hi when he lived here", says Kerfoot Morris.  "Guess I grew too fast that summer."

"Whistle Goodrich called me Tobe when we went to school at Vans Valley and that's all I hear now", Emmett Feasel, Sunbury filling station operator said.

Donald Lake says, "I called Clyde Barker Spinny when he went across the square carrying a large pan of bread on top of his head.  He started calling me Spinny and that has been my nickname ever since."

"I don't know where I got this Kinky nickname.  When I was in school here they called me lengthy", Ralph Clark, Sunbury Barber.

Lester Perry says, "They started calling me Nobber when I worked on the highway and it stayed with me."


The Sunbury News, July 31, 1928

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