THE TOP THREE BABY NAMES 100 Years Ago in Syracuse

Dorothy Williams


Baby New Year has arrived! With him, thousands of other babies will arrive this year too. If you’re expecting, check out this list of 100-year-old baby names you can use as inspiration to name your own Baby New Year. Then, keep reading to find the stories of locals who share the same name.

Girls’ Names

The number-one name in 1922 was Mary. In the United States, it remained the number-one name for 35 consecutive years. Its origin is Hebrew. It was the word for myrrh, used in Biblical times as incense and perfume.

Mary Wilcox was born smack dab in the middle of ten children in Syracuse. She went on to be the President of the Women’s Faculty Association at Weber State University, then known as Weber College. Alongside her, her husband William P. Miller was the President of the college for 19 years. At over 70 years old, she received an honorary doctorate of humanities degree from WSU. She attended the Wilcox Family Reunion at Syracuse Park late into her life.

Next, comes this Greek name. In its original language, it was Dorothea. It meant “God’s gift.”

Dorothy Williams’ father had come from Arizona but served on Syracuse’s first town council. As a result, she was one of the first born after Syracuse had been established. After Dorothy graduated from Weber College, she worked in the Scowcroft Canning Factory. Her family sold tomatoes there. While there, she met her future husband, Melvin Davis.

At number three on the list is another Greek name. Then, it was pronounced Helena, now, it is shortened to Helen. Helena meant “light or torch.”

Helen Wilcox (Mary’s cousin) certainly lived up to the meaning of her name. In life, she was a 4-H leader and taught young children how to take care of livestock. She was also a Lady Lion, organizing events to raise money on behalf of Syracuse. In addition, she participated in the former Syracuse Literary and Service Club, which she probably liked most, since she was known to recite poetry.

Boys’ Names

While this was the number-one name in 1922, it would remain in the top five for 52 consecutive years. In Hebrew, it meant “God is gracious.” Its longer companion, Johnathan, meant “Jehovah’s gift.”

John Henry Stokes was born in Syracuse at the end of the 19th century. He grew up loving the outdoors, trading, and whittling. “Hen,” as he went by, especially loved big game hunting, and he hunted anything from elk, grizzly bears, deer, and goats. His hunting trips into the Rocky Mountains became so popular that even Hank Snow, the Yodeling, Singing Ranger, tagged along once.

This name is Old English. It meant “bright or shining with fame.” Robert was made world- renowned by Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, who preserved his country’s independence.

Robert Bodily went to school in Syracuse, coincidentally, taught by William Miller, the future President of Weber College. Just after his first daughter was born, Robert was drafted into the second World War. He caught the Bamberger line down to Fort Douglas after a long tearful goodbye with his wife, Lucille Poll.

William is an Old German name. It meant “a resolute protector.” Its Old English nickname, Will, means “determined, firm, resolute.”

Garold William Hodson lived up to his name by the time he was 13 years old. He was swimming in Sands Hole Reservoir, when his buddy, Spencer Parish, started to drown. Garold stuck a long pole out to Spencer and pulled him onto shore.

Do you have an ancestor with one of the above names? We want to hear their story! Visit our website to submit their stories for the chance to be published later.

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