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Community Names in Leon County

Community Names in Leon County

The Bible, geography, botany, allegory, and the commonest incidents were drawn on to secure the names of communities in Leon County, which vary from the musical and pleasant to the downright funny.

From the musical, smooth-flowing name of Normangee or Vanetia, one can encounter such blunt names as Nip-and-Tuck and Pigeon Roost, not to mention such earthy names as Bear Grass, Black Gum, Cedar Creek and Sand Flat.

Some of the most picturesque, earthy names in existence have been giv­en communities in the county, though many of the names no longer apply.

Flynn, for example, once was called Big Tussel, and there is a place ov­ er near the Trinity River in the southeast part of the county called Lick Skillet.

The Ridge, the area between Keechi and Boggy Creeks south of Center­ville, has had a varied time with its name. Once it was called Pleasant Ridge. Then somebody who picked a poor piece of land in the area started. calling it Nubbin Ridge. This aroused the ire of native citizens in the section and a compromise name of just "The Ridge" was adopted.

Nip-and-Tuck is one of the more humorous names. It is a place in the vicinity of Raymond and Guy's Store. The name derived from early days when water was scarce in the county. There was a spring in the vicinity and people from miles around came there each morning after water. A saying grew up that it "was nip and tuck as to who got there first each morning," and thereafter the place was called Nip-and-Tuck.

Origin of all the names of the communities of the county, some of which are no longer in existence, is not known, though the origin of the names of the chief towns is known and the origin of others can be guessed. For example, Nineveh or Corinth are clearly of Biblical derivation. Concord and Friendship are of allegorical derivation, and Sand Flat was named for geographical reasons.

Of the chief towns, their names originated as follows:
Centerville—Because it is in almost the exact center of the county. The geographical center is located about one mile northwest of town.
Jewett—Named for Judge Henry J. Jewett, prominent in the early days of the county.
Buffalo—Named, it is supposed, because of buffalo in the vicinity in ear­ ly days. General Stephen F. Austin's map of Texas, a rare copy of which is in the possession of Mrs. H. H. Brown of Centerville, shows that buffa­ lo and wild horses were present in this area in early days.
Marquez—Named for Marie de la C. Marquez, who was given an eleven-league grant of land in the western part of the present county in 1833.
Normangee—Named for Judge Norman G. Kittrell, a prominent judge of the state who lived in the county. His first name and middle initial, Nor­ man G., were joined to form Normangee.
Oakwood—Named, it is supposed, because of the various kinds of oak trees in this area.
Leona—Named, being the first county seat, to correspond with the county's name of Leon, which is Spanish for lion. Leona is Spanish for lioness. 
Middleton—Named for William B. Middleton, Texas patriot and first sheriff of Leon County.

Origin of names of the other communities is in some instances partially indicated by their nature, and in many instances altogether unknown. Many of the communities, such as Navarro and Cairo, steamboat landings on the Trinity before the railroad came through the county, no longer exist.

Names of some of the communities follow:
Bear Grass    Robbins    Flo
Friendship    Red Land    Nineveh
Blackgum    Centerview    Russell
Wealthy    Newby    Sand Lake
Cross Roads    Sardis    Sand Flat
Commerce    Corinth    Nip-and-Tuck
Vanetia    Cedar Creek    Lick Skillet
Flynn    Keechi    Malvern