List of U.S. county name etymologies (S–Z)

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This is a list of U.S. county name etymologies, covering the letters S to Z.

S[edit]

T[edit]

County name State Origin
Talbot County Georgia Named for Matthew Talbot, 30th Governor of Georgia.
Talbot County Maryland Named for Grace, Lady Talbot, the wife of Sir Robert Talbot, an Irish statesman, and the sister of Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore.
Taliaferro County Georgia Named for Colonel Benjamin Taliaferro of Virginia, an officer in the American Revolution.
Talladega County Alabama The name Talladega is derived from a Muscogee (Creek) Native American word Tvlvteke, from the Creek tålwa, meaning "town", and åtigi, or "border" -- "Border Town"—a town indicating its location on the boundary between the lands of the Creek tribe and those of the Cherokee and Chickasaw.[2]
Tallahatchie County Mississippi Choctaw name meaning "rock of waters".
Tallapoosa County Alabama Name of Creek origin.
Tama County Iowa Named for Taimah, a leader of the Meskwaki Indians.
Taney County Missouri Named in honor of Roger Brooke Taney, fifth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Tangipahoa Parish Louisiana Tangipahoa comes from an Acolapissa word meaning "ear of corn" or "those who gather corn."
Taos County New Mexico "Place of red willows" in the Taos language.
Tarrant County Texas Named in honor of General Edward H. Tarrant.[3]
Tate County Mississippi Named for Thomas Simpson Tate, one of the first prominent settlers of the area.
Tattnall County Georgia Named for Josiah Tattnall Sr., U.S. Senator and 25th Governor of Georgia.
Taylor County Florida Named for Zachary Taylor, twelfth President of the United States of America.
Taylor County Georgia
Taylor County Iowa
Taylor County Kentucky
Taylor County Texas Named for Edward Taylor, George Taylor, and James Taylor, three brothers who died at the Battle of the Alamo.
Taylor County West Virginia Named for Sen. John Taylor of Caroline.
Taylor County Wisconsin
Tazewell County Illinois Named in honor of Littleton Waller Tazewell, U.S. Senator and Governor of Virginia, and/or Littleton's father, prominent Virginia politician Henry Tazewell.
Tazewell County Virginia Named after Henry Tazewell, a United States Senator from Virginia as well as a state legislator and judge.
Tehama County California Uncertain
Telfair County Georgia Named for Edward Telfair, sixteenth governor of Georgia and member of the Continental Congress.
Teller County Colorado Named for Henry M. Teller, a U.S. Senator and the 15th United States Secretary of the Interior.
Tensas Parish Louisiana Derived from the Taensa people.
Terrebonne Parish Louisiana French for "good land" or "good earth".
Terrell County Georgia Named for U.S. Representative William Terrell.
Terrell County Texas Named for Texas state senator Alexander W. Terrell.
Terry County Texas Named for Benjamin Franklin Terry, a colonel in the Confederate Army.
Teton County Idaho Named after the Teton Mountains.[4]
Teton County Montana
Teton County Wyoming
Texas County Missouri Named after the Republic of Texas.
Texas County Oklahoma So named because it was wholly included within the limits of the Texas Cession of 1850, whereby the ownership of the area was passed from the State of Texas to the United States Government.
Thayer County Nebraska Named after the General and Governor John Milton Thayer.[5]
Thomas County Georgia Named for Jett Thomas, officer in the War of 1812; also known for overseeing the construction of the first building at the University of Georgia as well as the state capitol at Milledgeville.
Thomas County Kansas Named for George Henry Thomas, Union General in the American Civil War.
Thomas County Nebraska Named after General George H. Thomas.[6]
Throckmorton County Texas Named for William Throckmorton, an early Collin County settler.
Thurston County Nebraska Named after U.S. Senator John M. Thurston.[7]
Thurston County Washington Named after Samuel R. Thurston, the Oregon Territory's first delegate to Congress.
Tift County Georgia Named for Nelson Tift, founder of the city of Albany and United States Representative.
Tillamook County Oregon Named for the Tillamook, a Native American tribe.
Tillman County Oklahoma
Tioga County New York Derived from an American Indian word meaning "at the forks," describing a meeting place.
Tioga County Pennsylvania Named for the Tioga River.
Tippah County Mississippi The name "Tippah" is a Chickasaw word meaning "cut off," and is taken from the creek of the same name that flows across much of the original county from northeast to southwest before emptying into the Tallahatchie River. The creek probably was so named because it, and the ridges on either side, "cut off" the western part of the region from the eastern portion.
Tippecanoe County Indiana Named for the Tippecanoe River and the Battle of Tippecanoe.
Tipton County Indiana Tipton is named for John Tipton, a soldier of the Battle of Tippecanoe.
Tipton County Tennessee Named for Jacob Tipton, who was killed by Native Americans in a conflict over the Northwest Territory.
Tishomingo County Mississippi
Titus County Texas Named for Andrew Jackson Titus, an early settler.
Todd County Kentucky Named after John Todd, an early frontier military figure.[8]
Todd County Minnesota Named after John Blair Smith Todd, delegate from Dakota Territory to the United States House of Representatives and General in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Todd County South Dakota
Tolland County Connecticut Named for the town of Tolland, Connecticut, which itself is named after Tolland, Somerset.
Tom Green County Texas Named for Thomas Green, a Confederate brigadier general.
Tompkins County New York Named in honor of Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York and Vice President of the United States of America.
Tooele County Utah It is thought that the name derives from a Native American chief, but controversy exists about whether such chief lived. Alternate explanations hypothesize that the name comes from "tu-wanda", the Goshute word for "bear", or from "tule", a Spanish word of Aztec origins meaning "bulrush" (Schoenoplectus).
Toole County Montana Named for Joseph Toole, Montana's first governor.
Toombs County Georgia Named for Robert Toombs, United States representative and senator.
Torrance County New Mexico
Towner County North Dakota Named after Oscar M. Towner, a member of the United States House of Representatives.
Towns County Georgia Named for lawyer, legislator, and politician George W. Towns.
Traill County North Dakota Named after Walter John Strickland Traill, an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company and son of Canadian pioneer Catharine Parr Traill.[9]
Transylvania County North Carolina Derived from the Transylvania Company and has Latin origins: trans ("across") and silva or sylva ("woods").
Traverse County Minnesota
Travis County Texas Named in honor of William Barret Travis, commander of the Republic of Texas forces at the Battle of the Alamo.
Treasure County Montana
Trego County Kansas
Trempealeau County Wisconsin French fur traders were the first Europeans to enter this land. At the mouth of the Trempealeau River, which flows from northeast to southwest across the county on its way to the Mississippi River, they found a bluff surrounded by water and called it "La Montagne qui trempe à l’eau," which means "mountain with its foot in the water." The name was later shortened.[10]
Treutlen County Georgia Named for John A. Treutlen, Georgia's first state governor following adoption of the state Constitution of 1777.
Trigg County Kentucky Named for Stephen Trigg, a frontier officer in the American Revolutionary War who died in the Battle of Blue Licks.
Trimble County Kentucky Named for Robert Trimble, attorney, judge, and justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Trinity County California Named after the Trinity River (California).
Trinity County Texas Named after the Trinity River (Texas).
Tripp County South Dakota Named for Bartlett Tripp.
Troup County Georgia Named for George Troup, thirty-fourth governor of Georgia, U.S. representative, and senator.
Trousdale County Tennessee Named for William Trousdale, Creek and Mexican-American War soldier and officer, state senator and Governor of Tennessee.
Trumbull County Ohio Named for Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut, who once owned the land in the region.
Tucker County West Virginia Named after Henry St. George Tucker, Sr., a judge and Congressman from Williamsburg, Virginia.[11]
Tulare County California Named for Tulare Lake.
Tulsa County Oklahoma
Tunica County Mississippi Named for the Tunica Native Americans.
Tuolumne County California

The name Tuolumne is of Native American origin and has been given different meanings, such as Many Stone Houses, The Land of Mountain Lions and, Straight Up Steep, the latter an interpretation of William Fuller[disambiguation needed], a native Chief. Mariano Vallejo, in his report to the first California State Legislature, said that the word is "a corruption of the Indian word talmalamne which signifies 'cluster of stone wigwams.'" The name may mean "people who dwell in stone houses," i.e., in caves.

Turner County Georgia Named for Henry Gray Turner, U.S. representative and Georgia state Supreme Court justice.
Turner County South Dakota Named for John W. Turner.
Tuscaloosa County Alabama Named in honor of the pre-Choctaw chief Tuskaloosa.
Tuscarawas County Ohio The name is a Delaware Indian word variously translated as "old town" or "open mouth".
Tuscola County Michigan Neologism created by Henry Schoolcraft.
Twiggs County Georgia Named for American Revolutionary War general John Twiggs.
Twin Falls County Idaho The county is named for a split waterfall on the Snake River of the same name. The Snake River is the county's northern boundary.
Tyler County Texas Named for John Tyler, the tenth President of the United States.
Tyler County West Virginia Named after John Tyler, Sr., father of President John Tyler.
Tyrrell County North Carolina Named for Sir John Tyrrell, one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina.

U[edit]

County name State Origin
Uinta County Wyoming Named for the Uinta(h), a Native American tribe associated with the Ute people.
Uintah County Utah
Ulster County New York Named for the Irish province of Ulster, which was an earldom of the Duke of York at the time of naming.
Umatilla County Oregon Named for the Umatilla River.
Unicoi County Tennessee Name is a Native American word for the southern Appalachian Mountains, probably meaning white or fog-draped.
Union County Arkansas Named in recognition of the 1829 citizens' petition for a new county, stating that they were petitioning "in the spirit of Union and Unity".
Union County Florida Named to honor the concept of unity.
Union County Georgia The Union Party, a political group that supported removing Native Americans from the area and opening it to white settlers, is the probable inspiration for the county’s name.
Union County Illinois
Union County Indiana So named because it is the product of a union of parts of Fayette, Franklin and Wayne counties, as united into one county in 1821.
Union County Iowa
Union County Kentucky
Union County Mississippi This county was formed as a union of pieces of several other counties.
Union County New Jersey In reference to the Federal Union of the United States.
Union County New Mexico The county is named “Union” because the citizens, in 1893/94, were united in their desire for the creation of a new county out of three existing New Mexico counties.
Union County North Carolina Its name was a compromise between Whigs, who wanted to name the new county for Henry Clay, and Democrats, who wanted to name it for Andrew Jackson.
Union County Ohio The name is reflective of the county's origins, being the union of pieces of Franklin, Delaware, Madison, and Logan Counties.[12]
Union County Oregon The name, which is taken from the city of Union within the county's borders, references the Union states, or Northern States, of the American Civil War.[13]
Union County Pennsylvania The name is an allusion to the Federal Union.
Union County South Carolina Received its name from the old Union Church near Monarch Mill.
Union County South Dakota Originally named Cole County, the named was changed to Union because of Civil War sentiment.
Union County Tennessee Named either for its creation from parts of five counties or to memorialize East Tennessee's support for preservation of the Union in the years before the Civil War.
Union Parish Louisiana Reportedly took its name from a statement made by Daniel Webster: “liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable”.
Upshur County Texas Named for Abel P. Upshur, who was U.S. Secretary of State during President John Tyler's administration.
Upshur County West Virginia
Upson County Georgia Named in honor of noted Georgia lawyer Stephen Upson.
Upton County Texas Named for brothers John C. and William F. Upton, both Colonels in the Confederate army.
Utah County Utah Named for the Spanish name (Yuta) for the Ute Indians.
Uvalde County Texas Named for Juan de Ugalde, the Spanish governor of Coahuila.

V[edit]

County name State Origin
Val Verde County Texas Named for the 1862 Civil War Battle of Val Verde (val verde meaning "green valley" in Spanish).
Valdez-Cordova Census Area Alaska The port of Valdez was named after the Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdés y Basán; Cordova after the city of Córdoba, Spain. Both namings were made by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo in 1790.
Valencia County New Mexico
Valley County Idaho Named after the Long Valley of the North Fork of the Payette River.
Valley County Montana
Valley County Nebraska Named after the geological features of the area.[14]
Van Buren County Arkansas Named for U.S. President Martin Van Buren (1782–1862).
Van Buren County Iowa
Van Buren County Michigan
Van Buren County Tennessee
Van Wert County Ohio Named for Isaac Van Wart, one of the captors of John André in the American Revolutionary War.[15]
Van Zandt County Texas Named for Isaac Van Zandt, a member of the Congress of the Republic of Texas.[16]
Vance County North Carolina Named for Zebulon Baird Vance, a Governor of North Carolina (1862–1865, 1877–1879) and United States senator (1879–1894).
Vanderburgh County Indiana Named for Henry Vanderburgh, a judge for Indiana Territory.
Venango County Pennsylvania The origin of the name "Venango" comes from the Native American name for the region, Onenge, meaning Otter. This was corrupted into English as the Venango River.[17]
Ventura County California From Mission San Buenaventura, named for Saint Bonaventure.
Vermilion County Illinois Named for the Vermilion River (Wabash River tributary).
Vermilion Parish Louisiana Named for Vermilion River (Louisiana).
Vermillion County Indiana Vermillion is named for the Vermilion River (Wabash River tributary).
Vernon County Missouri Named for Col. Miles Vernon (1786–1867), a state senator and veteran of the Battle of New Orleans.
Vernon County Wisconsin
Vernon Parish Louisiana Various theories for the naming exist (see History of Vernon Parish)
Victoria County Texas Named for Guadalupe Victoria, the first President of Mexico.
Vigo County Indiana Named for Francis Vigo, an Italian tradesman from St. Louis who assisted George Rogers Clark's campaigns during the American Revolutionary War.
Vilas County Wisconsin Named for William Freeman Vilas, United States Senator (1891–1897).[18]
Vinton County Ohio Named for Samuel Finley Vinton, a 19th-century congressman from Ohio.[19]
City of Virginia Beach Virginia
Volusia County Florida Unclear

W[edit]

Y[edit]

County name State Origin
Yadkin County North Carolina Named for the Yadkin River which is derived from Yattken, or Yattkin, a Siouan Indian. The meaning of the word is unknown but it may mean "big tree" or "place of big trees" in Siouan language.
Yakima County Washington Named after the Yakama tribe of Native Americans.
Yakutat City and Borough Alaska From the Tlingit name Yaakwdáat, meaning "the place where canoes rest," although it may originally derive from an Eyak name which has been lost.
Yalobusha County Mississippi Yalobusha is a Native American word meaning "tadpole place".
Yamhill County Oregon Origin of name uncertain, but probably from an explorer's name for a local Native American tribe, the Yamhill, who are part of the North Kalapuyan family.
Yancey County North Carolina Named in honor of Bartlett Yancey, U.S. Congressman (1813–1817) and speaker of the N.C. Senate (1817–1827).
Yankton County South Dakota Named for the Yankton tribe of Nakota (Sioux) Native Americans.
Yates County New York Yates County is named in honor of Joseph C. Yates, seventh governor of New York (1823–1824).
Yavapai County Arizona Named after the Yavapai people, who were the main inhabitants of the area at the time of annexation by the United States.
Yazoo County Mississippi Named for the Yazoo River.
Yell County Arkansas Named after Archibald Yell, the state's first member of the United States House of Representatives and the second governor of Arkansas; he later fell in combat at the Battle of Buena Vista during the Mexican-American War.
Yellow Medicine County Minnesota The name is based on an Indian name for the bitter root of the Moon­seed plant, which they used for medicinal purposes.
Yellowstone County Montana Named for the Yellowstone River which roughly bisects the county from southwest to northeast.[20]
Yoakum County Texas Named for Henderson King Yoakum, a Texas historian.
Yolo County California Yolo is a Native American name variously believed to be a corruption of a tribal name Yo-loy meaning "a place abounding in rushes" or of the name of the chief Yodo or of the village of Yodoi.
York County Maine In 1664, what had been the Province of Maine was given a grant by Charles II of England to James, Duke of York. Under the terms of this patent the territory was incorporated into Cornwall County, part of the Province of New York. The patent to James for this territory was renewed in 1674 and survives in York County.
York County Nebraska Either named after the city of York in England or for York County in Pennsylvania.[21]
York County Pennsylvania Named either for the Duke of York, an early patron of the Penn family, or for the ciy and shire of York in England.
York County South Carolina
York County Virginia Named for the city of York in Northern England.
Young County Texas The county is named for William Cocke Young, an early Texas settler and soldier.[22]
Yuba County California Named after the Yuba River for the Native American village Yubu, Yupu or Juba near the confluence of the Yuba and Feather rivers, or for the quantities of wild grapes (uvas silvestres in Spanish) growing on its banks.
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area Alaska The Yukon River and one of its major tributaries, the Koyukuk River, whose respective drainages comprise the vast majority of the census area's land mass.
Yuma County Arizona
Yuma County Colorado Yuma County is named for the town of Yuma, Colorado, which itself was supposedly named for a Quechan railroad worker (or a man named "Yuma") who died near the town while building a line for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.

Z[edit]

County name State Origin
Zapata County Texas Named after Colonel Jose Antonio de Zapata, a rancher who rebelled against Mexico in 1839.[23]
Zavala County Texas Named after Lorenzo de Zavala, Mexican politician and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.[24]
Ziebach County South Dakota Named after local leader Frank M. Ziebach.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scott County, Iowa
  2. ^ Jack Martin and Margaret McKane Mauldin, A Dictionary of Creek/Muskogee (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000), s.vv. "Tvlvtēke," "Talladega."
  3. ^ http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/TT/hct1.html
  4. ^ Idaho.gov - Teton County accessed 2010-05-24
  5. ^ [1] Accessed 2010-05-24.
  6. ^ [2] Accessed 2010-05-24.
  7. ^ [3] Accessed 2010-05-24.
  8. ^ [4]
  9. ^ North Dakota government county history page
  10. ^ Elkins, Winston (1985). Trempealeau and the Mississippi River Dam. Trempealeau County, WI: Trempealeau County Historical Society, p.1
  11. ^ [5] West Virginia Division of Culture and History - Tucker County History web page, accessed 2010-05-24
  12. ^ "Union County data". Ohio State University Extension Data Center. Retrieved 2007-04-28. [dead link]
  13. ^ Deumling, Dietrich (May 1972). The roles of the railroad in the development of the Grande Ronde Valley (masters thesis). Flagstaff, Arizona: Northern Arizona University. OCLC 4383986. 
  14. ^ [6] Retrieved on March 14, 2008.
  15. ^ "Van Wert County data". Ohio State University Extension Data Center. Retrieved 2007-04-28. [dead link]
  16. ^ History of Van Zandt County (Van Zandt County History Book Committee. Dallas, Texas: 1984)
  17. ^ Donehoo, George (1995). "French Creek". Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania. Gateway Press. Retrieved 24 Jan 2007. 
  18. ^ Vilas County History
  19. ^ "Vinton County data". Ohio State University Extension Data Center. Retrieved 2007-04-28. [dead link]
  20. ^ "Montana Digital Atlas - Montana Natural Resources Information System". Montana State Library, State of Montana. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  21. ^ [7] Retrieved on March 15, 2008.
  22. ^ "Young, William Cocke". The Handbook of Texas Online. The Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  23. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online: Zapata County". University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  24. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online: Zavala County". University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 

See also[edit]