What’s behind Nameless’ name?

Larry Woody • Oct 27, 2017 at 8:30 AM

Part of the fun of being an outdoors writer is – naturally – wandering around in the outdoors, visiting new places and seeing new sights.

When traveling to state parks, checking out scenic trails and exploring historical sites, my wife and I frequently stumble across some uniquely-named towns and communities.

Awhile back we discovered Nameless.

We noticed the dot on a map while planning a visit to the annual fall festival in Granville. Intrigued, we decided to include a stop on our trip.

According to documents in the Granville Museum, no one is certain how Nameless got its name. Or didn’t get a name, whichever’s the case.

One theory is that the little Jackson County community was originally intended to be named “Morgan,” in honor of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan. But some considered the famous ex-Confederate too controversial in the simmering aftermath of the Civil War. (Sound familiar?)

Since they couldn’t agree on a name, the place remains, well, Nameless.

Another story is that the newly-founded backwoods community wrote to Washington requesting a post office. Since there the place at the time had no name, some wise-acre clerk stamped the request “Nameless.”

That’s also the theory behind how the community of Difficult got its name. A U.S. postal clerk couldn’t make out the hand-writing on the post-office application. He wrote “This is difficult” on the envelope and passed it along to his superior. And Difficult it remains.

Down the road from Difficult is Defeated. According to legend, some early settlers lost a skirmish with a band of Indians along a creek. It became known as Defeated Creek, and the community sprang up afterwards.

Along the way you’ll pass a sign to Enigma. One story claims the name came from a dispute over a church.

When I was courting my bride I promised her that someday I’d take her to Paris, and I’ve kept my word. Every spring we visit Paris -- Paris, Tennessee, that is. Located on the banks of Kentucky Lake, Paris is home to some of the best crappie fishing in the South. It’s also host of the annual “World’s Largest Fish Fry.”

We’ve visited Rome numerous times. Not the one in Italy with all the fancy statues; the Rome that’s located off Highway 70 where my fishing buddy Jim Duckworth lives.

I’ve been to Stinking Creek. It’s a pretty, pristine little steam, but can’t shake the name it got in 1779 when a winter freeze killed droves of livestock and their thawing carcasses fouled the creek.

I’ve been to Bucksnort and Only, but haven’t made it to Sweet Lips, Goat City, Spot, Static, Ballplay, Christmasville, Ducktown, Little Lot, Lick Skillet or Bugscuffle.

Someday I’d like to visit Turtletown, where I assume the pace is slow.

Growing up on the Cumberland Plateau, I caught a lot of fish out of Daddy’s Creek. According to local lore, the stream got its name when a family of settlers was crossing it, got into a fuss, and pa shoved ma off the wagon into the creek.

There’s also a nearby Mammy’s Creek. Apparently ma won that round.

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