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Hunker Down with Kes

On The Road Again...

By Kesley Colbert
Posted 2/6/19

I didn’t make up the name Frog Jump! I was simply telling a fourth grade class about a baseball rhubarb that happened there. The young boys and girls didn’t believe anyplace could be …

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Hunker Down with Kes

On The Road Again...


I didn’t make up the name Frog Jump! I was simply telling a fourth grade class about a baseball rhubarb that happened there. The young boys and girls didn’t believe anyplace could be named after a frog. And obviously, by all the doubtful hey-howdys I received, most folks who read that little blurb agreed with the kids.

Of course, the same readers in Northwest Florida wouldn’t bat a questioning eye if the game had taken place in Two Egg.

There once was a bevy of towns out west named Dry Gulch. Most are abandoned now. I have always assumed they were so named because there was never any water there…..which would tend to make ghost towns out of them pretty quickly. Quite possibly the name evolved after a dastardly cattle baron dammed up the river for his own use leaving any downstream towns in a dusty dilemma. Or perhaps it was a place people once flocked to in hopes of finding gold or silver. Only to realize the town held no treasure……a Dry Gulch for sure!

There is sometimes more to a name, or a town, or a place, than meets the eye!

Flint Hill, North Carolina, is the hometown of banjo aficionado Earl Scruggs. Every time I hear the name I picture the Scruggs family home sitting high up on a knob of cold gray flint. There is no grass in the yard, none in the pasture, none up the hill behind the house, there is not a tree in sight…..chickens couldn’t peck worth a flip in that ground. ’Course, driving up there wouldn’t be a problem.

Lost City is another place that can baffle the imagination. But we’ve got to be extra careful here. You know how touchy those West Virginia folks can be. But it begs the question—how exactly do you lose a whole city?

Did Carl and Earl go off hunting one morning in 1892 and couldn’t find their way back after a day of wandering the nearby hills. Was it named after Ephraim Lost? How do they get their mail? Is it way back up in a canyon under a giant growth of Balsam Fir and Eastern White Pine? Has it ever been found? How do you know for dead certain positive it was really ever there.

Word has it Lost City is located on the Lost River….and that begs another question…...

Ruby Falls just naturally sets a body to wondering. You see the name a lot on faded barn advertisements throughout the south. I figure Ruby was one of those Grundy County girls, most likely from Altamont or Tracy City, who followed some handsome farm boy over to Chattanooga and slipped and fell over the falls. Of course, there are many old timers still around that think Ruby’s attentions were spurned by said handsome dude and she threw herself over the falls. 

You can get the correct scoop on this by listening to Johnny Cash sing about her in a song he cleverly entitled, “See Ruby Fall.”

How about French Lick, Indiana. Not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing name the town fathers could have come up with. Surely it goes back to the days the French, Indians and American colonists were fighting over hunting rights (and ownership) in the Ohio Valley. It’s easy to picture a spring with a salt lick nearby. Basketball legend Larry Bird could answer any questions you have about the town, and the name.

Slapout, Oklahoma, is another interesting place. It also might be a town to avoid if the name is derived from how they settle their differences! Or perhaps it’s simply so far removed from any other towns that it is “slapout” by itself. Don’t tell me there was a John and Martha Slapout that owned the general store…..

How about Deadman Crossing, Ohio. That’s hard to picture. Unless Vincent Price or Billy the Kid grew up there! We’re not going to the macabre, but you would think in days past some dead guy got drug across the street in some shape, form or fashion.

Idiotville, Oregon, needs no explanation.

So maybe, just maybe, Frog Jump is not all that unusual as a town name…..and we did play baseball there. A heck of a fight did break out in the sixth inning. You can’t make that stuff up!

And shucks, we haven’t even gotten to Bone Gap, Illinois, or Nowhere, Colorado, or Looneyville, Texas, or Truth or Consequences, New Mexico…….


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