One of the greatest qualities of people with odd names is their tendency to pass them on. From the seven Outerbridge Horseys to Clarence Birdseye II to Arthur, son of Arthur, son of Arthur, son of Arthur, keeping a family naming tradition alive is the lifeblood of the Funny Names Blog.
Today’s subject fits that pattern. Return J. Meigs, Jr. was the first Chief Justice of the Ohio State Supreme Court in 1803. Later on, appropriately enough, he was named Postmaster General by President Madison. It is unknown if it was Meigs who initiated “return” service in the Post Office. One can only hope.
Return J. Meigs Sr. was also an accomplished man and, like many large-egoed gentlemen of the past, decided that the only good name for a son would be his own. Return Senior was a General in the Revolutionary War, and among his many significant war efforts was the famous Meigs Raid on the rather unappealingly named Sag Harbor in New York. Meigs senior was also a pioneer, exploring the Nortwest Territories after the war. Someone had to do it and it might as well have been someone named Return.
Sadly, Return Meigs Jr. did not have a son to pass his name onto. But in a happy, if slightly absurd, turn of events, his family came to the rescue! Return had two brothers, who each named one of their sons after him. Thus, the world got Return Meigs III and Return Meigs IV, who were not directly descended from Return I and II. One can only imagine what their wives thought of this decision.
A quick internet search reveals that there are still 10 people in America with the first name Return today. Four of them carry the last name Meigs, making the name nearly as venerable as Outerbridge Horsey has turned out to be. Perhaps one day, one of them will become incredibly famous, and return the name to its former fame.
Next week, we will be unveiling a new page on our blog: Funny Names Theory. This page will be a place where we compile all of the theories that we, some of the world’s most eminent nameophiles, have developed in an effort to advance the rapidly-growing scientific field of funnynameology. To celebrate this unveiling, we will be posting previews of some of our theories over the weekend. The best part: in recognition of your enlightened readership (and leadership), you get to choose the theories we preview – but only based on their names.