Life can be pretty good. For Fulwar Skipwith, it started great. He was born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, which is right up there as one of the funniest named counties in existence. This happened a while ago, in 1765, a year I have hazy memories of at best. At 16, he left school to fight in the Revolutionary War.
The enterprising Mr. Skipwith then entered the tobacco trade. I’m not quite sure how one does things like “enter the tobacco trade”, but I suspect he met someone in the army who was in on said tobacco trade and hired him on. There is no factual basis for that scenario, but this is the Blog of Funny Names after all. We don’t do facts. We do funny names. And Fulwar Skipwith is nothing if not a funny name.
Mr. Skipwith’s connection to all things silly sounding didn’t end in his place of birth. In 1802, a year perhaps best remembered for the commencement of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India, one of my personal favorite trigonometric surveys of all time, Fulwar married a fine lady. A fine lady named Louise Barbe Vanderclooster. She was a Flemish baroness, which I believe means she was a fancy Dutch lady with a heck of a name. Her sister, Therezene Josephine van der Clooster had a pretty
good name herself, aided by the oddly differing punctuation to her sister’s last name. That’s just how they roll out there in the Netherlands,
So what else did Fulwar Skipwith accomplish in his life? Well, he was briefly President of the Republic of West Florida before it was annexed to the United States, served as Consul-General to France (fancy), and played a big role in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase. And that, dear readers, is how you build up fortunes and marry fancy Dutch ladies. In case you’re into that sort of thing.