Friday, June 7, 2013

Mystery of Streeter name solved?

In earlier posts I mentioned that Streeter was not originally named Streeter.  It was originally named Vandalia.  This name change seems to have occurred between 1888 and 1889 (per Postal records)*
No one I've spoken to (including Jack Pack or Vernon Pack) is sure of the origins.  I have been curious about the name for a long time myself.  Let's face it, no family by the name of "Streeter" lived in the Streeter area (at least, not that I can find in the U.S. Census).  Also, there are no birth records for a person with the name Streeter per WV state online records and the only records that show families with that name living in WV are in counties far from Summers Co.  There is one family in Mercer County in the 1920s.

So, what is the origin of the name?

 My first hunch was that there might be a connection with a man by the name of A.J. Streeter.  Reason being, he was a presidential candidate for the Union Labor Party in 1888.  He was a miner and a farmer and had the resume that would on the surface appeal to the average West Virginia voter.  Plus, the election coincided with the year of the name change. BUT the following is the 1888 General Election results in Summers County that year:

Cleveland: 1353
Harrison: 1272
Streeter: 0
Fisk: 15

Is it possible that people living in Streeter voted in another county? Even in the highly unlikely event that they did, and I am pretty sure voting was required in-county, the voters would have had some reciprocal political influence on surrounding districts.  In other words, why would everyone in Streeter vote for him in another county, and anyone in Hinton, Richmond District, etc. not vote for him?  Absurd, right?

So, the mystery remains unsolved for now.

*per USPS.GOV, name changed 10/02/1888 to Streeter