Bicentennial Snapshot # 18 Henpeck, Hoosick, Hojack, What’s in a Name? Part 1

This week we explore some of the myths of some of the nicknames of the communities in the town. This week we look at Henpeck, Hoosick, Braddock, and Barnard Crossing. Some have myths about the name, while some are named after a person or where one of the settlers came from and decided to call the Town of Greece their home.

Ada Ridge

In Snapshot # 16 we know the commercial hub of the town, Ada, was named after Ada, Michigan, the former home of the postmaster, William Anderson.

The Myths of how the area known as “Henpeck”
South Greece got its moniker

We are not sure how South Greece mostly the crossroads at Elmgrove Road, Ridgeway ave, and the Erie Canal got the moniker of Henpeck. We have three myths of that moniker henpeck but there may be more than three for the location but the three listed here are ones we at the Historical society discuss in the video above.

If you have not seen the following snapshots or have seen them and would like to a refresher then here they are before we get into these myths about henpeck.

1872 Map of South Greece

The first one is Snapshot 15 the Erie Canal and then Snapshot 17 Henpeck, South Greece

Henpeck Myth Number 1

Mr. and Mrs. Henpeck wash the dishes from the Library of Congress
Mr. and Mrs. Henpeck wash the dishes from the Library of Congress

The term, Henpeck, has been around since the 1600s and denotes a meek submissive husband constantly nagged by his wife like a hen constantly pecking at the ground. New York author Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle was a henpecked husband.

That’s the reason given most often for South Greece’s nickname: “Some say [it was called Henpeck] because its residents claimed to be ‘henpecked’ by their spouses.” Would the male inhabitants of a rough and tumble canal port really admit that?

For myth 1 we do not have sufficient evidence to prove that this was the reason for naming the area Henpeck.

Henpeck Myth Number 2

A canal enthusiast, who helped get Henpeck Park developed had another theory; he said in a news account that he knew of stories that the name was linked to a type of hen developed in the vicinity. There were a number of farms in the area some were chicken farms or turkey farms, as well as orchards that grew apples and other produce that was sold in the community. But without enough evidence that the type of hen that was raised in the area and journals or diary entries to prove that this was the reason for naming the area Henpeck.

Chicken by William Baptiste Baird from the Library of Congress
Chicken by William Baptiste Baird from the Library of Congress

Henpeck Myth Number 3

Henpeck is marked by using the star to pin point the little community of HenpeckHenpeck is marked by using the star to pin point the little community of Henpeck
Henpeck is marked by using the star to pinpoint the little community of Henpeck

This one may be a little more realistic considering there is a small hamlet called Henpeck in Cattaraugus County that could make the naming of the area to be a little bit more solid than the last two myths.

The town of Sandusky in Cattaraugus County was the hometown of longtime journalist and chronicler of local history Arch Merrill; he wrote in several of his columns that Sandusky used to be called Henpeck. Perhaps, like William Anderson and Ada, a former resident from the Southern tier brought the name with him.

But without sufficient evidence to prove that the journalist Arch Merrill was the source of naming the area Henpeck.

Henpeck Myth Conclusion

Overall on the three myths we looked at for Henpeck, we may never know how South Greece came to be called Henpeck, but that’s one of the joys of researching local history, one day you might uncover a document that answers the question.

The Myths of how the area known as “Hoosick”
West Greece got its moniker

Map of West Greece
Map of West Greece the Dotten Line is the town board the Pink tint is the Town of Parma the yellow tint is the Town of Greece and sitting in the middle of the line is the Church

West Greece is center at the crossroads of Manitou and Ridge Road on the Greece Parma border as you see on the map. West Greece will be featured in Snapshot number 20.

One of the Myths on Hoosick involves the local doctor Dr. Samuel Beach Bradley and will be featured in snapshot number 21.

Hoosick Myth Number 1

Our First myth about Hoosick comes from the neighbor of Doctor Bradley you can see where the Doctor and Mrs. McNeely’s property is right next door to one of the buildings owned by Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley.

A humorous accounting for that name has been handed down through the years. Dr. Samuel Beach Bradley practiced medicine for many years in West Greece. As the legend goes, he had a neighbor, Mrs. Rosa McNeely, who whenever the good Doctor drove by her house, would stand on her porch “flapping her calico apron wildly and crying out: “Dr. Bradley, who’s sick, who’s sick?”

For some people when you say “Hoosick” it could sound like “who’s sick” without the apostrophe s after who which is why it may sound the same but without some documentation to prove that this is the reason why West Greece is named Hoosick and the cemetery is labeled Hoosick Cemetery.

Dr. Samuel Beach Bradley
Dr. Samuel Beach Bradley

Hoosick Myth Number 2

Hoosick Falls from 1889 by L.R. Burleigh
Hoosick Falls from 1889 by L.R. Burleigh

This myth could be a little bit reasonable as to why the area is named Hoosick, according to historical research, however, it documents a more pedestrian explanation for the name.  The people who first settled in West Greece came from the Hoosick Falls area near Albany and the name was used before Doctor Bradley ever lived there. There is also a tiny town named Hoosick, New York, which could be source two but may depend on the records of where the West Greece settlers came from.

The Braddock Bay Myths

Braddock Bay Marina
HDR picture of Braddock Bay Marina by Doug Worboys

Over the course of time, many Greece residents at one point or another have visited this park because of its views and nature trails or visited the Braddock Bay Raptor Group when they do programs here, or have taken lots of wildlife photos at the park but did you know that Braddock Bay itself has myths of its own but none of them have any documented answers to why the bay is called Braddock near the end of this snapshot.

Braddock Bay Myth Number 1 –
The French and Indian War Connection

The First myth we look at is a General that was stationed at Fort Niagara a British General by the name of John Prideaux. Based on some records and accounts historians theorize that it was named after a British General. During the French and Indian War, most likely near the end of June 1759, General John Prideaux camped on the shores of the bay with two thousand of his troops, and with them were another thousand Haudenosaunee warriors under the command of Sir William Johnson. They were on their way to successfully lay siege to the French-occupied Fort Niagara in July. Alas, Johnson, a prolific journalist, was suffering from a cold when he camped at the bay so there is little detail about it in his journal.

Death of General John Prideaux
Death of General John Prideaux

General Prideaux was killed during the battle for Fort Niagara (unfortunately, he stepped in the way of his own army’s mortar and was decapitated). The Bay was subsequently named after him, Prideaux Bay.  But over the years in which his name was “barbarously mispronounced” his name disappeared; perhaps Yankees found the name too hard to say and it morphed from Bradloe to finally Braddock. Or maybe people confused him with another major general from the French and Indian War, killed in battle in Pennsylvania, Edward Braddock.

But without that journal entries, we will never know it being named after Edward Braddock is not known either but this is the myth of the French and Indian War Myth for naming the Bay.

Braddock Bay Myth Number 2 –
The Lost Treasure of The Pirate Braddock

Faulding Skinner, known as Doc, frequently recounted a story his father told him about Captain Braddock. According to the story, this Braddock was a notorious pirate chased into the bay by British ships. Depending on who was telling or retelling the story, rather than being caught with the goods, he either dropped his loot into the bay or buried it near the base of a tree on the shore.  Whenever Doc told this story, afterward there’d be holes around all the trees near the bay.

Aerial image of the Braddock Bay, NY located on Lake Ontario.
Aerial image of Braddock Bay, NY located on Lake Ontario. – SUNY School SOAR

Barnard Crossing is not a Myth but connected to a real family

We do know for whom Barnard’s Crossing was named. The railroad cut across the property of Mrs. Thomas Barnard and the train station was called Barnard’s Crossing.  The United States postal service streamlined the name and eliminated the ‘s and Crossing so the area for the most part is now known simply as Barnard.

When did the United States remove apostrophes
from most places?

The answer will surprise you it was done on September 4, 1890, President Harrison signed Executive Order 28 instructing Congress on the creation of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) later on during a public law session in 1947 the rules that set up a unified naming convention of geographic name usage throughout the Federal Government. It was the creation of the naming convention that help simplify the naming standards because depending on what map you are looking one could have Braddock’s Bay and then 5 years later it could show just Braddock Bay. There are only five locations that have been approved to use the apostrophes in their name for mailing purposes they are

— Martha’s Vineyard in 1933, after an extensive local campaign;

— Ike’s Point in New Jersey in 1944 because the name “would be unrecognizable otherwise”;

— John E’s Pond in Rhode Island in 1963 to prevent it from being mispronounced as John “Ess” Pond;

— Carlos Elmer’s Joshua View in Arizona in 1995 to keep the reference to a Joshua tree forest in Mohave County from sounding like three first names in a row;

— and Clark’s Mountain in Oregon in 2002 to accentuate the tribute to William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame.

To learn more on what the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) does you can check out the resources at the United States Geological Survey – Board on Geographic Names or Board on Geographic Names Resource page