cleaning up so well (jones_casey) wrote,
cleaning up so well

speaking of the development of words and names

i ran across a case today with a plaintiff whose surname is upthegrove. never heard of it before but it seems reasonably common. it's a michigan case, but there appear to be great ties for the name to pennsylvania, as it apparently is anglicization of dutch names like updegraff and german names like op den graeff. the name itself is based on geographic proximity to a grave or tomb, which seems like quite an odd basis for a surname. and using upthegrove instead of upthegrave really changes the effect completely. a famous op den graeff, abraham op den graeff, was a cousin of william penn, and a signer of the first organized religious protest against slavery in colonial america. he was also one of the subjects of john greenleaf whittier's poem "the pennsylvania pilgrim" (another nice name, mister greenleaf). the protest against slavery itself was drafted by a young lawyer and poet by the name of francis daniel pastorius. in looking up the whittier poem online, i find in a preliminary discussion of the poem a biography of francis daniel pastorius, and a poem of his which apparently was written in latin in 1688 and later translated to english. to wit:

hail to posterity!
hail, future men of germanopolis!
let the young generations yet to be
look kindly upon this.
think how your fathers left their native land,--
dear german-land! o sacred hearths and homes!--
and, where the wild beast roams,
in patience planned
new forest-homes beyond the mighty sea,
there undisturbed and free
to live as brothers of one family.
what pains and cares befell,
what trials and what fears,
remember, and wherein we have done well
follow our footsteps, men of coming years!
where we have failed to do
aright, or wisely live,
be warned by us, the better way pursue,
and, knowing we were human, even as you,
pity us and forgive!
farewell, posterity!
farewell, dear germany
forevermore farewell!
Tags: everything else is just progress, here's a thing, naming animate objects, poems, time and time again, words

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