52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Popular Name

His mama had grown up with a fascination for the author’s stories. They were tales taken from German and Dutch legends. This writer had written in a different tone than others. He wove tales to entertain and delight…to evoke a sense of wonder. Both his mama and the author were born in New York.

This child named after her favorite author was born in Woodbury County, Iowa, far from New York. He was the fourth son of this farming family. The family would move on to finally settle in Osborne County, Kansas. The young man would work from sunup to sundown to help his family in the fields, barnyards, and pastures. Perhaps, at night his mama read the short stories the author wrote. Or maybe, she retold them by heart before he fell asleep.

The young man was never called by his full name by family and friends, let alone by his full first name. He shortened his name to Wash. If he signed a document, he signed W. I. Storer. When his friends were told his full name, they probably replied, “We didn’t know that.”

My great grandfather was named Washington Irving Storer after the author of such tales as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. Wonder if after a hard day’s work as a farmer, he wished he could nap under a shady tree for 20 years.

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