Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A to Z April Challenge: Q is for Quackenbush

Genealogists and family historians get a lot of satisfaction from chasing their ancestors’ stories. Finding a diary, a message on a postcard, or a photo with a name attached is like the sun coming out after a storm. One day we will be somebody’s ancestor. We need to leave our descendants a little bit of sunshine too. So here is my story told alphabetically, not chronologically: Growing Up in Cradock.

is for Quackenbush Place.

When I was in high school, there was not a whole lot to do. My best friends Pat and Lynn and I did not have cars and we did not have jobs. In those moments of boredom after school and in the summer, our favorite activity was walking. Cradock was a large community with unlimited options for routes to take and streets to explore. It was quite walkable from any of our three homes which were just blocks from each other, but no one would want to try to walk ALL of Cradock in a single day.

So there were many evenings when we walked and we talked, what about, I don’t know. What do any teens talk about? Probably music, our other friends, an upcoming history project, and just stupid stuff. At one time or another, we probably walked every street in Cradock, including Quackenbush.

from Google Maps - Quackenbush extends between Gillis and Allen 

I know for a fact, though, Quackenbush was not a street we hit often because it was just a single short block and not appealing for whatever reason. Maybe the houses were too small or too plain for the imagination, or maybe the street just went nowhere more interesting. The name of the street was its only draw. Quackenbush. What a funny name. Why Quackenbush?

Not until I had to provide a letter Q for the A to Z April Challenge did I try to answer that question. Almost all streets in Cradock are named for naval officers and heroes. Stephen P. Quackenbush entered the Navy as a midshipman in 1840 and retired in 1885 as Rear Admiral. He served up and down the eastern seaboard throughout his career, most notably during the Civil War on the side of the North. Therefore, I find it amusing and ironic that this Southern city would honor a “Yankee” (gasp!) by naming a street for him. But apparently “Quackenbush” was the best the city fathers could come up with to fit the scheme of naming streets alphabetically.  Phelps. Quackenbush. Reid. Sampson. Wuddayaknow – the City had an A-Z Challenge too!

The funniest Quackenbush story though involves one of my father’s friends who grew up on Quackenbush: the Duckwall family. It’s a wonder they just didn’t move!

Don’t quit now.  Are you in a quandary?  If you’re quick, you’ll enjoy some quirky and quotable quips at the A to Z April Challenge.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

27 comments:

  1. The poor Duckwalls - but clever story!

    I think it's interesting the city had an A-Z challenge. Since participating in this event, I have thought of numerous ways to use the alphabet as a brainstorming and/or writing tool.

    Molly @MyCozyBookNook
    My Cozy Book Nook
    Revising Life after 50

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    1. There are blocks and blocks where the streets are alphabetical. There is no X though.

      It's interesting how the more you do A-Z, the more inspiring it becomes.

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  2. oh dear - Quackenbush is such an awkward name - and it now lives into posterity because the local council was stuck for a "Q" name - what did they do for "X"? Leanne @ cresting the hill

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    1. They probably skipped right over it. I doubt there is a Z either, and probably no Y, come to think of it.

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  3. I was attracted to this post Wendy by the sound of Quackenbush never expecting a twist like the Duckwalls to go with it.

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    1. Yeah, that's the best part of the story because it's not much of a story.

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  4. LOL with the Duckwalls on Quackenbush :) Interesting how they named the streets. I know in Prescott a lot of the streets in the downtown area are named for those that helped found Prescott, first mayors, etc.

    Fun to walk, good exercise too!

    betty

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    1. Naming streets for the founders is a good way to preserve history and honor those who were there first.

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  5. That's too funny! It makes me wonder how both of those names came to be in the first place!

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    1. Here's your answer, thanks to Mr. Google: Americanized spelling of Dutch Quackenbosch, a topographic name from Dutch quaak ‘swamp’ (cognate with the English word quagmire) + bosch ‘woodland’, ‘wilderness’.

      As for Duckwall, one source says it's the English form of "Dockweiler" and the other says it is a habitation name derived from Duckworth in county Lancashire

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  6. That is funny. I also wonder what it was we talked about when we got together as car-less job-less teens. I find myself wondering that in the evenings when we're out with the dog and we see kids roaming the neighborhood and having such a great time doing it.

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    1. YouTube? Facebook? Twitter? Prom? College applications?

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  7. The Duckwalls living on Quackenbush Street - that is so funny!

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    1. Yeah, it's the silly kind of thing that makes me laugh for days.

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  8. Your take on the challenge is pretty cool. I've been tempted to recount my early years but its only a temptation right now ;)
    Stephanie Finnell
    @randallbychance from
    Katy Trail Creations
    Stephanies Stuff

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    1. It's taken me years to venture into writing about myself. But maybe one day my great-great-grandchildren will wonder about me, that is IF they can find my name.

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  9. so good they named that street Quakenbush. Just what you needed. Good luck on X.

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  10. Oh yes...I look back now and wonder what on earth we talked about on the phone for all those hours...it was so important...vital really. Now anyone could use the phone in the house if they wanted...teens are on the computer or mobile.

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    1. I'm sure we saved the world on those walks.

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  11. How funny about the Duckwall Family living on Quackenbush! I also think it is cool that the streets were named alphabetically. Here in this town, there are neighborhoods with streets named after girls, named after boys, named after trees. I think that is interesting, too.

    I agree, it is funny that a Southern town would use a yankee name. Surely there was a Southern name they could find, but Qs are very hard to work with and they didn't have the internet or search engines to aid in their quest. :)

    Have a blessed day!

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    1. You can walk for blocks and watch the alphabet flash before your eyes, but because the community isn't perfectly square, sometimes a major thoroughfare messes up the pattern.

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  12. What a great name for a street!

    @WeekendsinMaine
    Weekends in Maine

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  13. Great Q word!That gave me a good chuckle, the Duckwalls of Quackenbush! No one could make that up if they tried hahaha.

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    1. Really! I know I'm not clever enough to have thought of it.

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  14. Great use of the Q - can't wait to see what's coming for the X!

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