Dirt – Specifically, Dirt Names

In the 1869 Cherokee West census, most, but not all of the Native people have adopted some sort of first name plus surname naming convention.  Some names are in transition – and of course we don’t know where that transition ends up. Sometimes there are groups of names that make me wonder if there is something significant we don’t know….in this case….about dirt.

We find several surnames with dirt in them, an unusual word to have in a surname.  We find the following:

Dirt-Eater (2 families)

Dirt-Pot (2 families)




Dirt-Eater makes some sense and I could see it being given as a nickname that “stuck.”  Dirt-Pot I’m having a bit of a problem with.  Dirt-Seller doesn’t really make much sense unless it’s being used in the sense of land.  Dirt-Thrower I totally understand because I have children.  But Dirt-Well mystifies me.  I’m left wondering – just what was it about dirt?


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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