. . . Simon Bolivar Crawford.
Beginning around 1810, as Spanish and Portuguese power in the Americas disintegrated during the Napoleonic wars, virtually all the peoples of Latin America broke away from their colonial overlords and formed independent republics . . . . By the end of the decade, much of the Spanish-American mainland was in open revolt.
This is quoted from a review by Fergus M. Bordewich of "Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions by Caitlin Fitz ("Bolivar Hats Were All the Rage," wsj.com, July 25, 2016).
North Americans were thrilled. Until then, Ms. Fitz writes, citizens of the [United States] had "felt like the passengers aboard a political Noah's Ark, a lonely republic bobbing alone in a churching sea of monarchy and responsible for the fate of republicanism itself." But the rise of Latin American independence added a sense of universality to American ideals, making the American people "feel that they stood at the forefront of a worldwide movement for liberty."
From the forested hamlets of Maine to rustic crossroads in Tennessee, newspapers reported breathlessly on the latest turn of events of Chile and Colombia. Hundreds of American parents named their newborn sons after Simon Bolivar, the firebrand who was leading rebellions in Venezuela and elsewhere, while Yankee composers cranked out ditties such as "Gen. Bolivar's Grand March & Quick Step." Ladies bought "Bolivar hats" with broad brims and a profusion of feathers . . . (emphasis added).
Great-great-grandpa Simon Bolivar Crawford discovered America in Greene County, Alabama. His father Jesse had served in the War of 1812, then married and had fourteen children, most tagged with boring names such as William, Thomas, and Jane.
In 1827, however, Jesse and wife Hannah Warren Crawford, named their new son after El Liborator. By then Simon Bolivar was more a dictator than a republican, but who knew? The Great Man died in 1830, shortly after the failure of his dream of a establishing a United States of South America.
Naming kids after historic figures was common in the 1800s, somewhat supplanting the older tradition of using Bible names. My tree is filled with Thomas Jeffersons, Robert E. Lees, and the like.
Another weird name in my ancestry is Lorenzo Dow Austin, after a Methodist evangelist from England. Lorenzo Dow Austin hated the name and signed everything "L.D. Austin." That's what his gravestone says.
Lady Di has an even weirder name in her family, though it appears in a half-great-uncle, not a direct ancestor.
Admiral Dewey Fountain (1899-1987).
Admiral liked his name. There is also an Admiral Dewey Fountain, Jr. (1925-_____).
In Diana and my childhood, naming after historic figures bloomed again. The local Johnson family's sons were Roosevelt Johnson, Truman Johnson, and Eisenhower Johnson.