How Come It's Called That?
by Hallie Stillwell, Dolly Madison McKenna
How Come It´s Called That? - is a scholastic volume that made it way commercially. It has many of the failings that the scholar deplores, but it has most of the merits that the public desires. To dwell on the shortcomings of a moving journalistic narrative is to belabor the obvious. The obvious sometimes needs belaboring.
A careful study of place names in the Big Bend Country of Texas or anywhere else, should incorporate all documentary material available, including historical linguistic and anthorponynic. Since the area is historically important in that Indians Spaniards and Anglo Americans have moved, usually violently, back and forth over the picturesque land, there are is all probability names under layers of names. - Indiana University Press, Midwest Folklore; Vol. 12, No. 2, Summer, 1962.
A foolproof methodology for the systematic study of place names in America has not yet been definitively formulated, although several valuable volunteers have been published in recent years.
Road Maps and guidebooks a-plenty have been worked out by experts at watching signposts and mile-markers to lead you through the trails and canyons and up the mountains of the Big Bend country, so we have in no way attempted to chart your course. However if any of your explorations in the region cause you to wonder at the peculiar-sounding name attached to some remote place, or if there seems to be no logic whatsoever in the name of a spring, mountain or canyon, drag out this little volume and find out how come it´s called that.
If there are several versions to the story of how a place was named we have given all the versions, but if you find something you don´t believe, remember that this is how we heard it, for all the stories came from the people. And you will miss the most important commodity the Big Bend has to offer if you don´t get to know the people.