What’s in a town name? • Any “Simpsons” cartoon fan knows their town of Springfield is named after Jebediah Springfield. 

The St. Louis area has its own Jebediahs: folks like Ralph Clayton, Theodore Kimm and John O’Fallon, who was such a big deal that city founders named two local towns after him.

But what local founder named a town after his grandma? 

And who donated his land then asked to get naming rights? 

What would those founders think of the ever-evolving conversation, especially in St. Louis County, about consolidating municipal governments and services?

Some towns become household names after explosive incidents, like Ferguson after the Michael Brown police shooting or Kirkwood after the City Hall mass shooting.

But before those towns, there were people like civil engineer James Kirkwood and real estate investor William Ferguson.

Transportation pioneer Erastus Wells came before Wellston. Developer Norman B. Champ came before Champ. Storekeeper and postmaster Johann Aff came before Affton.

Who’s in a town name?