Wealth of Information about Knickerbocker, Texas

BY TRACY HOFFMAN

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Knickerbocker: a small west Texas town near San Angelo has some rich connections with Washington Irving.

Irving used the name Knickerbocker as the last name for his pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, the fictitious narrator A History of New York (1809), as well as the talebearer of later sketches such as “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” People often associated Irving the person with Irving the pseudonym and thought of him, especially in the early years of his career, as the crotchety old Dutchman—Diedrich Knickerbocker.

When settlers established towns in America, they often paid tribute to various famous personalities; sometimes founders’ names were called upon, but sometimes the names of other noteworthy figures were also utilized. So it should come as no great surprise for city founders in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to use Knickerbocker if they wanted to pay homage to the Father of American Literature.

Irving had no children, but as the youngest of a large family, he was close to his numerous nieces and nephews. Morgan and Lawrence Grinnell, two of his nephews, left New York City and went out west to Texas, hoping to launch a sheep business. In the process, they became some of the early settlers in an area later named Knickerbocker.

Ironically, the Grinnell brothers eventually moved back to New York, having given up on the sheep business, but the small community of Knickerbocker, Texas, remains intact.

For more information on Knickerbocker, check out these links:
https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnk19
http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasTowns/KnickerbockerTexas/KnickerbockerTexas.htm

Published in: on August 21, 2018 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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