Scottish Place Names
- Houston, Texas, USA
For comparability with other large cities around the world, Greater Houston has been defined as the entire urban area including and surrounding the City of Houston. This area extends from Pinehurst, The Woodlands and New Caney in the north to Alvin and Galveston in the south, and from Katy and the Rosenberg-Richmond area in the west to Mont Belvieu and Baytown in the east. This is a vast metropolitan area, typical of the urban sprawl that characterises most American cities as a consequence of the steady population influx from rural areas, the post-WWII baby boom and the 1960s ‘flight to the suburbs’. Suburban growth was further accelerated in Houston’s case by the oil boom of the 60s and 70s.
Of the names of the 1,149 suburbs, subdivisions and neighbourhoods in Greater Houston that have been identified to date, 194 (16.9%) are based, in whole or in part, on place names that can be found in Scotland, on Scottish family names, or on Scottish words. Of course, many of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well but at least 93 of these (8.1%) appear to have a direct or indirect link with Scotland. Admittedly, these statistics may be a little inflated since several names are variations on a single name, for example the numerous neighbourhoods with Brae, MacGregor or Houston itself as part of their name.
Communities and neighbourhoods with names that occur only in Scotland and not elsewhere in the British Isles, and/or are definitely, or most probably, of Scottish origin are:
- Anderson Ways - Anderson is the Lowland form of MacAndrew, a sept of Clan Chattan. The Anderson tartan is shown here. The name has travelled from Scotland to other parts of the British Isles, for example the village of Anderson in Dorset, England and Andersonstown, a suburb of Belfast, Northern Ireland. One wonders whether the Galveston neighbourhood honours M D Anderson, listed as one of Houston's 'Great Citizens' in the Houston History website.
- Armstrong Place - Armstrong is a Lowland Scottish family name, though the name is also frequently encountered today both in England and in Ireland, having no doubt travelled there from Scotland.
- Ayrshire (a county in SW Scotland). Most of the streets and lanes in this neighbourhood and in the adjacent neighbourhood of Braes Oaks have Scottish names (Aberdeen, Drummond, Dumbarton, Durness, Falkirk, Gairloch, Grennoch, Lanark, Merrick, Prestwick, Solway and Tartan).
- Barclay Place (Barclay in South Ayrshire and Barclayhill and Barclayfield in Perth & Kinross) there is also a Barclay in Wales though Barclay is a Scottish surname (that's the clan tartan shown here). As pointed out by Scarlett (1975) Barclay is a Lowland Scots name, "its bearers claiming descent from the Berkeleys who came to England with William the Conqueror." (p.37). This could account for the presence of the name in a part of Wales that was simultaneously colonised by the Normans.
- Barkley Circle and Barkley Square South - Black (1996), the authority on Scottish family names, lists Barkley as an alternative spelling of the Scottish surname Barclay (see Barclay Place above).
- Bell Meads - One wonders whether this neighbourhood, in Harris County, was named for Peter Hansborough Bell, the third governor of Texas. Bell is a Scottish surname, ranked 36th in a 1976 survey of family names in Scotland. On the other hand, the name may be a variant spelling of 'Belle Meades' - a popular name in several American cities.
- Braeburn, Braeburn Acres, Braeburn Gardens, Braeburn Glen, Braeburn Valley and Braewood Glen - Brae (pronounced bray) is a Scots word that means a hill or hillside.
- Braes Heights, Braes Manor, Braesmont, Braes Oaks, Braes Terrace, Braeswood, Braeswood Place and Old Braeswood (there is a Braes in Falkirk and a Braes Cairn in Moray plus many other references to Braes throughout Scotland. The names of these Houston neighbourhoods are probably only coincidentally Scottish. According to an article in Wikipedia, Old Braeswood received its name in 1982 "to differentiate the neighborhood [from] nearby neighborhoods that are also named after the Brays Bayou." The spelling 'Brays' suggests an English rather than a Scottish origin but its conversion to 'braes' certainly qualifies the name as being Scottish.
- Calgary Woods (Calgary on the Isle of Mull, Argyll & Bute) though possibly referring in this instance to Calgary in Canada. There is also a locality to the north-east of Houston called Calgary (a former railway crossing - see www.medievalmantles.com/pages/rrxing.php) which may have inspired the name of the Houston neighbourhood.
- Camp Logan - there is a Logan in Dumfries & Galloway as well as in East Ayrshire (the latter being the likely origin of the Scottish family name Logan). The neighbourhood takes its name from a World War I army training camp.
- Citadel (Orkney Islands).
- Clinton Park and Clinton View - Black (1996) suggests that Clinton is a shortened form of MacClinton (a form of MacLintock).
- Cumings - a variant spelling of Cumming, a Scottish family name, the origin of which was the town of Comines in Flanders. Laurie E. Jasinski provides the following explanation in the Handbook of Texas Online: "The small residential development along the Brazos River is situated on land that was probably owned by the Cumings family, and E. W. Cumings Street runs through the subdivision."
- Dumbarton Oaks and Dumbarton Village (derived from Dumbarton in West Dunbartonshire). The link with Scotland might be indirect in the case of these neighbourhoods since they are more likely to recall Dumbarton Oaks, the mansion in Washington D.C. where a conference of the Allied Powers was held in 1944 to negotiate setting up the United Nations. The illustration shows Dumbarton Castle beside Dumbarton Rock in Scotland.
- Easthaven (Angus, spelt East Haven).
- Eldridge - there is an Eldridge Hill in South Ayrshire, the only occurrence of Eldridge as a place name in the British Isles.
- Glenburnie (Aberdeenshire and Scottish Borders).
- Glencairn Park, Glencairn South and Glencairn West (derived from Glencairn in Aberdeenshire and Highland) - Glencairn is also found in Belfast, Northern Ireland, possibly taken there by Scottish settlers.
- Glenshire - possibly derived from Glen Shira, a glen near Inverary in Argyll & Bute in which the Duke of Argyll once provided a safe haven for Rob Roy MacGregor. Alternatively, it could simply be a made-up name.
- Grantwood - there is a Grant in Perth & Kinross. There are also many other places in Scotland with this Scottish family name as part of the name, for example Grantlodge, Grantshouse and Grantown-on-Spey. Places beginning with Grant can also be found in England but in the majority of these instances 'Grant' has a different meaning.
- Hardy Heights - Hardy (and its variant Hardie) is a Scottish family name from Lanarkshire, derived from Old English and Old French 'hardi', meaning 'brave' (whence the modern term 'hardy').
- Heather Glen - this name sounds distinctly Scottish. The shrub commonly known as heather (calluna vulgaris), grows profusely throughout the uplands of the British Isles and other parts of Europe and has a particularly strong, almost iconic, association with Scotland while 'glen' is a Scottish word for 'valley'.
- Heatherwood - there is a Heatherwood Park in Highland just north of Dornoch. There appear to be three localities in Greater Houston called Heatherwood.
- Highland Acres Homes, Highland Gardens, Highland Heights, Highland Trails and Highland Village - possibly chosen to evoke the Highlands of Scotland though in the USA the name seems to be largely descriptive of the local terrain.
- Houston (Renfrewshire) and East Houston, Houston Country Club Place, Houston Gardens, Houston Harbor, Houston Heights, Houston Skyscraper Shadows, Lake Houston, Mount Houston, North Houston, Port Houston, South Houston, South Houston Gardens and World Houston by association. Houston is a distinctly Scottish family name (the Houston family crest in Paisley is shown here). The City of Houston was named in honour of General Sam Houston (1793-1863) whose ancestry was Scottish on both sides of the family. The suggestion for the new city's name came from Charlotte Allen, the wife of Augustus Allen. An inheritance received by Charlotte enabled the Allen brothers to purchase 6,600 acres (27 km˛) along the Buffalo Bayou for $5,000, for the purpose of establishing a new city (Wikipedia article on Augustus Chapman Allen, retrieved in July 2008).
- Irvington (Dumfries & Galloway).
- Kirkwood, Kirkwood Country and Kirkwood South - there are several places in Scotland called Kirkwood (in Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire and North Lanarkshire). Kirkwood is also a Scottish family name, originating in Ayrshire.
- Linkwood - a village in Moray, near the town of Elgin.
- MacGregor, MacGregor Palms, MacGregor Park Estates, MacGregor Place and MacGregor Terrace - there is a water feature based on this Scottish surname called Macgregor's Leap as well as a McGregor's Cave, both in Perth & Kinross. The illustration is of a statue to Rob Roy McGregor in Stirling. These neighbourhoods, like MacGregor Drive and MacGregor Park, were named in honour of Henry F. MacGregor, an influential citizen (Hinton, 2007).
- McKamy Meadows - According to the House of Names Heraldic website, McKamy is a said to be a Scottish family name from East Lothian, one of the many spelling variations of MacKimmie, or possibly related to the Scottish surname McKames. One wonders whether this Houston neighbourhood was named for Captain William McKamy.
- McNair - although villages and towns based on this name are not found in Scotland, McNair is definitely a Scottish surname. The McNairs are septs of the MacFarlane and MacNaughton clans.
- Melrose Gardens and Melrose Park (derived from Melrose in Scottish Borders). The illustration is of Melrose Abbey. Melrose has proven to be a popular name for neighbourhoods in many cities around the world, possibly because of its association with Sir Walter Scott whose residence, Abbotsford, is in the area.
- Mill Ridge North - there is a Millridge Farm, near Newbigging in South Lanarkshire.
- Monroe Place - the name of this neighbourhood most probably commemorates James Monroe, the 5th President of the United States (1817-1825). Monroe is an alternative spelling of the Scottish surname of Munro, and is derived from the Gaelic 'Rothach' or 'a man of Ro'. According to Black (1996) their ancestors probably came from Ireland, from the foot of the river Roe in County Derry, which produced the place name 'Bunrotha' from which 'Munrotha' was derived.
- Montrose (a town in Angus). One of the reasons for the popularity of the name Montrose throughout the English-speaking world may have to do with Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Legend of Montrose', published in 1819.
- Morningside Place - there are several places in Scotland called Morningside (in Dumfries & Galloway, North Lanarkshire, Perth & Kinross and, most famously, in the City of Edinburgh). Morningside is one of the most commonly recurring Scottish place names in cities around the world, especially in North America and South Africa. According to the Wikipedia article on Morningside Place, retrieved in February 2007, this is one of Houston's newest neighbourhoods, formed in 1999 when the Bliss Court, Brantwood, Carolina Place, Wessex, and Windermere subdivisions joined into one homeowner's association.
- Ralston Acres - Ralston is a suburb of Paisley, Renfrewshire, on the main road between Glasgow and Paisley, from which the Scottish family name 'Ralston' is derived.
- Rosslyn (there is a Rosslyn Castle and a Rosslyn Chapel - seen here - in Midlothian). Rosslyn was the village that was made famous in Sir Walter Scott's 'Lay of the Last Minstrel.'
- Scotcrest - there is no such place name in Scotland but the name of this Houston neighbourhood seems to suggest a Scottish connection.
- Skyline District - there is a Skyline Loch in Highland, the only occurrence of 'Skyline' as an element in place names anywhere in the British Isles. This does not necessarily 'prove' that the name of the Houston neighbourhood has a link with Scotland, as 'skyline' may be a purely descriptive term, popularly used in North America.
- South Glen (Dumfries & Galloway).
- South Park (Dumfries & Galloway; also Aberdeenshire, spelt Southpark) but far more commonly found throughout England. Houston's South Park neighbourhood, located in the south-central area of the city, has an indirect and highly tenuous connection with Scotland. According to the Wikipedia article retrieved in February 2007, the neighbourhood gets its name from its situation immediately south of MacGregor Park - MacGregor being a Scottish surname (see MacGregor above).
- Sterling Forest, Sterling Green, Sterling Green South, Sterling Knoll and Village of Sterling Ridge (all based on a possibly corrupted spelling of Stirling in central Scotland). One wonders whether these neighbourhoods were named for Ross Shaw Sterling (1875-1949), Governor of Texas between January 20, 1931 and January 17, 1933. An article in Wikipedia on Governor Sterling states that "in addition to oil, Sterling was also involved in a railroad, a newspaper, banking, and real estate in the Houston area, and was an active member of the Houston Port Commission."
- Telfair - According to the House of Names Heraldic website, Telfair is a variant of Telford, a Scottish family name. Black (1996) does not mention the name. It is not inconceivable, however, that the name could be the result of a US immigration official misinterpreting 'Telford' as 'Telfair' when spoken with a broad Scottish accent.
- Village of Cochran's Crossing - Cochran is a variant of the Scottish family name of Cochrane. The only place in the British Isles with this name is Cochrane Pike, over the border in Northumberland.
Some of the following localities may also prove on further investigation to have a link with Scotland. However, these names are also associated with other parts of the British Isles:
- Afton Oaks - there are places called Afton Bridgend, Reservoir and Water in East Ayrshire but Afton is also the name of at least two places in southern England.
- Avondale East - there is an Avondale in the Shetland Islands, but the name is also found in both England and Ireland.
- Barrington and Barrington Place - there is a place in Fife called Barrington, but the name is more widespread in England.
- Brownwood - there are many places in both Scotland and England that have 'Brown' as an element in their name. The surname Brown is very common in both countries, with surveys in the 1970s suggesting that it is the second most common family name in Scotland (after Smith) and the third most common in England (after Smith and Jones).
- Castle Rock - there is a place in Angus called Castle Rock. However, being a descriptive name, it is used in England as well.
- Clifton Beach - there is a Clifton in Scottish Borders, Orkney Islands and Stirling but Clifton is far more commonly found throughout England.
- Cole Creek Manor (Cole in the Shetland Islands) though Cole as an element in place names is far more commonly found in England.
- Cookwood - Cook is a Scottish as well as an English name. The Scottish Cooks are a sept of the Stewart clan; their ancestral lands were on the Isle of Bute.
- Cooper Industrial - places based on the family name Cooper (see family tartan here) are found throughout both Scotland and England. Scottish examples include Cooper Cleuch (Scottish Borders), Cooperhill (Aberdeenshire and East Ayrshire) and Cooper's Knowe (Highland). The graphic shows the Cooper family tartan.
- Courtyard (Courtyard Cotts in Dumfries & Galloway) but there is also a Courtyard Farm in Norfolk, England.
- Crosby - On the surface, this would appear to be an English name, or a reference to the town on the Isle of Man. However, Crosby is also a variant of Crosbie, a surname that is quite common in SW Scotland. Black (1996) points out that there are places named Crosbie in the former Scottish shires of Ayr, Kircudbright and Berwick. Corsbie and Crosseby are other variants of Crosbie. According to Timothy N. Smith (The Handbook of Texas Online), the suburb of Crosby was named for G. J. Crosby, a railroad construction engineer.
- Cove (Aberdeen City, Argyll & Bute, Borders and Highland) also common in England.
- Covington West and Covington Woods (Covington in South Lanarkshire); there is also a Covington in England.
- Dove Country - Dove is a Scottish and northern English family name, first recorded in the former Scottish county of Berwickshire. The Scottish Doves are a sept of Clan Buchanan. On the other hand, the name may simply be descriptive of the bird life in the area.
- Dow Acres (Dow Crag Hill in Dumfries & Galloway, Dow Hill in South Ayrshire, Dow Loch in Dumfries & Galloway and Perth & Kinross, Dow Lochar in Dumfries & Galloway, Dow Spout in Dumfries & Galloway and Dow's Burn in South Ayrshire) Dow is also found in parts of England, particularly in the north, but less commonly than in Scotland.
- Estates at Cullen Park - there is a coastal town in Moray called Cullen (Gaelic for 'little nook'). However, there are also at least two places in Ireland with this name while Cullen as a family name is considered to be typically Irish.
- Fairfield (Clackmannanshire, Shetland Islands and Stirling). Fairfield is even more commonly found throughout England and is also found in Ireland.
- Forest Hill (a hill in Dumfries & Galloway) but far more likely to be named for one of the many places in England, including the south London suburb.
- Forrest Lake - Forrest is a family name originating in the northern English county of Northumberland (which borders Scotland), and is today regarded as being both a Scottish and an English family name. The Houston neighbourhood (a townhome community in the Greater Inwood area) was so named in 1976 " because it had previously been a small dairy farm owned or operated by a Mr. Forrest." (Wikipedia article on Forrest Lake, retrieved in July 2008).
- Gilbert Landing - there is a Gilberts Rig in Dumfries & Galloway, Gilberts Bridge in Perth & Kinross and Gilbertfield in South Lanarkshire, though Gilbert occurs more commonly in English place names. Gilbert is also a Scottish family name - a sept of Clan Buchanan.
- Glen Cove, Glen Forest and Glen Lea Place and Glen Laurel - there are places in Scotland called Glen (in Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands) also two places in Ireland. In addition, there are hundreds of places in both Scotland and Ireland and a few in England and Wales with Glen as an element in the name. Glen simply means 'valley' in Gaelic.
- Glenshannon - Shannon is an ancient Scottish family name from Kintyre and is a sept of Clan MacDonald. It is derived from the Gaelic 'seanain' meaning 'old' or 'wise'. Of course, Shannon is also the name of the most important river in Ireland.
- Grayson Lakes - there is a Grayson House in Stirling, but Grayson appears to be more strongly associated with north-west England.
- Greenfield Village (Greenfield in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll & Bute, City of Glasgow, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, Highland, Perth & Kinross, Shetland Islands and South Lanarkshire). Greenfield is just as commonly found in England and Wales.
- Greenwood Village (there is a Greenwood in Moray, Scottish Borders and South Lanarkshire) but Greenwood is also found in England and in County Mayo, Ireland.
- Hall Lake - there is a place called Hall in East Renfrewshire. However, it is also the name of a place in Devon, England. As a surname, Hall is far more English than Scottish.
- Harper's Landing - there are many places in Scotland featuring the family name of Harper (Harpercroft, Harperdean, Harperfield, Harperhall, Harperhill, Harperland, Harperleas, Harperless, Harperrig, Harperstone and Harpertoun) but this is equally the case in England. Harper is derived from the trade/profession of being a harpist and is found all over the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
- Heights (Stirling and West Lothian) also three places in northern England.
- Hilltop Acres (Hilltop in Dumfries & Galloway). Hilltop is very common in England (often spelt Hill Top) and also occurs in Ireland.
- Hunters Creek Village, Hunters Glen, Hunters Point, Hunters Ridge, Hunters Terrace and Hunterwood - Hunter occurs in many place names throughout Scotland (and is also a common surname - that's the clan tartan here). The list includes Aberdeenshire (Hunter's Hill and Lodge), Angus (Hunter's Path and Hunters Hill), Argyll & Bute (Hunter's Quay), Scottish Borders (Hunter Hill and Huntershall), Dumfries & Galloway (Hunter House, Hunter's Gate, Hunterheck), East Ayrshire (Hunter's Meadow, Hunterston), North Ayrshire (Hunterston, Hunterston House, Hunterston Sands), Perth & Kinross (Hunterhall) and South Lanarkshire (Hunterlees). Hunter is found even more commonly throughout England.
- Huntington and Huntington Place - there is a Huntington in the Scottish Borders and East Lothian, but the name is also commonly found in England.
- Jamestown Colony - there is a Jamestown in Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Highland and West Dunbartonshire. However, there are also two places in Ireland called Jamestown.
- Kennedy Heights - Kennedy is an ancient Scottish family name, though there are Irish Kennedy's as well. The origin of the name is Gaelic, 'ceannaideach' (ugly head). The Houston neighbourhood may well honour President J.F. Kennedy, whose ancestry was Irish.
- Kingsbridge (Angus) also in southern England.
- Lynn Park - there are several places in both Scotland and England featuring the name Lynn, which is also considered to be an ancient Scottish family from Ayrshire, as well as an Irish name related to O'Linn and Flynn.
- Mason Park Terrace - there is a Mason Lodge in Aberdeenshire and Masonhill in South Ayrshire; also five places in northern and central England with Mason as an element in the name.
- Mayfield Park - Mayfield is a popular place name in Scotland, being found in Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, City of Edinburgh, Fife, Highland, Midlothian, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands, Perth & Kinross, Shetland Islands and South Lanarkshire. Mayfield is also found throughout England but less commonly so than in Scotland.
- Meadows and Meadows Place - there are villages in Aberdeenshire and Angus simply called Meadows, but the name occurs in England as well. These neighbourhoods in the southwest were probably named for purely descriptive reasons.
- Mills Branch, Mills Pointe and Mills Walk (Mills in Fife). There are many other places in Scotland as well as England with Mills or Mill's as an element in the name.
- Morgan's Point - Morgan is a Scottish family name. However, it is a very common Welsh family name as well (Morganstown is a suburb of Cardiff in the former Welsh county of Glamorgan) and the name has also been taken to England, probably by the Welsh Morgans, e.g., Morgan's Hill in Wiltshire. The Houston suburb on Galveston Bay appears to have been named for James Morgan (1787-1866), pioneer Texas settler, merchant, land speculator, and commander at Galveston during the Texas Revolution (The Handbook of Texas Online). There is a strong possibility that Morgan's ancestry may have been Welsh since he was born in Philadelphia. However, the fact that Morgan brought a number of Scottish Highlanders to his new settlement could suggest a Scottish connection. By pure coincidence, another Morgan - Charles - "the father of the Houston Ship Channel" was later instrumental in dredging Buffalo Bayou and excavating a canal opposite Morgan's Point.
- Morton Ranch - there are places in Fife and West Lothian called Morton as well as at least eight places in England. Morton is both a Scottish and an English family name, originating in Cheshire, England.
- Newport (Highland) also in England, Ireland and Wales - Newport is Wales' third largest city and is also one of the best known towns on the Isle of Wight in southern England.
- Northfield and Northfield Place - there are many places in Scotland with this descriptive name (in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, City of Edinburgh, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Highland, Orkney Islands, Scottish Borders and West Lothian) but the name is also commonly used throughout England.
- Northside and Northside Village - there is a Northside in Aberdeenshire and Orkney Islands but the name is also frequently used in England.
- Pipers Meadow (there is a Piper's Burn in Highland, Piper's Knowe in Scottish Borders, Pipercroft in Dumfries & Galloway, Piperdam in Angus, Piperhall in Argyll & Bute, Piperhill in Highland, Piperstones Hill in Perth & Kinross and Piperton in Angus) but names beginning with 'Piper' or 'Pipers' are just as common in England. As a family name, Piper is considered to be both Scottish and English.
- Rose Hill (Highland) though Rose Hill is far more common throughout England and is also found in Wales.
- Southwood and Southwood Place - there is a place called Southwood in Perth & Kinross, but the name is encountered frequently in England and is also found in Wales.
- Sunnyside and Sunnyside Gardens (Sunnyside in Aberdeenshire, City of Glasgow, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Fife, Perth & Kinross, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands, Scottish Borders, South Lanarkshire); Sunnyside is also found in England but less commonly so than in Scotland.
- Taylor Lake Village - - Taylor is a very common surname in both Scotland and England. A survey of surnames undertaken in the 1970s suggests, however, that it is the 5th most common surname in England compared with the 14th in Scotland.
- Todville - Although this name does not occur anywhere in the British Isles, Tod features widely in place names in Scotland, northern England and south-western England. The Scottish list is too numerous to quote in full, some examples being Todcastle (South Lanarkshire), Todfold (Aberdeenshire), Todhills (Aberdeenshire, Angus and Edinburgh), Todholes (Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Moray and Stirling), Todlaw (Scottish Borders), Todston (Perth & Kinross) and Todstone (Dumfries & Galloway). As a family name, Tod is both Scottish and English, originating in the Scottish Borders.
- Trinity (Angus and City of Edinburgh) also in Devon and the Channel Islands.
- Westbank (Angus) also in Derbyshire, England.
- Woodland Acres, Woodland Heights, Woodland Oaks, Woodland Trails North, North Woodland Hills and South Woodland Hills - there is a Woodland in South Ayrshire as well as in five English counties but these neighbourhoods and subdivisions are more likely to have been given purely descriptive names.
- Woodside and Woodside Plaza - there are places called Woodside in Aberdeen City, Dumfries & Galloway, City of Glasgow, Fife, Moray, North Ayrshire, Perth & Kinross. Being a descriptive name, Woodside is also found all over England.
A final category of neighbourhood and suburban names comprises places that can be found in Scotland but which, in Houston's case, definitely or most probably have no Scottish connection.
- Deer Park (Dumfries & Galloway and Highland) also in England. The Houston suburb was founded in 1892 by Simon West, who named the new town for a park of privately owned deer in the area. (Wikipedia article on Deer Park, Texas, retrieved in February 2007). The name therefore has no connection with either Scotland or England.
- Harrisburg and Harrisburg Heights - Harris is the name of a large island in the Outer Hebrides. However, there is no Scottish connection in the case of these Houston neighbourhoods, which were named by its founder, John Richardson Harris. In an article on Harrisburg, Houston, Texas, retrieved from Wikipedia in February 2007, it is stated that Harris named the town both after himself and after Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which had been named for his grandfather (who had Yorkshire ancestry).
- Highlands - according to The Handbook of Texas Online, this is a purely descriptive name. "The community of roughly nine square miles was named Highlands because when it was founded, the east bank of the San Jacinto River, where it is located, was higher than the west." (Claudia Hazlewood, article on Highlands, Texas).
- Humble, Humble Acres, Humble Camp and Humble Estate (there is a Humblecairn in Aberdeenshire and a Humbles Knowe and Humblemoor Hill in Scottish Borders) but the element 'Humble' is even more common in northern England than it is in Scotland. Humble is also an English family name, from Hampshire. In an article on Humble, Texas, retrieved from Wikipedia in February 2007, the following account is given of the etymology of the name: "The city got its name from one of the original founders/settlers, a successful wildcatter originally from England named Pleasant Smith 'Plez' Humble, who opened the first post office in his home and later served as justice of the peace. The proper pronunciation of the city is 'umble' (the 'H' being silent), as Plez pronounced his last name in that manner."
- Preston Manor and Preston Station (Preston in Scottish Borders and East Lothian) but Preston is very common throughout England. The Preston Station neighbourhood takes its name from Preston Avenue, which was named for Senator W.C. Preston, a strong backer of Texas annexation (Hinton, 2004). Preston is an English family name.
- Riverside, Riverside Crest and Riverside Terrace (there is a Riverside in Stirling) also Riverside in England and Wales. The names of these Houston neighbourhoods are probably purely descriptive.
- Sheldon, Sheldon Acres and Sheldon Park - there is a place in Aberdeenshire called Sheldon, but this name is found even more commonly in England. The Houston suburb of Sheldon was established in the early 1860s and named for a railroad company stockholder, Henry K. Sheldon of New York (Claudia Hazlewood, The Handbook of Texas Online). Sheldon is an English family name.
- Southside Place - there is a Southside in Aberdeenshire, Scottish Borders, Midlothian, Orkney Islands and South Ayrshire as well as just over the border in Northumberland. In Houston's case, the name is probably purely descriptive of the community's geographical location.
- South View (Shetland Islands) also four places in England. The Houston neighbourhood is situated in the southern section of the city and therefore probably has a descriptive name with no intended reference to places in either Scotland or England.
- West Park and West Park Center (West Park in Aberdeenshire; also West Park Farm in East Ayrshire, West Parkfergus in Argyll & Bute, Westpark in South Ayrshire and Westpark in South Lanarkshire) though West Park/Westpark occurs even more commonly in England. West Park's location on the west side of Houston suggests a purely geographical reason for the name of this neighbourhood.
- Westfield, Westfield Estates and Westfield Terra (there is a Westfield in Aberdeenshire, Scottish Borders, East Lothian, Falkirk, Fife, Highland, Moray, North Lanarkshire, Perth & Kinross, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian). Westfield is found just as frequently throughout England. The Houston neighbourhood of Westfield was actually named for Gate F. West, who owned a small field in the area when the railway was built in the 1870s (Diana J. Kleiner, The Handbook of Texas Online). West is an English family name.
- Westwood and Westwood Center - there are places in Scotland called Westwood (in Dumfries & Galloway, Perth & Kinross and Stirling) but Westwood is also very common in England and is a favourite name for neighbourhoods in other North American cities. Westwood Park (another Houston neighbourhood) is found only in England. It is probable that these Houston neighbourhoods were named purely because of their geographical location in relation to the city centre.
Other place names in Greater Houston that have a "Scottish ring" about them but that have not yet been established as having a connection with Scotland include:Aldine, Aldine Meadows, Aldine Place, League City, McHattie, Park Glen, Park Glen West, Villages at Glen Iris and Woodglen.According to the House of Names Heraldic website, Aldine is said to be both a Scottish family name from East Lothian (a variant of Haldane) and an English family name from Lancashire (a variant of Holden). Black (1996), the authority on Scottish family names, makes no mention of the name, however. Black is also silent in regard to League (said to be a variant of McLeish) and McHattie.
- Black, George F. (1996). The Surnames of Scotland. (Birlinn Ltd, Edinburgh).
- The Handbook of Texas Online - Texas State Historical Association.
- Hinton, Marks (2007). Historic Houston Streets: The Stories behind the Name. The Heritage Society's Hill/Finger Lecture Series, July 19, 2007.
- The House of Names Heraldic website.
- Houston City Map (Rand McNally, 1998).
- Houston History.
- Katytexas.com for a list of subdivisions in the Katy area.
- Mapquest.com and Maps.yahoo.com for the names of outlying suburbs and neighbourhoods.
- Scarlett, James D. (1975). The Tartans of the Scottish Clans. (Collins, Glasgow and London).
- Wikipedia for a list of some Houston neighbourhoods and subdivisions.
- Websites, place name gazetteers and published Ordnance Survey maps of British and Irish cities, towns, villages and counties.
© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, April 2004
Revised July 2008
If you wish to contact Ian about his research, his e-mail address is email@example.com.
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
News & Views>
All Features Index>
Search This Site>
Scottish Pictorial Calendar>
Places to Visit>