Courtesy of Pinterest The town of Ceredo was named by Eli Thayer, lover of mythology, after Roman Goddess Ceres.

Continuing our theme from last week, when we explored the history of the names of Wayne, I thought I would move to my hometown this week.

As many people in the county know, Ceredo has a history unlike any other town not only in Wayne County, but also in the state of West Virginia.

Ceredo was founded by northerners that immigrated into the slave-holding south to create a free-soil colony in the Old Dominion.

When Eli Thayer and other members of the abolitionist group purchased land along Twelvepole Creek and the Ohio River they had many obstacles in their way. Not only did they have to contend with ardent pro-slavery residents throughout Wayne County and Holderby's Landing (Huntington), but also trying to set up their experiment for success.

The idea was to attract whites and blacks into the community and show that it could be self-sufficient without the use of slave labor. The people of this new colony also had the task of figuring out a name for their new anti-slavery oasis.

Eli Thayer was a great lover of mythology and wanted to tie in his new colony with the ancient Greeks and Romans.

When the settlement first started it was believed that farming and timber would be the main sources of income so Thayer and the rest of the group decided to name their town after the Roman Goddess of wheat and the harvest, Ceres.

While Ceres was and is still known at the time, the more popular incarnation of the Goddess comes from the Greek pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, Demeter, the sister of Zeus.

I argue that trying to name a town after Demeter is much more difficult than Ceres so the name stuck.

There is also a dwarf planet that bears the name Ceres and is the closest dwarf planet to earth.

Unfortunately for the people of the Ceredo colony, the Civil War ruined any chance of financial gain from their anti-slavery colony, but the town and the name live on.

Matthew A. Perry is a history teacher at C-K Middle and writes about the odd side of history at www.theoddpast.com.


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