Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written ten nonfiction books, two novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Civil War Springfield, Wicked Springfield: The Seamy Side of the Queen City, and Murder and Mayhem in Missouri.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pleasant Hope (aka Pin Hook)

Growing up in Fair Grove, I often heard our neighboring town of Pleasant Hope only ten miles away referred to as Pin Hook, and I assume locals still call it Pin Hook. I believe there are even one or two businesses in Pleasant Hope with the words "Pin Hook" in their name.
I used to wonder how Pleasant Hope got the nickname Pin Hook. As a kid, I always assumed it was just that--a nickname--and that it probably came about because the words in both names start with the same two letters. I figured Pin Hook was just a name some clever fellow came up with as a play on the words of the real name, Pleasant Hope.
A few years ago, I learned that the name Pin Hook actually predated the name Pleasant Hope; so it is inaccurate, or at least misleading, to call Pin Hook a nickname for Pleasant Hope. What I read a few years ago was that Pin Hook was an earlier name for Pleasant Hope, that the place was sometimes also mockingly called Lick Skillet (because of its supposed impoverished condition) during the same time or perhaps even before it was called Pin Hook, and that the community's name was merely changed to Pleasant Hope sometime in the late 1800s.
I now know, however, that this generally accepted explanation of the town's origins is also somewhat inaccurate or at least not the whole story. I recently read a brief report in an 1872 Springfield newspaper that led me to such a conclusion. The piece in the paper mentioned the new town of Pleasant Hope that had grown up NEAR old Pin Hook, which, in turn, had become nothing but a cornfield. No doubt Pleasant Hope soon engulfed the site that had previously been Pin Hook (and borrowed the name of the earlier place as an alternate name), but it is obvious from this report that originally Pin Hook and Pleasant Hope were two separate places rather than the same place that merely changed its name.
The derivation of the name Pin Hook is also a matter of some conjecture. There are at least a couple of legends about how the place got its name, both involving sewing materials (i.e. pins), but I'll leave that issue to another time or another person.

1 Comments:

Blogger fourstringfuror said...

I've never heard the name Pin Hook before, but I didn't grow up in Pleasant Hope, either. I wonder what the community of Pin Hook was look before Pleasant Hope came along.

June 21, 2012 at 11:06 AM  

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