Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A "Eurotas" by any other name & Laconia, too.

Find A Grave photo
I'm sure most of you know that Eurotas was a mythical king of Laconia, son of King Myles, grandson of Lelex --- and father of Sparta. But I didn't. And that resulted in lost time the other day while at work on the roster of Lucas County's Civil War dead I've been writing about lately.

My mistake was starting with the massive multi-volume "Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of Rebellion."

At some point while transcribing a roster of soldiers of Company H, 1st Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, to be included in this amazing record, a clerk misread a "u" as an "n" and Eurotas C. Lyman ended up "Enrotas."

Many 19th century parents looked to the Bible when naming their offspring, others to the classics. George and Sophia Lyman chose the latter route when naming their little boy back in 1843 and I eventually figured that out --- after wasting half an hour or so.

Eurotas was too young to enlist when war broke out, but after turning 18 he enlisted in Company H  on the 24th of February 1864. Prior to that, he had been living at Chariton with his father, George, stepmother, Charlotte --- he a farmer and she, a milliner --- and other family members.

A year later, while on a reconnaissance mission near Memphis, Tennessee, Eurotas had the misfortune to be shot dead by Confederate guerrillas and was buried, eventually, at what now is Memphis National Cemetery.

Thanks to Find A Grave, I was able to discover that he has a brand new tombstone there (the original probably just weathered away). Sadly, the bearer of this magnificent name was denied it in death and he's identified thereon only as "E. C. Lyman." But we know now who he was.

And since Eurotas the first was king of Laconia, we also have a better idea about the source of the name of our neighboring town to the northwest, Lacona.

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