Why a Name Like Colon?

Why Name a Town Colon?


Joe Ganger

Ever wonder why name like Colon for a town? Well the answer comes from the “Life of Lorancie Shellhous” written by him in March of 1873. Harrison Edward Schellhous (1885-1969), grandson of Lorancie’s younger brother Cyrus, transcribed the original manuscript. In a correspondence (circa 1963-1965) to the Niendorf family, Harrison Edward Schellhous describes a 24 page manuscript that he received in 1962 from Ellis L. Schellhous, a grandson of Lorancie. The description read… “in long-hand, old, brittle, hard to decipher, with run-on sentences and no capitals…”. Harrison then transcribed the manuscript onto type-written pages, double-spaced, and subsequently sent copies to numerous descendants. The story starts off with:   “By request of my children I will try to give a short history sketch of my life. I was born in the state of Vermont and county of Addison, township of Ferrisburgh in A.D. 1793 May the tenth. My father, Martin Schellhous settled in that township soon after the Revolutionary War with Great Britain.” Following a long description of his childhood and the story of a very laborious journey to Michigan, Lorancie writes: “Now perhaps you would like to know how this town came by the name of Colon. Well I will try to tell; in the first settlement of the county there was a great stir about building cities on paper. George and Hatch took into their heads to lay out a city plot on the land that I then owned finally arrangements were made, got a surveyor, laid it out, into lots when completed, we wished to give a name could not find one to suit. Finally I happened to take up an old dictionary, the first word I put my eyes on was Colon. Looking to see the definition, we will call the name of it Colon, looked up there see the lake and river coming along, that is exactly the definition. Agreed says they, that is the way the name of Colon came.” It wasn’t until recently that I found out there is another Colon here in the U. S. From a website: “Few towns can state that their community was moved from one location to another, but that is exactly what happened to Colon, Nebraska in 1879. The first location was about 3 miles north of the today’s community. The town was relocated to accommodate a new post office between Wahoo and Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska. An early settler, Mr. Leander Taylor moved to this new railroad town from Colon, Michigan, thus the name “Colon” was adopted. The population of Colon, Nebraska is approximately 128 with about 54 families.” One of their claims to fame is that they were the first town in their county to get dial phones. About as exciting as counting all the traffic lights in our own town of Colon.