Wednesday, August 7, 2013

30248. Oliver Cromwell Wing


I'm sure, at the time, there was a good reason for it, but I wish I knew what it was. Why Oliver Cromwell?

Cromwell is certainly worthy of admiration as a historic figure. Monty Python even sang a song about him, so we know his reputation resonated with the right people through time. But here's my point. That was in England. In the 1640s. Why did a Cape Cod family (a well-known one, for sure) two hundred years later decide to name their son for an overthrower of the British crown?

Pros: being named for the Lord Protector of England would certainly be a talking point at parties. He could probably motion across the room and say, "and this is my brother, William Shakespeare Wing." And if he wanted to sound really cool, he could have just called himself by his initials, O.C. Wing. Con: he probably had to explain himself quite a bit, knowing Americans' grasp of history. "You're named for who now?"

It seems that Wing never really lived up to the hype of the name, leading a pastoral life as a farmer and painter, and agent for the Pocasset train station. His property is now part of the local golf course. But, perhaps, that was the life wished for by the original O.C. Perhaps he just got stuck in a time when kings needed beheading and governments needed to be overturned.

But the coolest fact ever about Oliver Cromwell? His nickname was "Old Ironsides," a century and a half before the USS Constitution picked it up. Somehow I doubt that our friend Mr. Wing picked up that epithet down in peaceful Pocasset.

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