Spelling wasn’t always a thing

R.L. Lemon, Intern at SRC

I would like to share a bit of trivia. For my internship here at the Spring River Chronicle, I could not help but notice the black and white photos of newsboys on the walls. One was missing a leg, and another held a paper with a huge headline about the tragedy of Titanic. They were compelling because history is one of those things that people my age might not be all that eager to talk about. It’s just so depressing, right? All the famine and war and all that?

I have always viewed myself like one of those paper deliverers, uncovering knowledge regardless of whether it was depressing or not, and in doing so I have discovered something that might interest you. There is a common thread that ties us all to our ancestors, and if it were not for a few paper deliverers, this bit of knowledge could have been completely lost.

My last name is Lemon. However, it is also potentially Lemmon, Lemmons, Lamons, Lamon, and in one odd case, possibly Saman. In my research, Lemon can be traced back to either Scotland or England, and in either case, it certainly does not refer to the fruit. Perhaps it means “lover” or perhaps it’s derived from an Old Norse word meaning “lawman.” I favor the latter, as that would mean my ancestral homeland was in the territory of Clan Lamont, a Scottish clan at odds with the fierce Clan Campbell and neighbors with the famous MacGregors.

My point in revealing all of this is that even if those paper deliverers, the church members and the census takers could not spell to save their lives, at least they tried. They still delivered the news despite the hardships and preserved a few hints of history, and now we only need to look as far as our surname to learn something new.

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