Looking Back: Everyone knew everyone’s name

MEEKER — Tracing a name back to the early days of our town isn’t difficult, as there are still quite a few of the descendants of the pioneers living here.
Some of names listed on the rock in front of the courthouse can be linked to the fourth generations of their families, although the surnames may have changed. Quite a few of the familiar names around Meeker have been associated with the White River Valley for more than 30 years. It turned out to be just the place for which most of the early settlers were searching: a place to put down roots; a place to raise a family; a place to call home.
Becoming acquainted with many of the members of the extended “first families” isn’t difficult here, although newcomers still complain about discovering “who is related to who” after an unpleasant experience of some sort. Finding out such surprises as one’s best friend’s great-uncle is the grouchy repairman, or the landlord’s daughter’s boyfriend is the mechanic who messed up your car’s timing belt.
If you are not a Meeker native, you become aware quickly that everyone is related in some way or another.
Names of the original 19th century residents stay familiar by being mentioned in our 21st century conversations, as looking back at local history intrigues quite a few of the local residents. Some of the newer town residents who have moved here bearing a familiar last name report that they seem to be accepted into the community a little more easily. I haven’t had anyone report that a familiar last name provoked a negative response, but it may have happened.
When I met someone for the first time, “What’s your name?” wasn’t the question I was asked most often. “Who are your people?” seemed to be the number one inquiry with the old-timers, with “Where do your people come from?” running a close second. Placing a name (even with an unfamiliar face) continues to be a favorite pastime. You know you’ve lived here too long (or gotten too old) when meeting someone for the first time, you blurt out, “Whose daughter or granddaughter are you?”