The naming of a mountain in Warrensburg to honor one of Thurman's founders was officially sanctioned by the U.S. government — following some international attention over a deleted apostrophe.
After a years-long effort that prompted a bit of controversy and some international attention, a mountain peak in Warrensburg has been officially named after James Cameron, an original settler and founder of the town of Thurman.
The highest summit on Bald Mountain was named “Jimmys Peak” by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names at their June 13 meeting. Bald Mountain is the southernmost of a trio of mountains known as the “Three Sisters.”
The middle hill has been officially named Willard Mountain, and the northern summit remains as Pine Mountain, Thurman town Supervisor Evelyn Wood said July 1.
Several years ago, Susan Jennings of Thurman, a descendant of James Cameron, launched the process to have a mountain named after him — but she had targeted the middle of the three summits for the Jimmy’s Peak moniker in accordance with popular usage. But Lilly Cameron of Thurman, wife of James’ descendant Myron Cameron, later submitted evidence that Bald Mountain was referred to as Jimmy’s Peak during the very beginning of the 20th century, and the U.S. agency decided to follow her reasoning — and the mountain will bear both designations, Wood said.
James Cameron was already memorialized on a historical sign along Rte. 418 as a pioneer, woodsman, farmer and justice of the peace who settled in the valley in 1773.
The issue of the Jimmy’s Peak gained international attention this May in the Wall Street Journal. WSJ reporter Barry Newman focused on Thurman when he examined the issue of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names’ policy of deleting apostrophes when designating locations and natural features — a practice that has distressed grammatists since it was enacted 113 years ago. The issue involving Jimmy’s Peak was aired on television and published in print media from San Jose to Canada and throughout Europe. Within days, the article, describing the Thurman apostrophe affair, was mentioned on about 500,000 web pages.
The official name has no apostrophe, according to the board decision. Only a few high-profile geographic features in the U.S. sport apostrophes, like Martha’s Vineyard, Newman noted in his article.
Wood said she was happy for the summit’s new designation, as it brought formal recognition to James Cameron.
“It’s great that the town’s history now receives recognition like this,” she said, noting that although the peak is situated in Warrensburg, it was designated as within the borders of Thurman up until 200 years ago when Warrensburg was carved out of Thurman territory.
Lilly Cameron said she was pleased her campaign was successful.
“I’m very happy with the results,” she said. Jordan couldn’t be reached the afternoon of July 1.
Wood said she was also pleased with the international attention Thurman has received, although she had voiced support for the use of apostrophes.
Since the Wall Street Journal article was published, she has received several emails from distant destinations agreeing with her on apostrophes, citing the value of grammar and punctuation in society.
Wood, who has earned a college degree in English, had decried the U.S. agency’s policy to delete apostrophes in naming geographic features, as doing so obscures the difference between plural and possessive in such references.