Friday, August 06, 2004

Dees blog.

How to appreciate this thing called the Internet, only about a decade old as a mass phenomenon? Yesterday I was poking around when I came to the web pages of the U.S. Geological Survey, National Mapping Information. Within the site is a search function, and in a moment of self-absorption, I set it to search for “Dees.”

My odd first name is my father’s mother’s father’s surname, as well as my father’s brother’s middle name, and the one he went by. A resident in Mississippi in the 19th century, my great-grandfather is variously known as A. Dees or Alexander Dees. Some of his ancestors probably lived near the River Dee in Scotland, so I can claim ancestors from both sides of Hadrian’s Wall. Other people have this as a last name, most famously Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center and (ugh) Rick Dees, host of a moronic radio (and TV?) show, and the artist that gave the world “Disco Duck” in 1976.

My search uncovered 39 hits for “Dees” as a place name. Well, over 30, since a handful were the variant “Deese” and one or two were “Deeson,” which I can hardly count. Still that’s a respectable total. It included two towns, or “populated places,” to use USGS parlance: Dees, Alabama; and Dees, Illinois, (!) which is a hamlet in Cumberland County, near the burg of Effingham, which puts it in the south-central part of the state, a little far for a casual drive. There’s also Dees Landing, Mississippi, and Dees Town, Missouri, listed as populated places.

There are also a number of Dees Cemeteries, as well Dees Peak in California, some kind of mountain. Also: Dees Flat, Dees Spring and Dees Well, all in New Mexico (some distant cousin may be responsible for naming them). Dees Island in Maine sounds quite remote, as does the Dees Brothers Dam in Montana, but for a name with faraway appeal, my favorite on the list is the Dees Antimony Mine at 39°57’44’’N, 115°33’23’’W in White Pine County, Nevada.


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