What's in a name?

11 Baby Names Inspired By The Old West

The Wild West has a ton of unique, beautiful, and badass baby names for kids today.

Originally Published: 
A baby sitting on a horse.
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Choosing a baby name for your new child is one of the first major decisions you’ll make for them. And whether you want to name your child after a cowboy, outlaw, pioneer, or sheriff, the Wild West has some of the best inspiration for badass baby names you can find. If you look into the past rather than to Yellowstone for baby name inspiration, you’ll find a bunch of names inspired by the Old West that make great, unique names for kids today. Here are our favorites.

Old Western Baby Names For Both Boys And Girls

Consider these baby names that straddle the split rail fence:

Charley: Think gender neutral baby names are new? Don’t tell that to the ghost of Charley Parkhurst. With her neutral name, she kept her gender secret for decades while driving some of the most brutally dangerous stagecoach lines of the West for Welles Fargo, which your little Charley will only ever know as a bank (and hopefully not rob).

Wilder: From the prairie clan that had the little house. These were some tough, resilient folks, which will hopefully rub off on your kid.

Winchester: This is the tool that “won” the West (or lost it, depending on your perspective). It’s a powerful name with a ton of gravitas and the antithesis of all the boys and girls being named Arrow.

Old West Girl Names

The men of the Old West have a tendency to get all of the ink, which really blows because there were a lot of badass women riding the range. More than that, they were far tougher than their names might suggest.

Pearl: Consider Pearl Hart, a famous bank robber who was caught but refused to be tried under a system “her sex had no hand in making,” and was eventually released. Or Pearl De Vere, who ran the most expensive, cutting-edge brothel in the West.

Etta: Etta Hart, a school teacher-turned-outlaw who joined up with Butch, Sundance, and the Wild Bunch, inspires this lovely name. She rode with them before they fled to Bolivia. Legend says she stuck around the States and stole cattle.

Willa: For those of a more literary bent, think about Willa Cather. She was a prolific novelist early in the 1900s who wrote primarily of pioneer life. Best known for her book O Pioneers, she won a Pulitzer Prize for literature in the 1920s.

Colestah: A member of the Yakima Native American tribe, Colestah rode into the Battle of Four Lakes in 1858 with a stone club and fought beside her chieftain husband. When he was injured by being pinned by a fallen tree after a howitzer blast, the medicine woman, psychic, and all-around badass carried him out of the battle and nursed him back to health.

Old West Boy Names

Not all of the men of the Old West were outlaws, but they sure loved making themselves a household name. Why not use some in your household?

Doc: This name works on several levels. It can either be an homage to Doc Holliday, who was a famous gambler, gunslinger and dentist (?), or simply aspirational in terms of the kid’s future career. Either way, there is surely a reason to corral your partner into agreement.

Commodore: The storied Arizona sheriff Commodore Perry Owens took care of some very bad men in his first years as a lawman. He may not be as well know as some others, but his legend is worth reading. Also, “Commodore?” That was his actual first name.

Elfego: A rare Germanic name, meaning “spirit of the air,” it links to Elfego Baca, a lawman, lawyer, and gunslinger. Elfego notably survived a 33-hour siege in San Francisco where he and his attackers exchanged 1,000 rounds.

Jedediah: This is the name for a survivor considering it hung on Jedediah Smith, who was a trapper and frontiersman who had a friend sew back on his scalp after a bear attack. Several nature preserves and a couple of rivers bear his name. Why not your kid too?

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