Paris, Tightwad, Peculiar, Neosho, Gasconade, Hannibal, Diamond, Quarantine, Zif, and Zig. These are just a few of the names Margot Ford McMillen covers in her lively book on the history of place names in Missouri. The origins behind the names range from humorous to descriptive:
Tightwad, Missouri, is said to have been named after a store owner who cheated a mailman out of his rightful watermelon to make an extra fifty cents. Plad, Missouri, was supposed to be named "Glad," but the post office printed the name wrong, and it was too much trouble to get it changed. Some place names describe a location, such as Big Spring or Flat River. Other names show the influence of immigrants to the state, like Hermann, which is a German name, or the Maries River, which was derived from the French. Many places are named for people or wildlife found nearby, while others are backed up by legend or simply picked out of thin air.