County with (Another) State’s Name

On October 24, 2010 · 10 Comments

It makes great intuitive sense for a state to include a component county with the same name. Imagine living in Oklahoma City. Not only do the residents live in a city named Oklahoma, they also live in a county and a state named Oklahoma. That’s not imaginative, in fact it’s rather boring. Ditto for Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, New York, and Utah. They all contain a county with the same name. Well, maybe I’ll grant an exception for for New York. The county named New York is coterminous with Manhattan, a place that’s far from boring. Hawaii County, the Big Island, might be another exception.

Barring those, I’m much more interested in counties that bear the names of different states. I’ve compiled a quick list of examples. It’s possible that I missed a few but this should come fairly close:

  • Colorado County – Texas
  • Delaware County – Indiana; Iowa; New York; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania
  • Indiana County – Pennsylvania
  • Iowa County – Wisconsin
  • Mississippi County – Arkansas; Missouri
  • Nevada County – Arkansas; California
  • Ohio County – Indiana; Kentucky; West Virginia
  • Oregon County – Missouri
  • Texas County – Missouri; Oklahoma
  • Wyoming County – New York; Pennsylvania; West Virginia
  • Washington County- Alabama; Arkansas; Colorado; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Wisconsin

A few of them actually do tie back to the outlying state, often coinciding with the approximate time a territory transitioned to a state as a commemoration of the event. That’s not the case generally. The state and county names often share a common derivation, though. Some of them have roots in rivers (Colorado, Ohio, Mississippi), mountains (Sierra Nevada), Native American tribes (Delaware, Iowa) or the first president of the United States (all those places named after George Washington).

I also developed a lits of "Also Ran" counties for states starting with New or some directional designation.

  • Hampshire County – Massachusetts; West Virginia
  • Jersey County – Illinois
  • York County – Maine; Nebraska; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Virginia
  • Dakota County – Minnesota; Nebraska;

Each county has its own story. I selected a few that I enjoyed so I could share them with you.


Delaware Counties



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Part of Pennsylvania’s Delaware County shares a border with the Twelve Mile Circle. I have to mention that!

The string of Delaware Counties outlines the sad tale of poor treatment suffered by Native Americans in microcosm. English settlers imposed a name upon them, figuring somehow they should be tied to Lord De La Warr the governor of colonial Jamestown for perpetuity. It certainly didn’t reflect what they called themselves, the Lenni Lenape or "true people." The Lenape peoples began as an affiliation of culturally and linguistically related bands in present-day New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, southeastern New York and much of Delaware. The Delaware Counties in Pennsylvania, New York and of course the entire State of Delaware serve as reminders of their ancient, pre-Columbian homeland.

English colonial settlement, various treaties of dubious validity and pressure from the Iroquois tribe pushed the Lenape westward and into the Ohio River valley, now marked by Delaware County in Ohio. The push continued onward during the early, formative years of the United States, resulting in Delaware Counties in Indiana and Iowa. One band of Lenape moved north into Ontario. Those remaining in the eastern U.S. continued west towards present day Kansas City. Here they were forced down into Oklahoma by the 1860’s where there is also a Delaware County.

Bartlesville, home of the Delaware Tribe of Indians is a little to the west of Delaware Co., Oklahoma. Another group, the Delaware Nation, is a bit further towards the southwest in Anadarko.

It’s not too difficult to follow a trail of virtual breadcrumbs between the various Delaware Counties to discern a pattern: a slow-motion forced migration that took place over a couple of hundred years.


Iowa County, Wisconsin



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Iowa County, Wisconsin has an unusual symmetry within this state-named theme. That’s because it takes the theme even one step further with a township called Wyoming. I took a closer look at the map and tried my darnedest to find another name of a state somewhere within Wyoming Twp., but the closest I could get was the Old Helena Cemetery. That’s not a state of course, but Helena is the capital of Montana!

I’m sure that renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright located his famous summer home, Taliesin, within this geo-oddity simply so he could tell everyone he lived in Wyoming Twp., Iowa Co., State of Wisconsin. Or maybe that would be something only I would do.


Ohio County, Kentucky



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Ohio County, Kentucky is named after the Ohio River, but what I love about this one is that it doesn’t actually touch the Ohio River! The reason is rather mundane after examining the situation a little more closely. Ohio County did touch the river at a time before it was split into smaller counties, with the Ohio moniker remaining with a portion that became landlocked.

I also enjoyed finding a community called Dogwalk and a summit called Whoopee Hill here.


Nevada County, Arkansas



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This one is particularly odd, which means I rather enjoy it. Regular reader Scott Schrantz will hopefully find this example somewhat amusing too. Nevada Co., Arkansas is indeed named after the state of Nevada. The county in Arkansas was formed just a few years after Nevada became a state. People noticed a similarity in the shape — if the county is viewed upside down! Go ahead. Turn your computer screen around, and notice that indeed it does bear a passing resemblance to the western state.

The best I can tell, Scott’s Arkansas hometown doppelgänger would be the tiny town of Reader right about here.

On October 24, 2010 · 10 Comments

10 Responses to “County with (Another) State’s Name”

  1. Pfly says:

    Some time ago it dawned on me that Delaware County, Indiana, was named for the Delaware Indians. The giveaway clue was that the county seat is Muncie, another name for the Delaware (Munsee).

  2. James D says:

    I suppose the strange 19th-century craze for the poem Gertrude of Wyoming has been told too many times. Even so, it’s a good story. I’m actually surprised there are not more Wyoming Counties. But I didn’t know about that Wyoming Township — that made me smile!

  3. Joe says:

    Great post and one that could lead to several different follow-ups, depending on how common they are. The one that came to mind for is looking at how many of these counties incorporate city names (or other feature names) from the state that also bears their name. For example, the county seat of Texas County, Missouri is Houston. Texas County is also the largest county in the state while Texas is of course the largest state in the “lower 48.” Might take a bit of leg work and/or contributions to get a somewhat definitive list, but would be interesting to see how many have these additional correlations.

    • I love it when topics cascade and flow from each other. Indeed – many different followups would be possible. I’d also append Pfly’s Muncie, Indiana observation to this and expand the topic to cover counties named after the Native Nations.

  4. Tom Robinson says:

    I once compiled a list of U.S. cities or towns that are also the names of states or provinces. (I didn’t include same state examples like New York, New York.0 The two best known towns on the list are named after provincesHerewith:

    Alabama, New York
    California, Kentucky
    California, Missouri
    Carolina, Alabama
    Carolina, Puerto Rico
    Dakota, Illinois
    Dakota, Minnesota
    Dakota, Wisconsin
    Delaware, Iowa
    Delaware, Ohio
    Delaware, Oklahoma
    Florida, Missouri
    Florida, New York
    Florida, Ohio
    Iowa, Louisiana
    Kansas, Alabama
    Kansas, Illinois
    Kansas, Oklahoma
    Louisiana, Missouri
    Nevada, Iowa
    Nevada, Missouri
    Nevada, Ohio
    Nevada, Texas
    Ohio, Illinois
    Ohio, New York
    Oklahoma, Pennsylvania
    Oregon, Illinois
    Oregon, Missouri
    Oregon, Ohio
    Oregon, Wisconsin
    Tennessee, Illinois
    Vermont, Illinois
    Virginia, Illinois
    Virginia, Minnesota
    Virginia, Nebraska
    Washington, Arkansas
    Washington, Georgia
    Washington, Illinois
    Washington, Iowa
    Washington, Kansas
    Washington, Kentucky
    Washington, Louisiana
    Washington, Missouri
    Washington, Nebraska
    Washington, North Carolina
    Washington, Ohio
    Washington, Oklahoma
    Washington, Pennsylvania
    Washington, Utah
    Washington, Virginia
    Wyoming, Delaware
    Wyoming, Illinois
    Wyoming, Iowa
    Wyoming, Michigan
    Wyoming, Minnesota
    Wyoming, New York
    Wyoming, Ohio

    Alberta, Minnesota
    Alberta, Virginia
    New Brunswick, New Jersey
    Ontario, California
    Ontario, New York
    Ontario, Oregon
    Ontario, Wisconsin
    Yukon, Oklahoma

    • Joe says:

      I love this list and think it would be a great post. Depending on how strict you are with your rules, you can also add Kansas (City), Missouri and Maryland (Heights), Missouri. A quick web search also unveiled California, PA; Virginia (City), NV; Texas, NY; Colorado (City), AZ; Maryland, NY;

      Many of these came from this forum: http://www.lighthousekeepers.com/forums/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=18;t=000903 but I barely scratched the surface so far. Will probably want to verify all of these are legit too.

      • Cape May says:

        Also, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Wyoming County, Pennsylvania – the namesake for every other Wyoming in the nation. It’s an old Lenni Lenape name.

        Ohio, NY (only appears on Google Maps – doesn’t seem to be a CDP)
        Texas, PA (ditto)

    • Cape May says:

      Don’t forget Indiana, Pennsylvania.

      Weirdly, Pennsylvania has two state universities that could easily be mistaken to be located in other states – Indiana University of Pennsylvania (in Indiana, PA) and California University of Pennsylvania (in… yep, California, PA).

  5. Ariel says:

    Given that he spent more of the Revolutionary War in New Jersey than any other state, it is only appropriate that New Jersey has six municipalities named for George Washington (and thus sharing the same name as the State of Washington). Five of these are named Washington Township (one each in Gloucester, Morris, Bergen, Warren and Burlington Counties) and one is Washington Borough (in Warren County). New Jersey also has a Delaware Township in Hunterdon County and the Town of West New York in Hudson County.

  6. Tom Robinson says:

    To be honest, Joe, I can’t remember the complete criteria I used for developing the list I posted. I know one criterion was that the name had to be JUST the state, so Kansas *City*, Missouri, didn’t count. Nor did Washington Depot or Wyoming Valley, etc. I think another criteria was that it had to be a town or city, but Wyoming is only a borough in Pennsylvania, so I didn’t count it. A third criteria, I think, was that it had to have a post office. I’m not insisting on that criteria — I’m just telling you what limits I put on it. There is definitely a longer list when we count ghost towns and small settlements.

    As well, I never found an equivalent Canadian resource to see if there’s, say, a Texas, Alberta, or whatever.

    Ariel, that’s pretty cool about how many places are named after Washington in New Jersey.

    Posting from Seattle, there’s a special irony in how Washington State got its name. When the state of Oregon was carved out of the larger Oregon Territory, the first suggested name was Columbia, named after the river that drained much of the territory. But Congress thought that would be confused with the District of Columbia, so they named it Washington!

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