Tyler Too

What’s In A Name?

By Gus Tyler

  • Print
  • Share Share

The city of Boston was one of the pivotal players in early American history. A popular rhyme declared: “Here’s to the city of Boston, the land of the bean and the cod, where the Lowells speak only with Cabots and the Cabots speak only with God.”

One of Boston’s boasts is Filene’s, a world famous retail outlet.. A number of years ago, the sons of the owner of Filene’s were distinguished scholars with a strong liberal bent. I was then editing the Socialist Call. I made inquiry of friends as to the unusual name of the family. A childhood friend of mine who was in the apparel trades and was doing business with Filene’s informed me that the family name of the store’s owners was Katz.

So just as Samuel Clemens took on the nom de plume of Mark Twain so did the Katz family translate Katz into feline with a twist in the vowels to hide any identification with Katz.

In Boston, there was a Jewish tailor who ran a store to repair men’s clothing. His name was Kabotnick. He applied for a legal change of name to Cabot, The request was granted. A quick wit rewrote the historic lines about Boston. “Here’s to the city of Boston, the land of the bean and the cod, where the Lowells speak only with Cabots and the Cabots speak Yiddish, by God.”

By now I became fascinated with Boston’s heritage and decided to track down the origin of the Cabots. I was well rewarded. The Cabots are descendants of an Italian explorer named Giovanni Caboto.

My name “Gus Tyler” was originally a pen name of Augustus Tilove who fell in love with Wat Tyler, the leader of the English peasant uprising of 1382.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yiddishkeit

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
Melinda Sun. Aug 5, 2007

The whole Kabot story was written up in a 1997 issue of Harvard Magazine. The Kabotchnik in question was my grandfather's brother, Harry, who lived in Philadelphia (originally from Scranton) and he petitioned the courts for a name change to "Kabot". It was challenged by the Boston Cabots but the judge ruled in favor of Uncle Harry, saying that while he didn't see anything wrong with the name "Kabotchnik" he'd be honored to have such a fine man take his own name. It's worth looking up the article - it has a lot of detail.




Find us on Facebook!
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.