What's the W in George W Tope stand for?
There has been lots of discussion as to what exactly the "W" in George's name stands for, it has been hotly contested for a while between the names George William and George Washington. Amazingly enough George seems to have worked hard to keep it secret as nowhere have I been able to find where he's written it out. He's always George W, Geo W, or simply G.W. Tope. But genealogists wanna know. So I've been doing lots of sleuthing over the years and here's what I've concluded. George W Tope is....
George William Tope
Okay, so you've seen his obituary that reads: "In Memoriam. George Washington Tope was born in Jefferson county, O., July 14, 1818, and died at his home in Walnut township, Gallia county, Ohio, August 4th, 1898... April 16, 1840, in Carrol county, he was united in marriage to Elizabeth Donaldson..." Gallipolis Journal, Aug 17, 1898, written by W. H. Tope, believed to be George's grandson the Rev. William Henderson Tope.
However, William's own brother Harry Washington Tope was the one who filled out my great grandfather's death certificate. And on it he listed William George Tope's father as George William Tope.
The only other document that I've been able to come up with showing George W's middle name is a family history written by Albert Tope, yep you guessed it, another grandson. In the family history Albert wrote: "This George William Tope was involved in the Civil War in the defence of the Seige of Cincinnati." page 8 -1- History of the Tope Family In America by Albert E. Tope -- Gallipolis, Ohio.
During the numerous Tope Reunions we've held in Gallia County over the years, the story had always been that my great grandfather William Geo. Tope was named after his father "George William" and grandfather "William Donaldson." While officially the tradition of his family naming their first born boys George was broken with William G, unofficially William was often called George and even George W. throughout his life.