Where does Hawarden come from?
When I was young, I linked it to my grandpa’s name. He after all had a mysterious initial H before his preferred name Ward. See the gears turning in a smart kid’s mind.
H + Ward + a few more letters = Hawarden
But I was wrong. Our farm is actually named after a house—Hawarden House. My grandfather grew up in the red brick house in Salt Lake County. He said it had 12 rooms, 2 baths, and 2 halls; and for a while at least, it was the largest house in the community.
The the name Hawarden was engraved on the front.
Originally, the name comes from Hawarden Castle in Wales. (I always wanted to live in a castle, and this is my distant connection I guess.) The Salt Lake County house was built and named by Ira Bennion in the early 1900s. Bennion was a neighbor of Frederik Nielsen—my second-great-grandfather.
Frederik came to Utah from Denmark and worked to build up a farm of his own. He acquired land piece by piece, and eventually he bought all of Bennion’s extensive property except the dry farm. The house was a crowning symbol of all Nielsen family had worked for.
In 1967, my grandfather, H. Ward Nielsen; my grandfather’s brother, Lee Nielsen; and my great-grandfather, Herman Nielsen, moved the farm to Idaho where it now remains. And it still bears the proud name Hawarden.
Many farms are named for their family heritage. Others are named after the surrounding scenery. And then there are the funny guys.
To get a sampling of some of the names out there, read “What’s in a name? These farmers know,” a Grist article by
My favorite names mentioned in the article include these:
- Say Hay Farms
- Second Cloud on the Left Farm
- Headacre Farm
- Neverdun Farm
The important thing is that the name matches the place’s purpose and legacy. And for us, there is no greater name than Hawarden.