"If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" Will Rogers

Dear 100 Hour Board,

There’s a lot of people with the surname Shumway here at BYU and in Utah in general. Is there some huge polygamist cult from the 1860s that was named Shumway? Or is there some other reason it’s such a common name?

Mike Shumway Lee, US Senate
Talon Shumway
Clayson Shumway


Dear The Way of Shums,

This is something I'd been wondering about lately, because I'm from Illinois and I have an acquaintance who has the last name Shumway. I thought it was a really uncommon name, but then I met/heard of a bunch of people with the last name Shumway and for a little bit I thought they were all this acquaintance of mine. Then I realized it's a really common name here.

It doesn't look like there was any kind of polygamist cult, it just looks like a classic case of a Mormon colonizer who started a town, and then has a lot of descendants. This is just like the last name Flake, which is common because of William Flake, who settled Snowflake, Arizona. (He settled it with Erastus Snow and they combined their last names!) 

Here's the town of Shumway, Arizona, and here's some geneaological information about Charles Shumway, the man that settled the town. To be fair, it's not currently even a town, but it's proof that he was a settler of Utah. He crossed the plains and had a total of 10 sons that married, so he had a lot of descendants right off the bat.

So no cult, just looks like a Mormon colonizer.

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave