Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change O’Hearn Creek to Ahern Creek
Sweet Grass County, Montana

Status = Denied

Description stream, 5.8 miles long, Heads in the Lewis and Clark National Forest on the East slopes of the Crazy Mountains at 46°12’31”N, 110°16’43”W, flows East to enter American Fork; named for Thomas Ahern, who homesteaded on land along the stream
Location 46°13’00”N, 110°10’15”W
PLSS Location Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9, Township 5N, Range 12E
Proposal name change to recognize correct family name
Proponent Rachael Spangelo; Twodot, MT
Not O’Hearn Creek
Administrative area Lewis and Clark National Forest
Previous BGN Action O’Hearn Creek (BGN 1975)
See also
GNIS ID 788369
Local Usage
Published O’Hearn Creek (USGS 1972; USFS 1961; Sweet Grass County highway map 1965)
This proposal is to change the name of O’Hearn Creek, a 5.8-mile-long stream in Sweet Grass County, to Ahern Creek. The stream heads on the eastern slope of the Crazy Mountains, within the Lewis and Clark National Forest, and flows onto private land where it enters the American Fork. The existing name was the subject of a 1975 BGN decision, following a request by the U.S. Geological Survey to correct the application of the name. There was a discrepancy between USGS maps, which agreed with the Sweet Grass County highway map, and the U.S. Forest Service map. There was no mention in 1975 file of any issue with the spelling of the name; the application was verified by a Forest Service district ranger and three local ranchers.

The proponent of the change believes the name should be corrected to recognize the name of the family that settled in the area. She provided a copy of a check that was written in 1913 to Thomas Ahern for the purchase of the family’s land. An online search of genealogical records indicates that Thomas and Annie Ahern lived in the small community of Hurst, where they operated a stage coach “stopping ranch” and a post office; Hurst was located approximately eight miles from O’Hearn Creek. Thomas Ahern died in Sweet Grass County in 1890. An article in the Big Pioneer Times in 1945 notes that the Aherns settled in the vicinity of American Fork “on what was later known as Ahern Creek”; the article states also that they are buried in a cemetery at the head of the stream.

Comments Received by the Montana Geographic Names Advisor
Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Oppose (Thursday, January 28, 2016)

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