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The Tampico Area Historical Society encompasses parts of Whiteside County and Bureau County in Illinois. Focus is on Tampico, Hume Twp., Hahnaman/Deer Grove, & Prophetstown in Whiteside County & Yorktown & Thomas in Bureau County.
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Aug 05, 2004
9:41 AM
Hi! I am from a town named Tampico. this town is located in the state of Tamaulipas in Mexico. It was a big surprise for me to see there is another town with the same name.
would it be possible that the towns were related in any way?
I was looking for the meaning of the name Tampico.


Gerardo Jimenez
85 posts
Aug 05, 2004
1:01 PM
Many people have posted this question and/or their "theories" on this question in our guest book (yes, it should have been posted here on the MESSAGE BOARD!)Go to the HOME page and scroll down to the Misc. Catagories and click on "guest book"
Denise,Family History Coordinator
Tampico Area Historical Society
Aug 09, 2004
9:04 AM
Since there are no notes of the founding meetings of our town, this is my speculation of how Tampico got it's name. The Mexican-American war of 1846-1848 was a major event in America's history. Most of the soldiers sent there were from the state militias, and the South and (now) Midwest supplied thousands of these troops. This war resulted in the loss of nearly 14,000 Americans, which then had a total population approximating that of just California today, therby making it more costly in lives than either Viet-Nam or Korea. Tampico, Mexico was a critical supply and embarcation port during the years of 1847-1848, when it was occupied by our forces. Many of our Midwestern towns were founded several decades later and the exposer of locations and battles of that previous war influenced the naming of a number of the newly formed towns. Some were named after the major battles, undoubtedly as a memorial or tribute; Cerro Gordo, Illinois, Churubusco, Indiana, Potosi, Wisconsin, Montazuma, Iowa, etc. Illinois also has a number of other towns with Mexican ties such as El Paso, San Jose, Eldorado and Sandoval Inasmuch as the founders of our town were almost entirely pioneers from New York and New England, I doubt that any were versed in the Huasteca language or culture. The original Huasteca meaning of the word tampico certainly fits for the location of Tampico in Mexican and somewhat for Tampico, Illinois, but just like there is a Paris, London, or Berlin in many of our states, the original reason for naming them in Europe had no bearing on their use here......................................................... Richard Hinton
Aug 10, 2004
8:56 AM
Your homepage profile of J.W.Glassburn states that the village merely took the name of the township: Tampico. From the 1877 history of Whiteside county by Bent-Wilson, it states that the township was named by the commissioners appointed by the Commissioner's Court in 1852 when the boundaries were defined............................R.H.
91 posts
Aug 11, 2004
12:51 PM
To R.H.
Yes, I have read that passage as well. If memory serves, it still didn't define why they named it Tampico or where the name came from. Someone has emailed me from the Tampico MX. He was in the process of moving, but when he got settled, he was going to send me a list of "soldiers" in the AM/MX war that were from Tampico, IL. That should be interesting! Your theory on the name echos his.

Thanks for your input
Denise, Tampico Area Historical Society
Aug 11, 2004
1:51 PM
It seems that we are all somewhat correct! I now think the name was used because someone who had been to that region of Mexico, probably during that war, was reminded of it by the swampy lands of eastern Whiteside County. Those commissioners however, may not have been from our Tampico since they served on a Whiteside County commission. Anyway, they should have just named the town GLASSBURN !!............................................R.H.
1 post
Sep 06, 2004
4:58 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been trying to find the connection between the two Tampicos for a very long time. None of the sites that feature Tampico using Google, Yahoo or other major search sites even listed your site. However, while I have speculated that there was a connection due to the Mexican-American War; you have have provided me with even more information. Too bad that the simple question of why the village is named "Tampico" is not featured prominently in any Tampico web site. Moreover, while I agree with your explanation; I do believe in a more poetic explanation. While it is true that the war was a tremendous tragedy for both countries, the region in and around Tampico, Mexico was quite beautiful particularly during that time period. I wouldn't be surprised if the beauty, the folklore as well as the war activities contributed to the choice for the name. After the war, several Americans stayed on in the area and they were key in developing keen USA business interests (oil) that truly benefited both countries.

Best Regards...
Richard Hinton
Sep 08, 2004
8:40 PM
As an additional point of interest; The town of TAMPICO, INDIANA states that it probably was named for the town of Tampico, Mexico. Tampico, Indiana is a town of about one thousand people in southern Indiana....
Nov 12, 2004
10:41 PM
Just for the reason of knowing, I tried looking up more about this and I thought it neat to know Ronald Reagan, was born February 6, 1911, in a flat above the local bank in Tampico, Illinois.

139 posts
Dec 15, 2004
11:44 PM
Tampico ; township and village in Whiteside County, Illinois , named from Tampico in Mexico .
Source Information:
Ancestry.com. Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. [database online] Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 2001. Original data: Henry Gannett, comp. The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States (Second Edition). circa 1910.

Denise, Tampico Area Historical Society
2 posts
Feb 26, 2005
2:39 PM
In reference to the bios for Tampico Indiana, I was raised in a town called Center, Indiana. In the "Title" from the house that I grew up in, it stated that the town had once been named Tampico. Center is a town of approx. 200, and is located about six miles east of Kokomo, Indiana. Also as I was growing up, an older neighbor had reported that the flaged draped coffin of President Lincoln, on a open rail car came through the town of Tampico,(Center) Indiana on its way to Illinois.
208 posts
May 19, 2005
5:56 AM
This msg was posted in the Guest Book. I am repositioning it here in this thread. ~ Denise

Hi My name is Isaac Rivera Im from Tampico Mexico, and I was interested in Tampico Illinois if it has something to do with Tampico Mexico, because Tampico means Place of watter dogs in Nahuatl The origen is Because there is a Lake in the city and there was a lot of Nutrias ( water dogs )please my email is isaacamericanunisys@hotmail.com

Posted by Isaac Rivera on May 17, 2005
cathy, tampico
Jul 15, 2005
5:11 PM
hey there!!! I am actually from Tampico, Indiana. It is a town, actually a village, of less than 100 people. It is truly God's Country and a great farming community. The big event of the year is the volunteer fire department's Tractor Pull and Fish Fry .What a great event--- there are thousands of people who show up in this tiny community. Just wanted to let people know that there is actually a Tampico, Indiana, and it doe NOT have a thousand residents!!!
1 post
May 29, 2008
9:50 AM
Hi My name is Isaac Rivera Im from Tampico Mexico the word tampico means Lugar de perros o laguna de perros in the Nahuatl Lenguage means lake of dogs In Tampico Mexico there is a lake call the carpenter lagoon and there used to be a lat of beebers and the huastecan indians call it tampico, en Nahuatl significa lugar de nutrias en tampico hay una laguna llamada laguna del carpintero y antiguamente habia muchas nutras en la laguna y los indigenas le llamaron Tampicoatl de alli el nombre de tampico
650 posts
Jan 28, 2011
4:16 PM

About the meaning of the word Tampico... a small contribution. Tampico is a Mexican native word, from a tribe that still exist called The Huastecs, Huaxtecs or Huastecos. This tribe were part of the MesoAmerican cultures. From archaeological remains, they are thought to date back to approximately the 10th century BC, although their most productive period of civilization is usually considered to be the Post-Classic era between the fall of Teotihuacan and the rise of the Aztec Empire. The huastecs live now in 3 mexican states.. Tamaulipas (which shares borders with the state of Texas in the north), San Luis Potosi, and the state of Veracruz. Their borders never extended beyond these three territories.

The word Tampico is made of two roots from the Huastec language.. Tam ... which means place Pico .... which means Otter (the shaggy mammal that lives in rivers or seas). Tampico Mexico is a city founded before spaniards arrived to Mexico more than 5 centuries ago, and got its name from this culture that lived there because there was a'lot of otters in that land, nowadays otters in Tampico Mexico are under extintion.

Arround the area of Tampico Mexico, there are other small cities, towns with the prefix Tam.. like Tamasopo, Tamiun, Tamazunchale, Tamalin, etc.. again, words that derived from the huastec. As an example , Tam was for the huastecs as land for british people (England or the land of the Anglos, Portland, Maryland, or the land of the queen Mary, etc.).

I do not know how does the word Tampico reached Illinois, in this forum someone wrote that came from veterans from the war, but now the questions rise.. were those mexican veterans from Tampico Mexico?? Antropoligical, and culturaly speaking huastecs did not have any similarity to the language that was spoken by the tribes of Illinois, or the states of the great lakes, therefore I am more prone to think that Tampico Illinois derived from the Huastec name and possibly from immigrants that lived in Tampico Mexico.
Emile Cioran on February 13, 2004

For all that have asked, I ran across this explanation on the "meaning" of Tampico."Tampico's name is derived from a combination of Huasteca words - "tam" meaning place and "piko" meaning "water dogs" or "nutrias" which teemed in the delta waters."The Huasteca Region is a broad, flat plain east of the Sierra Madre Mountains. It is located in the northeastern corner of modern Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico along the east coastConsidering Tampico was almost all swampland at one time, this makes sense. Denise
Denise on June 25, 2004

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TAMPICO AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY - MUSEUM - FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY/RESEARCH CENTER  119 Main St., P. O. Box 154,  Tampico, IL  61283   www.tampicohistoricalsociety.com   tampicohistoricalsociety@gmail.com  President Joan Johnson, 815-438-7581 or garyjoan@thewisp.net  Family History Coordinator, Denise McLoughlin 815-718-3617. We are an all-volunteer organization so your donations are always appreciated!  Sign up to receive our e-newsletter. Thank you!  Visit us on FACEBOOK, too.