Chess has a long history, and obviously has undergone several changes in more than a millennium of existence. During one of these times, chess pawns weren’t so ignored pieces on the board, speaking in terms of names. While other pieces get flashy names and ranks, for the casual observer, pawns are little more than slow moving cannon fodder.
It wasn’t always this way though, the in the Middle Ages, pawns used to have individual names. Apparently, some monks tried to represent pawns as citizens, or the general masses conscripted into military duty. According to the book Chess! A Fun Game to Learn and Play by Sinclair L. Wilkinson:
During the Middle Ages, monks tried to represent the pawns as citizens. The first on a2 was an agricultural worker, the second a farrier, the third a weaver, the fourth a businessman, the fifth a doctor, the sixth an innkeeper, the seventh a policeman, and the eighth a gambler.