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Thread: New word

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Weaver View Post
    I never heard anyone born after 1920 use this gem, except me.
    I've always heard it in my family and use it myself as "around Conaway's barn." Did an internet search to see how common that version of the phrase is, and discovered I'm the only person who ever put it online before now with that exact spelling, according to Google. Whoa!

    Apparently "around Robin Hood's barn" is far more common, and a legitimate saying back before the Civil War. The only other version I can find online, though it's hard to search for, is Robinson's or Jack Robinson's barn, though I've personally only heard that in the expression "before you can say Jack Robinson."

    Now I'm curious if there's a different spelling or pronunciation of my family's version that's more common or where it came from. The oldest family member I picked it up from was my grandmother, born 1894 in West Virginia.

    Hank Trent
    hanktrent@gmail.com

  2. #12
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    I lived in a small Italian community in Trenton and grew up eating "Tomato Pie" (their term for pizza). I have yet to meet anyone outside of Trenton who is familiar with that term.

  3. #13

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    Hank: Are you sure you don't hie from Bradford County, Pennsylvania? It really is exciting to hear someone else with experience of that expression! We're clearly citing regional variations of the same expression. I wonder if there were Conaways in your family's area, and that altered the saying. Perhaps "beyond Robinson's barn" is an even older version. (Although the rules of linguistic research usually prefer the harder or less logical saying as older rather the easier, which makes "Robin Hood's barn" more likely to be authentic.)
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Weaver View Post
    Hank: Are you sure you don't hie from Bradford County, Pennsylvania? It really is exciting to hear someone else with experience of that expression!
    The Robin Hood/Robinson version, which I'd never heard before, doesn't seem to be regional at all. At the link in my post, it seems to be just as well known--or not well known--in England as the US.

    Hank Trent
    hanktrent@gmail.com

  5. #15

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    And old! 1797 seems to be the first print appearance! Although that area isn't usually though of as Appalachia (sp?), it does share some of the settlement patterns. There are vestiges of English speech, pronounciations and expressions, that jumped the pond, then moved into the mountains and became frozen into the regional language. I wonder if that happened in this instance.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  6. #16
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    "Shoddy" is the only word that I can recall with Civil War roots. I was surprised years ago to learn that Shoddy (meaning poor quality) came from cheap cloth used for soldier's uniforms. I tried to look the word up in my copy of "Dictionary of Word Origins" but there was no listing. I did discover that there was a General Henry Shrapnel (British Artillery Officer (1761-1842) who developed an exploding shell that sent bullets flying in all directions (to be first used in the Peninsular War).

    In the world of Google look-ups I would not have found this ancillary piece of history. Thank God for real books - a commodity that is rapidly going out of style.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcleary171 View Post
    "Shoddy" is the only word that I can recall with Civil War roots.
    It's actually older than the Civil War, but the war certainly popularized it. For example, from England, 1832: "Shoddy-grinders (a provincial term) are persons employed in certain districts of the West Riding of Yorkshire, as that of Batley and Dewsbury, in picking and tearing woollen rags, and afterwards manufacturing them, with the addition of new wool or worsted, into yarn. This is taken from the mill, and woven at the houses of the workmen into a course cloth or dugget." (p. 68 ) "Mr. Brearey, of Dewsbury, has favoured me with a list of 17 shoddy makers, whom he examined or professionaly attended..."

    Hank Trent
    hanktrent@gmail.com

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcleary171 View Post
    I lived in a small Italian community in Trenton and grew up eating "Tomato Pie" (their term for pizza). I have yet to meet anyone outside of Trenton who is familiar with that term.
    When did Italians in America start making pizza? I thought the first pizza was "margharita" (fresh mozzarella, tomato slices and basil, named to honor Princess Marghareta) which was invented in the 1870s. I've seen old cookbooks from the late 1940s/ early 1950s that say something like "Our boys brought home a taste for something called pizza. Here's how to make and eat it." (I also have a friend from Long Island who always referred to a whole pizza as a "pie."
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  9. #19
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    Read the following (about "shoddy" wool cloth) from the Van Wyke commission's investigation into
    US government contractor fraud. This is a portion of the testimony given by Col GH Crosman of the
    Philadelphia Depot in 1862:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Q. Did you make an investigation, also, in regard to manufactured goods?

    A. Yes, sir; the same result was found upon inspection of the made-up clothing, and I am now identifying,
    as far as possible to do so, the owners (makers) of those goods.

    Q. Is there any difficulty in making such identification?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. What is the difficulty?

    A. In the early stages of this matter, and when goods were coming in here rapidly… having no marks
    upon them, it has been difficult if not impossible to trace them to the owners. Wherever I have been able
    to trace them to the contractors (and that is the order now to all the inspectors and clerks employed in the
    arsenal), I have thrown them back upon their hands, and refuse to pay for them. The contractors, however,
    always had the privilege of replacing them with good, sound goods.

    Q. Can you furnish the committee with a statement of the amount of this irregular clothing on hand now,
    and which are not adapted for army use?

    A. I can in a few days.

    Q. Has there been any recent examination of your department in regard to its concerns? If so, state what it
    has been.

    A. There has been a very general and particular examination into the operation of the (Schuylkill) arsenal,
    and of the manner in which business is conducted here. This was done by Messrs. Covode and Odell, of
    the House of Representatives, who were here for two or three days. they went through the arsenal with me,
    and examined the manner in which business was conducted, and witnessed themselves the incompetency
    of the chief inspector, Mr. Kerne, who condemned, just before they arrived, a lot of blankets which were
    perfectly good, and, within the same hour, passed another lot of blankets which were good for nothing.
    They saw the blankets themselves immediately after, and heard the facts related, which occurred within
    an hour.

    Q. What were the circumstances connected with the acceptance and rejection of these blankets?

    A. It happened as these two gentlemen and myself were leaving the arsenal, two loads of blankets drove
    into the yard. As I had been showing them everything in the arsenal, I called out to the drayman and told
    him to bring me one of those blankets. He did so, and I handed it to Messrs. Covode and Odell, who
    pronounced it immediately to be a shoddy blanket, as I did myself. Mr. Covode pulled out of it a piece of
    an old nightcap, which had happened to escape being chopped up fine. It was an inch and a half long. We
    called Kerne up, the very inspector that had passed them as good, and I questioned him in the presence of
    these two gentlemen. I asked him if he had passed those blankets as fulfilling the army requirement. He
    said he had. “What is the matter with them”, he asked. “This is the matter with them” said Mr. Covode,
    as he put his finger right through the blanket.

    Q. Did the inspector look at all of them?

    A. No, sir. We then sent for an armful of them and examined them. They were all shoddy blankets.I then
    went with those two gentlemen to the place where blankets were inspected. On arriving there we saw
    many other blankets of the same description, which Kerne had passed as good, and which he himself,
    being present, admitted that he had passed as good. We then saw a large pile of blankets, I do not know
    how many hundreds, which he had rejected and which were being sent away. These two gentlemen, my
    two inspectors and myself examined them, and we all five pronounced them good blankets, so far as we
    could judge. We called Kerne up and inquired why he had rejected them. He admitted that he had
    rejected them. I asked him to point out the defects. He could not, and did not do it, but only said that he
    did not like them. We all questioned him in various ways, and the only answer we could get was that he
    did not like them.

    Q. How do you account for this action of Inspector Kerne?

    A. By his utter incompetency. I do not presume to impugn his integrity, for I had no information which
    would justify my doing so, but from his manner, and the character he sustained here, I was forced to
    believe he was entirely incompetent for his position.

    Q. By whom was he appointed?

    A. By the then Secretary of War, Mr. Cameron.

    Q. Is Mr. Kerne still in that position?

    A. No, sir; I dismissed him instantly. I had a written letter of discharge two days before those gentlemen
    arrived here, but at the request of his friends, one or two of the most prominent men in this city, I had
    consented to make a re-examination of the facts which has been reported to me, to see if I had erred in my
    conclusions, and on this very Monday morning on which these gentlemen arrived here I had sent for
    Kerne and offered him the benefit of an umpirage on what had occurred. We agreed that the matter
    should be left to two or three contractors, or respectable merchants of Philadelphia, to say, whether he
    was right, or I was right; that is to say, whether his judgment had erred in passing goods which ought not
    to have been passed, or whether I was right in saying that he ought to be discharged for doing what he
    had done. The arrival of those two gentlemen, and the occurrence of the matters which I have related,
    avoided the necessity of carrying out that arrangement. After the gentlemen left I went to my office and
    discharged Kerne immediately.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Some explanation of the usage of “shoddy” as it appears in the above transcript bears further explanation
    here. In modern usage the word shoddy is understood to infer poorly made or inferior quality goods of all
    types. Rather, in the 1860s, it was a term for a specific type of cloth made with remanufactured yarn. In
    those days, everything was re-used, nothing went to waste. Shoddy was simply the short wool fibers
    swept off the floor of the mill, remnants of old fabric, or occasionally other (natural) fibers
    remanufactured back into yarn and then rewoven into fabric. Obviously, this type of wool was less
    expensive. The incorporation of a certain percentage of shoddy yarn in the cloth was allowed by contract.

    However, the article could not be constructed of all shoddy yarn. Partially as a result of the Van Wyke
    Congressional inquiry into poor quality goods issued from the Federal arsenals, a requirement of Federal
    contractors to mark their goods was passed into law on July 17, 1862. The “manufacturers mark” made it
    easier for the Quartermaster Department to trace unacceptable goods back to the individual contractor.

    FROM THE ESSAY BLOODSHED & PROSPERITY IN "THE UNFINISHED FIGHT VOLUME II" (2013)
    Last edited by Craig L Barry; 03-10-2013 at 05:24 PM.
    Craig L Barry

    Author: The Civil War Musket: A Handbook for Historical Accuracy

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Weaver View Post
    (I also have a friend from Long Island who always referred to a whole pizza as a "pie."
    The term "Pizza Pie" is more common but "Tomato Pie" is completely out of left field for most people. As for who invented pizza (I have not confirmed this) but I thought that it had been introduced to Theodore Roosevelt on a diplomatic trip to Italy. Supposedly Roosevelt's infatuation with pizza helped the Italians with the negotiations. (Again, I will need to confirm this but it makes for interesting discussion).

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