Cracker Dictionary, 1830

Baker, John JBaker at STRADLEY.COM
Fri Sep 14 17:00:03 UTC 2001

        As a Kentucky boy, I have long heard the story of how Henry Clay was
rowed up Salt River as he was distractedly working on an important political
speech.  From

>>The story is that during his 1832 campaign against Andrew Jackson, Henry
Clay hired a boatman to take him up the Ohio River for an important speech
in Louisville. The wily fellow, an ardent Jacksonian, rowed Clay up the Salt
River instead. Clay missed the speech and lost the election.

In their dictionary of word and phrase origins, William and Mary Morris say
the story is probably phony -- Clay was no dummy, and the modest Salt River
is no Ohio -- but why let a few facts interfere with a good story? Clay came
up short, and when he looked for the rogue, the boatman turned up missing.

        The 1830 dating of the term, of course, undercuts the Clay story.

John Baker

> -----Original Message-----
> From: George Thompson [SMTP:george.thompson at NYU.EDU]
> Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2001 7:35 PM
> Subject:      Cracker Dictionary, 1830
>  The definitions, in some instances, convey to us of
> the north a not very clear idea of the meaning.  "Ramsquaddled," for
> instance, is said to mean "Rowed up salt river."  ***

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