Who struck Billie Patterson

Michael Quinion TheEditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Mon May 31 09:01:40 UTC 2004

A World Wide Words subscriber from California writes: "The phrase
'Who struck John' was popular with my late Mother when I was a child
60 years or so ago.  I not only can't recall the meaning, but the
context escapes me as well! Any help?"

>From the examples I've found, it would seem to be a way of asking who
was responsible for some incident. But in searching for it I found
"Who struck Billie Patterson" with the same meaning. This appears in
a letter from a Confederate soldier (see http://www.fcae.nova.edu/

Is there any evidence to suggest that either John or Billie Patterson
was a real person?

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <TheEditor at worldwidewords.org>
Web: <http://www.worldwidewords.org/>

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