Barking up the wrong tree (1832); No names, no pack-drill (1924)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Jan 23 23:37:43 UTC 2005


"Barking up the wrong tree" came up in Dave Wilton's Word Origins page. An 1833 date was cited.

Need I remind everyone that "barking up the wrong tree" is the WOTY for 1832 in the modern classic, AMERICAN IN SO MANY WORDS, by David Barnhart and Allan Metcalf.

Barking up the wrong tree

The earliest cite I can find for this is 1833, Davy Crockett, no less, from Sketches and Eccentricities. (Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs).

I told him that he reminded me of the meanest thing on God's earth, an old coon dog, barking up the wrong tree.

This suggests an American origin. Anybody have anything earlier on it (assuming that Crockett didn't coin the phrase himself)?

March 27, 1834    SunBarking up the Wrong Tree
May 22, 1832    Vermont Gazette From the Clinton, Miss Flag
September 17, 1835    Sun Barking up the Wrong Tree

Headline: From the Clinton, Miss Flag;
Paper: Vermont Gazette;  Date: 1832-05-22;  Vol: L;  Iss: 2546;  Page: [1];
The Governor, we apprehend, will find himself like our old friend, Davy Crockett--"barking up the wrong tree."

Hall, James, 1793-1868 [Author Page]
Legends of the West . . . (1832)  459Kb
Legends of the West . . .   [Durable URL for this text]
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THE DIVINING ROD.   [Durable URL for this text] go to the devil; you are barking up the wrong tree , Johnson,---take a fresh start, and try to get... sorry to find you are still barking up the wrong tree . Blank Page.

Hall, James, 1793-1868 [Author Page]
Tales of the Border . . . (1835)  426Kb
Tales of the Border . . .   [Durable URL for this text]
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THE SILVER MINE. A TALE OF MISSOURI.   [Durable URL for this text]
Section   [Durable URL for this text] on a pest trail---but he is barking up the wrong tree this time." He now ordered his horse. "Sorry to...

Paulding, James Kirke, 1778-1860 [Author Page]
Westward Ho! , Volume 1 (1832)  371Kb
Westward Ho! , Volume 1   [Durable URL for this text]
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WESTWARD HO!   [Durable URL for this text]
CHAPTER XIV. A voyage, a story, and a land adventure.   [Durable URL for this text]; so I thought I'd set him barking up the wrong tree a little. And I told him some stories that...

Pike, Albert, 1809-1891 [Author Page]
Prose Sketches and Poems, Written in the Western Country . . . (1834)  481Kb
Prose Sketches and Poems, Written in the Western Country . . .   [Durable URL for this text]
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...but they, to use another western phrase, `barked up the wrong tree,' when they got hold of Tom Smith. The Bald...

   Ohio Repository  Friday, May 03, 1833 Canton, Ohio
...ler, Hndinj; Ihnt he had barked up the WRONG TREE in that volfi, now .navslhc..

   Peoples Press  Friday, October 02, 1835 Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
...thai" they have barked up the WRONG TREE." WILLIAM McCLEAF, WILLIAM..

   Adams Sentinel  Monday, March 17, 1834 Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
...d says Gineial you are barkin' up the WRONG TREE this for I jest see that jump.....niggers to work culling- down the ilns TREE stood right along- side an old..

The silver mine
Anonymous. The Illinois Monthly Magazine (1830-1832). Cincinnati: May 1832. Vol. 2, Iss. 20; p. 365 (10 pages)
Pg. 374:
"It all comes of trusting too much to uncle Mose," thought he; "the old man used to be as true on the scent of money, as an old 'coon dog on a pest trail--but his is barking up the wrong tree this time."


I searched the TIMES (London).

The Times, Monday, May 05, 1924; pg. 7; Issue 43643; col F
     Selfridge & Co. Ltd.
Category: Display Advertising:

For instance, only the other day I learned that when one or two men who are very much in the public eye, received appointments, ("no names no pack drill") they immediately turned to the "Ready-for-Service departments for complete new outfits, in which to grace their new posts.

(Ad for the Man's Shop at Selfridge & Co. Ltd.--ed.)

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