hoeboy (?)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Sun Dec 23 15:56:27 UTC 2007

Mike Walsh (editor of the Subterranean) frequently used "hoeboy" as a term of invective, but even though I read through every article of The Subterranean during my research on "shyster," I never came across a passage which clearly explained just what a hoeboy is.  
Btw, the Subterranean passage below about Conrad Sweidenmeyer is mentioned in the book _Origin of The Term "Hot Dog,_" co-authored by Barry Popik, the late David Shulman, and myself, 2004.
Also, btw, George Thompson's postings from his searches of early NYC newspapers are very valuable and deserve to be compiled for formal publication.
Gerald Cohen


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of George Thompson
Sent: Sat 12/22/2007 8:13 PM

An unprincipled scoundrel, named Conrad Sweidenmeyer, or some such outlandish name, has long been in the habit of making sausages and Bologna puddings out of dead rats, cats, dogs, and even horses, by which abominable villainy he has realized a considerable fortune.  ***  People can not be too cautious how they even touch sausages -- even when made properly and by Christians, there is something disgusting about them; but as they are now made, by hoeboys, and out of putrid dogs and rats, they are truly horrifying.  The sale of them ought to be interdicted by law.
        Subterranean, June 28, 1845, p. 2, col. 3

Is this perhaps "hoe-boy", i. e., farmer?   Sweidenmeyer seems like a typical city guy, though.  But perhaps other sausage vendors at the time were from the country.  Otherwise, I'm baffled.

Bon appetit.


George A. Thompson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list