Is it true what they say about Dixie?

Jim Parish jparish at SIUE.EDU
Sun Nov 11 20:31:37 UTC 2007

Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>   "The Old Game of 'Dixie's Land' [To the] EDITOR BULLETIN:- That the
> philosopher and antiquarian, who seeks to discover the origin of
> 'Dixie's Land,'  may be placed upon the track of discovery, the writer
> submits a few remarks upon a sport of his early childhood - often
> indulged in - many decades past, in the city of New York....
>   "On some sidewalk having a handsome stoop - such, for illustration, as
> Lady Barken in Clinton street, near Col. Rutgers'; or in Bond street, at
> Sam Ward's; or Dr. Francis's, or Philip Lione's - a boy and girl would
> establish themselves as Dixie and Dixie's wife. Imaginary lines would
> form the boundaries on the North and South, and the opposite party
> would attempt crossing the sacred domain, shouting as they entered
> upon it, 'I am on Dixie's land, and Dixie isn't home.'  Soon, to their
> surprise, Dixie and his wife would rush to capture them, and as their
> position was in the centre they would soon succeed. As each one was
> caught he aided Dixie, and soon the whole opposing force was
> brought within the fold to share whatever had been united by them as
> the reward of entering Dixie's Land. --[Signed] OLD MAN."

Now that's interesting! I remember playing a version of that game when
I was in Scouts, but we called it "British Bulldog", and started with one
person in the center. Our rule was that you weren't caught until you had
been lifted completely clear of the ground.

Jim Parish

The American Dialect Society -

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