some persimmons

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Apr 1 15:53:17 UTC 2008

Nice early ex. of "s---p-t," too, George.  It's a huckleberry _above_ my persimmon.

  Buntline was also a novelist (_The B'hoys of New York_ ) and a violent populist who helped fan the Astor Place Riot of 1849. That left two dozen dead over the question of who should play _Macbeth_. (It was in the days when drama was taken seriously and before movies had turned America's youth into sociopathic thugs.)

  As was well "known" in the late '50s, Buntline years later presented Marshall Wyatt Earp with a distinctive revolver, the "Buntline Special," that would feature prominently in the ABC television series, _Wyatt Earp_, starring Hugh O'Brien, with a memorable theme song sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of Salt Lake City, Utah, a town with no connection with Dodge City, Kansas, Wyatt Earp, or Ned Buntline, but really is located in the West.  The .45 "Special" had a barrel sixteen inches long that presumably could shoot bad guys who'd become invulnerable to the ordinary Colt .45. (Dr. Freud, please note.)

  Naturally, though, the "Buntline Special" story, as it relates to Buntline and Earp, turns out to be a complete whopper, dreamed up with great success solely for the purpose of making Wyatt Earp more fascinating. (Dr. Freud, please note.)  Curious pedants can read about it here:


  George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: George Thompson
Subject: some persimmons

Ned Buntline (real name E. Z. Judson) edited a newspaper called "Ned Buntline's Own" -- it seems that almost no issues survive in libraries; no loss, probably, though I'd read them if they were around. He seems to have been a good-for-nothing. Kate Hastings kept a whore house.

COWHIDED BY A WOMAN. [Ned Buntline, whipped in the street by Kate Hastings, of No. 56 Leonard street; Kate:] "He called me a dirty s----p-t, and I will have the honor of being the first s----p-t to give him a cow-hiding. He has the law to resort to, and he is perfectly at liberty to use it. He knows his rights, and I know mine."
New York Daily Globe, April 5, 1849, p. 2, col. 5;
Cow-hiding an Editor. *** [As Kate Hastings] figured largely at the late Taylor Inauguration Ball in Washington, we are led to conclude that she must be some persimmons.
NY D Globe, April 6, 1849, p. 2, cols. 4-5

I'm familiar with the expression "some pumpkins" -- from reading, I've never known anyone who used it -- but I've never encountered "some persimmons".

Buntline did invoke the law, and Kate was fined six cents.

(For those of you who may be planning a visit to NYC: I don't think she has the place on Leonard street any more. You're on our own.)


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

The American Dialect Society -

You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list