Jimmy Ducks, 1835
Joel S. Berson
Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Mar 1 03:25:56 UTC 2010
Once again, EAN strikes earlier, here by 2 years.
New-Bedford [Mass.] Mercury; Date: 08-14-1835; Volume: XXIX; Issue:
6; Page: , col. 1. Titled "Life on Board a New York Packet Ship."
I have formed an acquaintance with Jimmy Ducks, the well known
personage who has the care of the live stock on board. Hens,
chickens, ducks and turkeys he has on hand, as the auctioneers say,
too numerous to mention---with a variety of pigs, sheep and
goats. To what use the cow was to be put I was for a long while
puzzled, after I was informed she was not to be the victims [sic] of
our appetites,---and it was quite a relief to learn that all that was
demanded of her in her passage over the Atlantic, was her milk, for
which she was paid when on shore with rich pasturage just out of
London and New York.
Antedates OED 2 1849-.
There is also 1837 March. Times Picayune [New Orleans}; Date:
03-05-1837; Page: 1. Title: "Jemmy Ducks and his Wife Moggy."
"The following amusing scene is from 'Snarleyow; or the Dog Fiend,'
by Capt. Marryatt. Jemmy Ducks, it seems, had procured his discharge
from an English man-of-war ..." In the rest of the tale, there seems
to be no explanation of what Jemmy Ducks did aboard ship.
At 2/28/2010 08:40 PM, George Thompson wrote:
>As is well known, (except among those to whom it isn't well-known,)
>sailors carried generic nicknames linked to their jobs on board ship
>-- as "Chips" (the carpenter) and "Sparks" (the wireless operator).
>In the days before refrigeration, ships carried hens, ducks and
>goats, to supply fresh eggs and milk during the voyage. The sailor
>who tended to these critters was "Jimmy Ducks", which HDAS has from 1841.
>Patrick, who had been employed on board of ship as a keeper of the
>pigs, cleaner of the styes and coops, and feeder of the poultry, had
>the distinction of being nicknamed "Jimmy Ducks". . . .
> N-Y D Express, August 3, 1837, p. 2, col. 4
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
More information about the Ads-l