Antedating of "Kangaroo Court"

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 11 05:10:55 UTC 2011

Fred Shapiro wrote:
> kangaroo court (OED 1853)
> 1841 _Daily Picayune_ (New Orleans) 24 Aug. 2 (America's Historical Newspapers)  The Concordia Intelligencer says "several loafers were lynched in Natchez last week upon various charges instituted by the Kangaroo court. ..."  What is a Kangaroo court, neighbor?

That is an excellent 1841 citation for "kangaroo court". But after I
posted it last year I found out that Barry Popik had already located

There was a discussion thread in 2010. Here is some more of the text
from the 1841 cite:

Cite: 1841 August 24, The Daily Picayune (Times-Picayune), Don't
Comprehend, Page 2, Column 5, New Orleans, Louisiana. (GenealogyBank)

DON'T COMPREHEND.--The Concordia Intel-
ligencer says "several loafers were lynched in
Natchez last week upon various charges insti-
tuted by the Kangaroo court. The times grow
warm; we can see another storm coming, not
unlike that which prevailed in the days of the
Murrel excitement. In Natchez, as in New
Orleans, they are driving away all of the free
negroes." What is a Kangaroo court, neigh-
[End excerpt]

The text of the Daily Picayune story suggests there is an article
using the term "kangaroo court" in June, July, or August of 1941 in
the Concordia Intelligencer. There is a searchable digital copy of the
June 16, 1841 Concordia Intelligencer at the LOUISiana Digital
Library. When I searched it last year I could not find "kangaroo" in
that issue. Now the link that I once had to this newspaper issue is

The Chronicling America website has a list of libraries that have the
Concordia Intelligencer newspaper.

Very few libraries have coverage in the relevant months of 1941. These
two institutions might:
Center For Res Libr, Newsp Proj, Chicago, IL
Tulane Univ, New Orleans, LA

The American Dialect Society -

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