Jerkwater, maybe a slight antedating

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu Jun 5 12:15:51 UTC 2014

On the question of the railroad this section acts and feels spasmodically. One week we are certain that the snorting of the iron horse will soon be heard....The next week all our hopes are rudely dispelled--Ever since the "Jerkwater" line played out, various schemes have been proposed to give us railroad communication. The "Straight Line" was a huge swindle. Our people subscribed liberally...and got--no railroad.

The Morgan Gazette. Martinsville, Indiana June 10, 1865, p.1, c.1. Newspaperarchive. (LC has the same article from Indianapolis on June 13; GB has an"1865" jerkwater use that is actually decades later; Bill Mullins posted a different jerk-water text from NYT Sept. 24, 1865.)

Stephen Goranson

The American Dialect Society -

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