[Ads-l] Precursor to a "New York Minute"

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun May 28 10:21:29 EDT 2017


http://torontoist.com/2014/03/toronto-is-born/

"Renaming York as Toronto angered some provincial legislators. During a March 1, 1834 debate in the assembly, detractors like William Jarvis claimed the change would cause confusion. John Willison felt it disrespected the memory of the most recent Duke of York, and pointed out that neither the state nor the city of New York had changed its name."
________________________________
From: Dan Goncharoff<mailto:thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: ‎5/‎28/‎2017 5:49
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Precursor to a "New York Minute"

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Subject:      Re: Precursor to a "New York Minute"
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I believe York was just north of Toronto, and is now incorporated in it.
Terminus of the Underground Railroad.

On May 28, 2017 12:08 AM, "Peter Reitan" <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Interesting.
>
> And I just learned that Toronto was called York until 1834.
>
> I also went back and looked at the 1831 citation, and the tavern they were
> visiting was in St. Catharine's, Ontario.
>
> Might "York" have been Toronto in this particular case?
>
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2017 5:11 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: Precursor to a "New York Minute"
>
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Precursor to a "New York Minute"
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------
>
> In the early 19th Century -- maybe before, too -- New York City was
> sometimes referred to as "York".  This isn't easy to document, but here's a
> couple of passages from a minute booklet of humorous sketches and songs:
>
>             New-York, Jan. 1, 1824.
>             Got in York safe as a bee in a bucket, put old Brindle in Uncle
> Josh's stable -- found all the folks well, except Aunt Polly most dead with
> the small pox; hardly knew her, she looked so plaguey odd -- her face put
> me in mind of an old fashioned cullender
>
>
>
> "Hewlett at Home.=E2=80=9D
>             Heard a great deal of talk since I've been in York 'bout the
> African Theatre -- I and Harry went tother night -- good many white folks
> there; Harry told me it was Hewlett's Benefit -- seen "Hewlett at Home" on
> the bills; I guess he did'nt like to let folks know he was "at Home"
> before=
> .
>
> [The writer is a rube from Goshen, N. Y., visiting the big city and writing
> letters home.]
>
> Simon Snipe, *The Sports of New York, by Simon Snipe, Esq.; Containing A
> Peep at the Grand Military Ball, =E2=80=9CHewlett at Home=E2=80=9D
> *[etc.,]=
>   1824.  (The
> only known copy of this is at the Houghton Library, Harvard University.)
>
> GAT
>
> On Sat, May 27, 2017 at 4:45 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Years ago Barry Popik traced the modern emergence of "New York Minute" to
> > Texas in the early 1950s.
> >
> >
> > A couple years ago, I found an early example from 1870, in a story about
> > shooting a wildcat (a catamount) in the oil regions of Pennsylvania.
> >
> >
> > It seemed as though the coincidence of the early example in an oil region
> > and the emergence of the expression in the oil region of Texas 80 years
> > later suggested a possible way the expression made it to Texas.
> >
> >
> > However, there were isolated examples of the expression in 1872 Kansas
> an=
> d
> > 1908 Vermont, and a few other possible (yet ambiguous) examples.
> >
> >
> > I wrote a blog post about it at the time.
> >
> > https://esnpc.blogspot.com/2014/11/wildcats-and-
> wildcatters-very-long.htm=
> l
> >
> >
> > I just ran across a possible precursor idiom - possibly with a slightly
> > different meaning.
> >
> >
> > The expression a "York minute" shows up as early as 1831, with several
> > examples throughout the 1840s, '50s, ' 60s and '70s.
> >
> >
> > An example from Buffalo, New York in 1860 suggests that a "York minute"
> i=
> s
> > a short period of time, but longer than an actual minute:
> >
> >
> > [excerpt]
> >
> > "There is one portion of the day," as your correspondent very justly
> > remarks, "which may, with propriety, be called the ladies' hour.  Just
> so=
> .
> > That "hour," however, is to the day, what the "York minute" is to the
> > ordinary hour; viz: two hours and a half.
> >
> >
> > Buffalo Commercial, November 24, 1860, page 3 (Newspapers.com).
> >
> >
> > My initial inclination was to think that "York" refers to York, England,
> > perhaps a sleepier town than London, where time isn't so precious or
> > precise.
> >
> >
> > But I am not so sure.  It might be American.  The earliest example of the
> > expression I have found so far - 1831 - is from an English writer
> > describing the scene at an American tavern.  He sets several apparently
> > local Americanisms apart in quotations - including "York minute."  I am
> > also not so sure that the "York minute" is always something more than a
> > minute, as described in Buffalo in 1860.  Many of the early examples,
> > including the earliest example, a "York minute" appears to be some brief
> > moment of time - not as long as a minute:
> >
> >
> > 1831 [excerpt]
> >
> > By the time they have all taken a "drink" or two a-piece, and swallowed a
> > mouthful of water after it, you will hear "guessing" and "calculating"
> > enough, undoubtedly, and something better, "I don't think!"  Be careful
> > they do not tread on your toes at this time, and if you wish to retain a
> > seat, do not get up from it even for a "York minute."
> >
> >
> > Joseph Pickering, Inquiries of an Emigrant; Being the Narrative of an
> > English Farmer from the year 1824 to 1830, London, E. Wilson, 1831, page
> =
> 93
> > (HathiTrust).
> >
> >
> > In 1873, a story about a Northwoods trapper shooting a panther appears to
> > be a rewritten version of the 1870 Pennsylvania story with "New York
> > Minute," but using "York minute"  instead:
> >
> >
> > [excerpt]
> >
> > But no, he raised the old rifle and fired.  In one-fourth of a York
> > minute, Bill Stewart's exact time for skinning a Montezuma bullhead, all
> > the clothes upon him would not have made a bib for a china doll.
> >
> >
> > Chicago Daily Tribune, January 5, 1873, page 2 (Newspapers.com).
> >
> >
> > 1871
> >
> > [excerpt]
> >
> > Mrs. Matt Peel's Minstrels give their last concert in this city, for the
> > present, at Touro Hall tonight.  If you have the blues, these darkies
> wil=
> l
> > shake them off in three York minutes.
> >
> >
> > Hartford Courant, February 12 1861, page 2.
> >
> >
> > For me, the big question is why was it a "York minute" and was it
> > originally English.  The change from York to New York seems natural in
> th=
> e
> > US, but if it is American, why would it have been "York minute" in the
> > first place, unless it was an old English expression that survived in the
> > US.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
>
> --=20
> George A. Thompson
> The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998.
>
> But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
> your lowly tomb. . .
> L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112
>
> The Trump of Doom -- affectionately (of course) also known as The Dunghill
> Toadstool.  (Here's a picture of one.)
> http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-
> gillray/an-excrescence---=
> Page cannot be found<http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-
> gillray/an-excrescence---=>
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>
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