Possible antedating for "you all"

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Dec 9 16:51:03 UTC 2002

letter of 15th February, 1771 by Joshua Hart of "Charles Town", South
Carolina, quoted in Jacob Rader Marcus _Early American Jewry, Volume II_
Philadeplphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1953, no ISBN. page 250.

<begin quote>
Mrs. Hart and family joins me in wishing you and family, your brother Abram
and family, the widow Lopez and children, and Mr. David Lopez,and the rest of
your worthy family, a merry Purim, and may the Good of Israel set a blessing
on you all, and am, with sincerity,
   Your assured friend and most obedient servant,
    Joshua Hart
<end quote>

note: "Good" probably should read "God"

I don't know whether to claim this as an early usage of the second person
plural "you all" or "y'all" that is widely used in the speech of the Southern
United States.  In favor of such a claim: this letter was written in
Charleston, South Carolina, which is in the Southern US, by a man who had
lived in Charleston for at least nine years (page 249 "He had been in
business in Charlestown at least since 1762, when we first run across his

        - James A. Landau
          systems engineer
          FAA Technical Center (ACB-510/BCI)
          Atlantic City Int'l Airport NJ 08405 USA

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