"oldcomer" 1652, not in OED

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Sep 11 13:38:49 UTC 2009

"oldcomer", not in OED.

      It is ordered by this court
      That wheras the Purchasers and oldcomers were graunted formerly
two or three Tractes of Land for them and theire heires as by former
actes of court doe appear, Which they neuer yet for diuers causes
enjoyed, and som p[ar]te of which said Tractes haue been granted to
other plantations
      This court now graunts and giues liberties vnto the said
Purchasers and oldcomers that all or whosoeuer amongst them will
shall [sic; think prescriptively  :-)] haue libertie to looke out and
make choice of such place or places as they can find within this
Gouerment or Jurisdiction not graunted alreddy to any; ...

1652 June 29.
Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England.  Vol. 11. Laws,
Boston: William White, 1861.
page 60.

There is a clue that "oldcomer" might appear in Plymouth documents
from 1639 and 1640.  In the edition of "New England's Memorial"
edited by John Davis (Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1826), notes by
the editor refer to three documents, two of which (from 1640) were
apparently published in Hazard's "Collections".  See Davis's edition,
pages 213, 403.  I have not tried to track this down.

Google Books fullviewed (not to coin a verb -- or is this an
adjective?) reveals other instances of "oldcomer", from 1819 (The
poetical remains of the late Dr. John Leyden ..., p. 198) through
perhaps 1973 (Billboard  magazine) to 2008 (Jobs for Immigrants:
Labour Market Integration in Belgium ..., page 204).  There are not a
few false positives (esp, "old corner" -- apparently not just a title
but also a favorite phrase of Dickens's). I did view pages from
several books, including the three above, but not title pages.

One might think "oldcomers" came before "newcomers", but no -- the
OED has "newcomer" from c1450.


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