Country talk, 1840

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 8 16:35:14 UTC 2010

I believe that Squatawa was the proposed sister city to Ottawa.

Actually I don't.

Never heard of it.


On Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 10:13 PM, George Thompson <george.thompson at>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> Subject:      Country talk, 1840
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>        THE FORCIBLE ARGUMENT. -- "Gentlemen of the jury," said a hoosier
> lawyer, addressing a real shell-bark jury, "I say that ere magnanimous sun
> shines in the heavens, though you can't see it, kase it's behind a cloud;
> but you know it, though I can't prove it; so my client, who rises airly and
> hunts coons like an honest man, has a good case, though he can't prove it.
>  Now if you believe what I tell you a bout the sun, you are bound on your
> bible oaths to believe what I tell you about my client's case, and if you
> don't then you call me a liar, and that I'll be squatawa'd if I'll stand it
> anyhow; so if you don't want to swear false and have no trouble, you'd
> better give us our case."
>        N-Y Daily Express, August 11, 1837, p. 2, col. 5
> I don't have the vol. of DARE that would cover "shell bark" and
> "squatawa'd".  I see that "shell bark" is a type of tree, and I dare say
> that it is wide-spread in Illinois.  As for "squatawa'd", I dare say that
> the spelling will vary greatly, if it's otherwise recorded.
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.
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