"swamp" verb, 1675, 1677 (and noun)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Dec 10 00:20:50 UTC 2010

The OED 1989 has "swamp, v." from 1694.

(1)  Verb, 1675 --

"You are Requested to carry this intelligence to Capt[ai]n Henchman
and soe on that no time be lost If possible to Apprehend y[e]m [them]
before they swamp themselves and while theire Wearines is upon them."

Antedates OED 1989 "swamp, v."  1694--,  This is a new and earliest
sense, "to hide in a swamp", earlier than the current OED sense 1.,
"pass. To be entangled or lost in a swamp."  [The settlers first
discovered that the Indians could hide in swamps; only after
following them did they find themselves entangled or lost
therein.  :-)  .]

In Richard LeBaron Bowen, _Early Rehoboth: Documented Historical
Studies of Families and Events in This Plymouth Colony Township_,
vol. 3 (Rehoboth, Mass.: Privately printed, 1948), p. 91.

Quoting:  Letter, Noah Newman to Leftn [Lieutenant] [Nathaniel] Tho[mas].
1675 July 30.
Original:  Mass. Archives, vol. 67, papers Nos. 230a, 231 [according to Bowen].

(2)  Verb, 1677 --

[Major Talcott's Connecticut troops] "assaulted them who p[re]sently
in swamped them selves in a great spruse swamp, we girt the s[ai]d
swamp and with english and Indian sould[ier]s, drest it ...'.

Same sense as (1) above.

In William Scranton Simmons, _Spirit of the New England tribes:
Indian history and folklore, 1620-1984_ (Hanover: University Press of
New England, 1986), p. 29.  [Google Books, Preview.]

 From :_A letter written by Maj. John Talcott from Mr. Stanton's at
Quonocontaug, Issued ... December 29, 1934_.
1677  [dated by Simmons].

[This is available at about 9 university libraries (WorldCat).  I
have not seen this or its source, and thus have not confirmed the 1677 date.]

Both of the above are quoted by Jill Lepore, "The Name of War" (N.Y.:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), p. 86, where she writes "So often did Indians
hide themselves in swamps that the English came to use the word as a verb".

(3)  Noun --

The OED presently has "swamp, n." sense 1.a "A tract of low-lying
ground in which water collects; a piece of wet spongy ground; a marsh
or bog" for 1624 and then 1685.  There are numerous instances from
1675, in the heat of King Phillip's War.  I think a quotation should
be added from that year.


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