"To a t-y-t" again

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 4 00:23:06 UTC 2013

Here's a slight antedating of that apparently now mysterious
expression "to a t-y-t" (and variants; see [1]), which we had
previously pushed back to 1867.

"I also got the package with the gloves thread and needles in. the
gloves are just the thing and fit to a T Y t."  [21 December, 1863,
Corporal Ed Cort, writing from Hogjaw Valley, Alabama; From _Dear
Friends; The Civil War Letters and Diary of Charles Edwin Cort_, 1962,
p. 120.]

Twenty-one-year-old Ed Cort had enlisted in the Union Army in 1862 and
served with the 92nd Illinois Vol. Infantry Regiment.  He grew up in
Monongahela City, Pennsylvania, but moved to Lee County, Illinois
sometime after 1855.  Helyn W. Tomlinson, who published this
collection, noted that "[p]unctuation and paragraphing [of the
published letters and diary entries] were changed when they helped to
clarify meaning but the spelling and capitalization (or lack of it)
have been left as found in the originals."

As a side note, some time ago I had noted appearance of "to a t-y-tee"
in the 24 October 1867 issue of The Daily Iowa [Des Moines] State
Register [2].  Here are two more from the same paper from the same

"He says [Council Bluffs and Omaha] is charming land out there, but we
think it is one bright particular *charmist* that makes him think so
for he acknowledges that geographically and economically he wouldn't
give Des Moines for seven hundred and forty-one thousand Council
Bluffs.  We agree with him to a t-y-tee."  [From "Out and Back," 16
November 1867, p. 1.  Via GeneaologyBank.]

"John always keeps the gayest of [dress] goods, the best workmen, and
never fails of fitting his customers to a t-y-tee."  [Untitled, 14
April 1868, p. 1.  Via GeneaologyBank.]

-- Bonnie

[1] http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1211A&L=ADS-L&P=R4952
[2] http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1211B&L=ADS-L&P=R2422

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