Unusual use of "Tarheel" (1848, 1852)

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 21 21:16:45 UTC 2013

A few years ago I shared an 1846 usage of "Tar heels," which seemed
applied generally to poor whites of the South and not especially
reserved for North Carolinians.  (The earliest "Tar Heels" as a
designation for North Carolinians is currently found in the 6 February
1863 entry of a diary kept by a North Carolina confederate officer.)

Here are two antebellum sightings of "Tarheel," again without any
apparent reference to North Carolinians, though they do show a novel
(to me) usage, as the last name of fictional characters.  Below,
asterisks signify the use of italics.

-- Bonnie


Mrs. Farthingale was the other day, overlooking a lazy son of Guinea
in her employ, as he was sweeping down the sanded floor of the
kitchen, and remarking the queer figures the dark one drew with his
broom, observed:

"Well Caesar, you can draw, pretty well, can't you?"

"Yah, yes, Missus, I can draw fust rate; last Saturday, I took a
policy for Pompey Tarheel, and I drawed fifty *dollars*!"

Mrs. F. drew herself up into one of her highly dignified attitudes,
and left the kitchen.

[From "Drawing," The Litchfield (Connecticut) Republican, 10 February
1848, p. 1; via Genealogy Bank.]


Well, we are glad the election is over, if we *did* "come out a little
horn."  Democrats will now discover that there are *some* decent
people among the Whigs, and *vice versa*.  A Whig lady can now lend
her Democratic neighbor her coffee-mill, and in turn, borrow an egg to
put in her pan-cakes.  Andrew Jackson Croutcutter will now be allowed
to play with Henry Clay Snakefeeder's pet hog; and Fred Douglass
Tarheel will se-saw with John Quitman Screwdriver, and take the South
side of the fence.  All will go just as if one person were as good as
another!  [From "A Funny Man," The (Huntington) Indiana Herald, 24
November 1852, p. 2; via newspapers.com.  The Herald's editor notes
that he is reproducing a column penned by "[t]he witty editor of the
*Emporium*, published in Germantown, Ohio.")


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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