[Ads-l] Sam Hill, 1830

dave@wilton.net dave at WILTON.NET
Mon Sep 6 17:01:58 UTC 2021

OED and Green's have 1839.
Grenouille, Jean-Jacques. Letter. Independent Inquirer (Providence, Rhode Island), 12 February 1830, 1. Readex: America’s Historical Newspapers.
The database’s metadata gives an 1829 date, so use that year in searching for this source. Portions of the digital scan of the paper’s first page are illegible, including portions of the letter and the date on the masthead, which reads, “Friday Morning, February 1[indistinct]”. The date on the second page is “Friday, 12 February,” no year given. 12 February 1829 was a Thursday, but in 1830 it was a Friday. Other stories in the paper refer to dates earlier in February 1830 as well.
Grenouille and the letter are obviously editorial fictions:
"When I walk on the deck, I see one sailor man have one wheel, which he turn round first au droit, to the right, then turn him to the left, and I speak him, “Why for what you so moch labor always?”—and he say, “Sair, the dam ship steer like Sam Hill.” Well I not can understand, and then I go down in my chamber cabin, and I look in [line indistinct] not find Sam, but I ask the captain, and he laugh and say, “Sam one man’s name;” so I look and find Hill, one little mountain, but still I not understand what was Sam Hill.
Well, in three four day more, one night, the ship rock very moch, and the captain ask our officier, “What wether is on deck?” and he say, “it blow like Sam Hill.” Some four day more the ship go in New-York, and I walk on the land and stay for short time, and then I go in one batiment de vapeur, one steam-boat, and go at Providence. By and by one man what was not never been before in one steam-boat, he was look in the water, and he say, “I snum, she foam at the mouth like Sam Hill!” Ma foi! more Sam Hill.

"Monsieur le Prentair, if you can discover what is Sam Hill, or any of your correspondent, will you make me oblige in write one letter to me?"

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

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