Wednesday, August 17, 2022

New England Colonists 1600-1700 Johns-Keayne

Johns, Johnes
Edward was the son of Richard of Somerset, England who came to Charlestown, Mass. in 1630, later settling at Boston by 1637.
                                                   Fort William and Mary, 1705

Johnson
Charles was living in New London, Conn. by 1690.
Davy is found at Dorchester, Mass. in 1630.
Edmund was born in England in 1612 and is found in Hampton, N.H. by 1639.
Capt. Edward was the author son of William and born at Hermehill, Kent, England in 1598. He came with Winthrop in 1630 and settled at Charlestown and Salem before returning to England in 1635. He then again came to Charlestown 2 years later and is found at Woburn, Mass. in 1642.
Edward was living at Branford, Conn. in 1690.
Francis was an inhabitant of Salem in 1631.
Isaac inhabited Charlestown in 1676.
James was a glover who was born in England in 1602 before being seen at Boston in 1636.
James was an agent of Mason in Portsmouth, N.H. in 1630.
Jeremiah was living in New Haven, Conn. in 1662.
John was born at Waterham, Hernshill Conaterbury, Kent, England and came to N.E. with Winthrop in 1630 and is a resident of Ipswich, Mass. in 1635.
John was of Newport, R.I. in 1638 and later at Wickford, R.I. by 1674.
John was a resident of Sandwich, Mass. in 1643.
John was born in 1609 at England and although he came to N.E. in 1635, he is first recorded at New Haven, Conn. in 1643.
John was born in 1612 at London, England and was a resident of Guilford, Conn. in 1669.
John is seen to have married at Rowley, Mass. in 1650.
John was in Lancaster, Mass. in 1654, Salisbury and Marlboro, Mass. later.
John was a blacksmith who is recorded to have married at Charlestown in 1656 and then removed to Haverhill by 1662.
John is living at Watertown, Mass. in 1650, married there the same year and removed to Lexington the following year.
John was married at N.H. in 1661.
John was a resident of Rehoboth, Mass. in 1673.
John was of Norwich, Conn. in 1677.
John was a Huguenot who came from Rochelle, France to Oxford, Mass. in 1685. He was killed by Indians in 1696 along with 3 of his children.
John was a lighterman in Salem in 1691.
Peter was a resident of Fairfield, Conn. in 1649.
Return was at Hampton, N.H. in 1678.
Richard was born in 1612 at England and settled at Charlestown in 1630, removing to Watertown and Lynn, Mass. later.
Robert came from Kingston-on-Hull, Leicestershire, England to New Haven, Conn. in 1638.
Robert was an inhabitant of Marblehead, Mass. in 1674.
Samuel was a mariner at Boston in 1653.
Samuel was of Lynn, Mass. in 1664.
Solomon was born at England in 1615 and came to Sudbury, Mass. in 1638. He later removed to Marlboro, Mass. by 1653.
Stephen is fist seen at Ipswich, and then Andover, Mass. where he was married in 1661.
Thomas was a cobbler at Hartford, Conn. in 1640.
Thomas was born at England in 1610 and came to N.E. in 1635 but drowned at Boston Harbor in 1656.
Thomas was of New London, Conn. in 1682.
Thomas was seen to have married at Andover in 1657.
Timothy was living at Andover in 1674.
William, brother of Capt. Edward, was born at Hernehill Canterbury, Kent, England in 1605 and was a resident of Charlestown, Mass. in 1634.
William was married and living at Guilford, Conn. in 1665.
William inhabited Stonington, Conn. by 1670.
William is seen as married at Andover in 1678.
Wingle, Windle, was married at new Haven in 1664.
Zechariah, Zachariah was a resident of Charlestown in 1672.

Johonnot
Daniel was a Huguenot was was born at Rochelle, France in 1668 before being seen at Oxford, Mass. in 1686.

Jones
Abel was a freeman at Northampton, Mass. in 1690.
Abraham resided at Hull, Mass. in 1657.
Alexander was an agent of Mason and is found at Portsmouth, N.H. in 1631.
Benjamin was living at Malden, Mass. by 1681.
Charles was born in 1614 England before on record at Dorchester in 1635.
Cornelius settled at Stamford, Conn. by 1652, the year of his death.
David was a freeman of Dorchester in 1665.
Griffin, Griffith, settled at Springfield in 1646.
Henry lived at Lynn, Mass. in 1642.
Hugh came from Wiscanton, Somersetshire, England to Salem in 1650.
Jacob died at New Haven, Conn. in 1675.
Jeffrey was living at Southold, L.I., N.Y. in 1664 and four years later, removed to Salem.
Jenkin was a settler at Dover, N.H. by 1666.
John was a clergyman and son of William and was born at Abergavonny, Monmouth, England. He si first seen at Concord in 1635.
John was of Providence, R.I. in 1655.
John  was born at London, England in 1615 and came to  Portsmouth, N.H. in 1635, leaving no issue.
John was born in England in 1620 and came to N.E. in 1635. His first recoded home was at Cambridge in 1648.
John was a resident of Boston pre-01665.
John was at Charlestown in 1672.
Lewis was born in England in 1600 and settled at Roxbury and Watertown, Mass. between 1635-1650.
Lewis was of Saybrook, Conn. in 1667.
Matthew lived at Boston in 1645.
Morgan was a clergyman and son of John. He was born at Newport, Monmouth, England before being seen at Killingworth and Branford, Conn pre-1680, when he is recorded at Newtown, Lng Island, N.Y..
Ralph settled at Plymouth pre-1643 and is also found at Barnstable by 1654.
Rice was at Boston in 1651.
Richard was at Dorchester in 1635, dying there in 1641.
Richard was at Farmington and Haddam, Conn. before dying at the latter in 1670.
Robert was at Hingham, Mass. in 1637 and Rehoboth by 1644.
Robert was married at Salisbury in 1659.
Robert was born at England in 1633 and is seen at Amesbury, Mass. in 1666.
Stephen was of Dover, N.H. in 1672.
Teague was an inhabitant of Yarmouth, Mass. in 1653.
Thomas was born at England in 1595, came to Dorchester in 1635 and died there in 1667.
Thomas was living at Newbury in 1637 before removing to Hampton, N.H. in 1639 and lastly to Kittery, Maine.
Thomas was a tailor who was bornin 1602 at Caversham, Oxfordshire, England. he is seen at Hingham, Mass. by 1638.
Thomas was bornin 1598 and is first seen at Gloucester in 1642,  then New London, Conn. by 1651.
Thomas was of Taunton in 1659. 
Thomas settled at Guilford, Conn. in 1639 but returned to England in 1651.
Thomas was married at Boson in 1654.
Thomas was a resident of Springfield, Mass. in 1678.
William was a mason at Cambridge in 1635 and Charlestown in 1658.
William was at Portsmouth, N.H. and Dover, N.H. by 1644.
William was a lawyer who was born in 1624 England before locating at New Haven, Conn. by 1660.

Jordan, Jorden
Francis was at Ipswich in 1634.
James was a resident of Dedham, Mass. pre-1655.
John is seen at Guilford, Conn. in 1639.
John is at Plymouth in 1643.
Robert was a clergyman from Worcester, England who came to Richmond Island, Maine in 1641. He then went to Portsmouth, N.H. by 1675 and died at Portsmouth, N.H. in 1679.
Stephen came to Ipswich in 1634 and Newbury after.

Josselyn, Jocelyn, Joslin
Henry was the son of Sir Thomas and was born at County Kent, England. He was an agent of Mason and Sir. Gorges by 1658 and died at Pemaquid, Maine in 1682.
John, brother of Henry, came to Boston in 1638 but returned to England in 1672. He was the author of New England Rarities.
Richard was at Saybrook, Conn. in 1669.
Thomas was born in 1592 England before coming to N.E. in 1635. He first settled at Hingham in 1637 and then at Lancaster, Mass. by 1654.

                                                  1780 New Hampshire currency



Joy
Jacob resided at Fairfield and Killingworth, Conn. by 1673.
Thomas was a carpenter at Boston inn 1638.
Walter was an inhabitant of Milford, Conn. in 1650.

Joyce, Jesse, Jose
Christopher was at Isle of Shoals, N.H. in 1651 and Portsmouth later.
David was a goldsmith and married at Boston in 1698.
John settled at Lynn and Sandwich, Mass. by 1637, later found at Yarmouth, Mass. by 1643.
Walter was at Marshfield, Mass. in 1667.
William is at Windsor, Conn. and Springfield, Mass. He drowned at Enfield Falls, Mass. in 1645.

Joyliffe
John was a resident of Boston in 1657.

Judd
Roger resided at Boston in 1638.
Samuel was married at Hingham, Mass. by 1667.
Thomas was at Gloucester in 1651.

Judson
Samuel was the son of Michael of Horton, Yorkshire, England and lived at Dedham in 1646.
William was born in Yorkshire, England before coming to Concord in 1634. He removed to Hartford, Conn in 1638, Stratford and New Haven, Conn. later.

                                              Old maple sugar camp of New England



Kame
Richard was at York, Maine in 1670.

Keayne
John came from Southampton, England in 1638 to Hingham, Mass. where he died in 1650.
Robert was born in England in 1595 and died at Boston in 1656.
William was a resident of Bosont in 1656.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Simple Yankee Way of Life

 


American and international literature is inundated with images of the old New England home and hearth. From Longfellow's depiction of Priscilla Mullins at her spinning wheel in The Courtship of Miles Standish to the fantastic musings of Harriet Beecher Stowe in Oldtown Folks. Frugality, hard word and dry morality are given "air-time" by Francis Underwood in Quabbin, but with equally warm, satisfying and level-headed principles paralleling. Some may say a Yankee home is the ideal home, a small cottage nestled in amongst the tall pines while the rest of the world whizzes by physically and technologically. In some ways, it is true but I do think that is why home and hearth(not to mention family ties) is so important to us and why New England has always been, and will continue to be, the epitome of comfort food.


Although I must preface my introduction to the New England way of living as relaxed, we are still informed. The domestic images that have enchanted New England writers and artists since time immemorial have been romanticized, but not exaggerated. Even many academic historians display their interpretation of the New England home and hearth with the same colorful representation as Whittier and Jewett. And you know the old adage, there is a grain of truth even in folklore.


Find below a brief account of who we are, for that has directly evolved from where we came from and how we got here. Let me tell you a little story.


During the early part of new England's colonization and well into the 19th century, families cooked in the fireplace. Large kettles or pots were seen in every home. Most of the time, a certain pot was solely used for soap making while boiling and stewing food was done in another. Having a nest of iron pots of different sizes, a gridiron, Dutch oven, skillets of various dimensions along with a spider and bakeware were essential to early cooking. For those who could afford it, brass kettles were often seen in door yards of old filled with pale, white, bubbling homemade soap or fresh tree sap being reduced for the family's year-long sugar needs.



Francis Underwood, author of Quabbin, extolled the "girth" of breakfasts in the late 19th centuries

 ..... "a substantial breakfast that was begun by a preliminary nip of hard cider. This might be followed by ham and eggs, or a salt fish prepared with cream, or of bean porridge(for which a ham bone furnished the stock), or of cold corned beef, with hot potatoes, and usually hot bread(called 'biscuits') resembling muffins; and with sauces, pickles, and other provocatives in plenty."


Although Mr. Underwood was writing fictionally, it truly resembled the breakfasts of a few generations ago.....well, maybe a light breakfast. This author has read accounts of much heartier morning fare. But why so much breakfast? Because Yankee's had much to do.


Harriet Beecher Stowe also mentions food in her Oldtown Folks, "I can inform all whom it may concern that rye and Indian bread, smoking hot, on a cold winter morning, together with savory sausges, pork, and beans, formed a breakfast fit for a king, if the king had earned it by getting up in a cold room, washing in ice-water, tumbling through snow drifts, and foddering cattle." There are also many accounts of family's waking up in the middle of the night or in the morning covered with a fine dusting of snow because of the unchinked openings between the logs of the home.


Harriet's representation of the New England breakfast was more of the norm than Mr. Underwood's, although many of our ancestors subsisted on any leftovers from the night before or simply milk, bread or porridge.


Although we do love our time together nestled around the dinner table and talking about the days events, back a couple of hundred years ago meals were, more often than not, just simply time enough to quench your hunger as opposed to relaxing and gossiping. This way, the days' work could either be started or finished without loosing much time.


The difference between lunch, dinner and supper.

The travelling aristocrats that came here from abroad often demeaned much of what us Yankee's either ate, were employed at or our everyday life habits. Cases in point. In many self written books from the Puritan to the Colonial era by these same affluent and wealthy "tourists", there are narratives about the pewter and ceramic serving dishes of the 'typical' New England family. This was not, and I repeat NOT, what most families ate from . Certainly a single large pewter platter or goblet was seen in many homes, but this was usually an artifact that was handed down from one generation to another or that particular family only was able to afford one. Homemade wooden trenchers were widespread throughout our homes, much to the chagrin of these wealthier travelers from abroad.


Also, the habit of 'taking dinner' in the middle of the day while 'refreshing our bodies' with a small viand(the supper) in the early evening was something often ridiculed by those who were ignorantly blind to our dinnerware. During what we call lunch now, our ancestors piled on the food in the middle of the table for everyone to dig into. And most of the time during this meal(especially in the backwoods of New England and the poorer communities) this consisted of a piece of pork surrounded by boiled beans. Nothing fancy, nothing extravagant, just pure fuel for our bodies. Sure we had cheeses, pies, cakes and various sweet treats, but these were lavished on the household infrequently up until the 19th century. It was from the early 1800s onward that we see variety on the kitchen table because of the prevalence of spices, fruits, sugar and all things that couldn't be grown in New England soil but were either bartered for or shipped into the local "store".


  Lyndon Freeman of Sturbridge, Massachusetts writes(early 1800s):


"At the setting in of winter every farmer was presumed to have at least a pork and beef of sufficient quantity. The larder was well supplied with butter, cheese, applesauce, pickles, sausages, souse, etc. Their dinner commonly consisted of boiled pork or beef or both, potatoes, cabbage, beets, carrots, etc.....A mug of cider was upon the table never forgotten of as all drank as freely as we do of water today. The meat and sauce left of the dinner were hash-up for breakfast the next morning. The supper was usually brown bread and milk for all."


Food was also a way of obtaining much needed supplies for a large family. There truly shouldn't be much of a distinction between bartering and paying from the early New England era. Since few people had actual cash, gong to the "store" to obtain and pay for supplies was usually done with whatever extra the family had. Wool, tools, pots and pans, ironwork and spices were bartered at every store and even this type of system was prevalent among neighbors. I f one family had an abundance of butter or cheese and their neighbors had a good stash of vegetables or rum, you bet neighbors subsisted on each others kindness. Many men would also take in any food items they were blessed with an abundance of to the nearest tavern as well, in exchange for a few nips of rum or port but store barter for barrels of coffee, tea, tools, molasses and flour. Over time, housewives were able to barter for cinnamon, sage, nutmeg, pepper, cloves, mace and many other essential additions in our well known baking repertoire.


For families to have bread or cakes, some type of meal was needed. Be it wheat, rye or corn, all three needed to me ground. And in the winter when the rivers and streams of New England froze, this was next to impossible for a community to do. In order to keep a supply on hand, you either had to plant plenty of corn to dry  and bring to the grist mill before winter or barter.



Some type of leavening was also needed for baking and this was rather easy to keep on hand, even the poorest of homes. Skimming the top barm from a barrel of cider usually did the trick for light and airy breads well as pinching a knob of dough from one unbaked loaf to keep for the next batch. Then another pinch would be taken from that loaf for the next. On and on this frugality occurred and now you know where us Yankee's get if from. There is even an account in my family of  Ol'  Gus Bailey who dipped his spoon in a pile of "new fallen snow" and mixed it in with biscuit batter in a lumber camp to leaven these white must-haves with baked beans. Did it work? Sure did!


Baking day was but once a week for those who had an oven built into their fireplaces. For those who didn't, this is where neighbors came in handy yet again! Many families had their own Dutch ovens though, because of the scarcity of neighbors in many rural communities. These were shallow iron kettles that stood over coals with three legs and were fitted with a deep lid onto which hot coals would be piled in order to offer all-around heat. Can you imagine puddings, pastries, cakes, gingerbreads, custards and cobblers baked this way?  I certainly would love to take a trip back in time just for one day not only to taste what was cooking on the open hearth but to sample the cheeses that were homemade, with not one tasting like the other.



Churning and cheese days were also a chore that, although needed to be done, was not met with open arms. With the females of the home obtaining the milk, this was just the beginning. The pails needed to be scrubbed first, then the milk was to be scalded, skimmed and churned. The butter then had to be worked and that was no easy chore.


Sarah Emery, an ancestor of mine, relates:


"In those summer days, when my recollection first opens, mother and aunt Sarah rose in the early dawn, and taking the well-scoured wooden pails from the bench by the back door, repaired to the cow yard behind the barn. We owned six cows; my grandmother four. Having milked the ten cows, the milk was strained, their fires built, and breakfast prepared...The milk being from the ten cows, my mother made cheese four days. Aunt Sarah having the milk the remainder of the week. In this way, good-sized cheeses were obtained. The curd having been broken into the basket, the dishes were washed, and unless there was washing or other extra work, the house was righted. By the time this was done, the curd was ready for the (cheese) press....After dinner the cheeses were turned and rubbed." The cheese would then be stored in the buttery.


More commonly known, at the time, as a buttery, this room was generally the cellar where the cool air was needed in order to set the pans of milk and ripen the  cheese. Many rural families denoted a lean-to as a buttery as well, using their cellar for vegetables and cider. But the cheeses were always kept down in this "root cellar" for keeping throughout the winter to prevent freezing, while meats were kept in these lean-to's.


There is nothing that irks me more than reading that meat and fish were not that plentiful for our ancestors. Many famous historians have mentioned that it was a rare treat for the man of the house to have any wild life barreled up for his family. That ranks right up there with another historical inaccuracy purveyed by most of the history professors and authors of New England life, which is that us Yankee's very seldom lived in log cabins. Absolutely rubbish this Yankee avers to both.


It is true that our Puritan ancestors relied heavily on salted meat and fish, but as the generations passed, fresh meat and fish was more the staple because of better guns and methods of fishing and trapping. Although historians say that fresh meat was hard for our 18th and 19th century forefathers to find, not only is this inaccurate, but we were still salting our meats for winter preservation. Why? Mostly because we always made sure our family's were secure in every aspect, but especially being fed. It was far better to have more than not enough and with such large families and hard work for everyone in the household, extra food was still not the norm.


When it was butchering time, usually in the late fall when the weather here in New England was cold enough to preserve without much salt, everyone helped with the slaughter. From cleaning the tripe, trying out tallow and lard, getting the head and feet ready for making headcheese or foot pies, cleaning out the intestines for sausage casings and cutting the meat into family-sized portions for preservation in fat or salt. Hams were salted as well, to ready it for the smoke house and fish was cleaned and hung from the rafters to dry out.


I am not ashamed to say that our poorer ancestors(as many of mine were) along with the more remote populations, forest creatures of every type were caught, trapped and shot for consumption. I have so many hand-written notes and recipes from my ancestors for partridges, quails, woodchucks, beaver, squirrel, birds of all types, musquash, rat, porcupine and skunks, to name a few.


The same holds true for our lakes, streams, rivers and ocean. My father(right up until the day he died) always prepared eel the same way, he said, our great great great grandmother did during the Revolutionary War period. I remember well Dad stringing up the eel on the side of the house and ,with a dry cloth and sharp knife, he would draw the skin from the tail end to the head. Gutting it was done while suspended, and leaving the head intact. He would then skewer that bad boy with a long, green stick from the woods behind our house and "barbecue" it over an open fire. To this day, that is the only way I will thoroughly enjoy eel.


Try this on for size! Did you know that lobsters were so plentiful in the early days of New England that many families, including the poorer farming households, looked at lobsters with disdain. The reason? Because before the over-harvesting of these delectables, these crustaceans literally littered our shoreline. They would wash up on shore by the hundreds, along the many miles of New England. After a number of years of the free-for-all taking, families simply stopped snatching them up because they 'had their fill'. I just can't imagine ever getting sick of lobsters, but then again I have never had the pleasure of eating them day in and day out.


It is easy to imagine the basis of our New England standby of codfish cakes and codfish balls every Saturday night and Sunday mornings. Fish of all sorts was that important and available throughout our waterways. The most abundant, believe it or not, was salmon, shad, mackerel and smelts. Unlike meat, fish could not be frozen to preserve. Salting or drying had to be accomplished in order to store for the winter when it was simply too much work to dig through the ice to fish. The most amazing dish I have ever eaten that was prepared according to an old-time "receipt" book was Cod Scootin 'Long the Shore. It was prepared by cutting up cod and placing in a cast iron skillet that is been greased with some bacon. On top of it lay some diced potatoes, beets, onions and some salt pork. Drizzle some oil over the top, salt and pepper liberally and cover. Baked in an oven until done. This classic Yankee dish rivals any Michelin-star meal served anywhere. Fish was often served or cooked with vegetables during our Yankee beginnings because of the salt used to cure fish. Vegetables seemed to take the 'bite' out of this spice.


I have had the pleasure of visiting my ancestors homes, although all that is left are their "root cellars", which were rock lined cellar holes. I have found two of them, one made by the hands of my great great grandfather(Josiah Bailey, 1778-1869) and his father(Nathaniel Bayley, 1740-1796). I just stand at the edge of each hole and marvel at the work it must have taken to not only dig the hole but roll these boulders into it to make these cellars. And to top it all off, within 20 feet of each was their rock lined water well. Now THAT was a marvel of engineering. One of them is at least 30 feet deep and lined with rocks that are still solidly intact unto this day(2013).


In these root cellars, our fore-families kept their apples, cabbage, pumpkins, turnip, beans, peas, beans, potatoes, carrots and squash. They would easily last the entire winter without softening in the least bit. As for the corn, we dug corn holes, or potato holes as some have referred in journals of old, in order to keep corn from shriveling up too fast. Although we dried much of our corn harvest for grinding, corn could be kept better by covering with birch bark and pine boughs, then covered with a layer of dirt to keep the wild-life from scavenging. This method was taught to us from our Native American friends. In fact, my ancestor, Nathaniel Bailey, was stabbed to death in 1796 by a Native American after digging a corn hole. He had agreed to pay a Passamaquoddy Indian in rum if he helped with the harvest and storage of corn in one of these corn holes. One night when the rum was all imbibed by the Passamaquoddy, he came back to Nathaniel's cabin on top of Bailey Hill in Baileyville, Maine and wanted more rum. Not having any left, the Native American began to get angry and stabbed Nathaniel to death.

My book, above and here n Amazon, tells Nathaniel's complete story for  the first time. An Amazing Journey also includes a treasure trove of information about life in New England from the 1600s to the 1800s, from the eyes of the backwoods family and those who eked out an existence. 

With regards to fruit and berries, there is no shortage of literature written about our love of all things naturally sweet. Pumpkins, of course, were the number one staple in our kitchen for generations. A seeded out whole pumpkin roasted in the embers of a fireplace, then removed and warm milk from the family's dairy cow poured into the center was a real treat with everyone.


Apples, of course, would be a very close second. When apple picking time was at hand, not only would they be baked in pies, made into applesauce and squeezed for cider and eaten as is, strings of sliced apples filled every home that dotted our landscape. When dried, they could be used for an entire year in everything from savory dishes to sweet. Apple Pie, and Apple Cider Pie, is truly not only an American dish, but a proud Yankee offering to the world.


It is funny to read journal entries of New England family's when they regale of the joy of sharing certain fruits with neighbors. Now you need to remember that many fruits that we take for granted today were simply too expensive and hard to find centuries ago.


In one entry, Ruth Bascom treats her neighbors to a delicacy. In August "sent a piece of our great Savannah Watermelon, which we received 2 or 3 weeks ago cut today and distributed a part to our neighbors."


Even up to my father's day, born in 1938, he would always add an orange to our Christmas stockings growing up in the 1960s. He followed that tradition to the day he died in 2001. I asked him why? Since oranges could be had anytime I wanted to take a trip to the supermarket, yet he made it a point to add one to my stocking every year. His answer was pure Yankee. "When I was a kid" he glumly explained "We didn't have the money to buy much fresh fruit. So when we did get  them, it was a treat. And oranges were too expensive, so my father used to buy them once a year and put them in our stocking".


Cooking and recipes was something that was passed down from one generation to another. I am aftraid that this custom is becoming more scarce as the years zoom by. In this generation, eating out seems to be more of the norm than preparing a meal and eating in. 


Many people thought cookbooks were a waste of money(again, a Yankee dread) because everything you needed to know was taught to you. One needn't measure by the teaspoon or cup. Simply add a pat of butter the size of an egg or scoop out flour with your teacup. You either cooked something over a fire or in a low, moderate or hot oven. Only the upper class, who wanted to indulge with food that was being enjoyed by their equally wealthy English counterparts, began the idea of purchasing cookbooks usually written by someone across the pond in the early days. It wasn't until Amelia Simmons, in 1796, that an American author had made such a great impact on the cookbook craze. What made her cookbook so successful was that she incorporated many ingredients and recipes with the New England housewife in mind. Johnny Cake and Indian Slapjacks are among the recipes that drew even the poorer families to purchase it.

Then along came Lydia Maria Child, the author of The American Frugal Housewife(my kind of lady). Not only did she incorporate great, simple recipes using everyday items but she added ways of using leftovers, taught frugality, preservation and remedies using herbs that were easily grown by anyone unfortunate enough to have the same type of rocky soil New England is known for.


I could go on and on with regards to New England food heritage, enough for a book actually, but I would like to summarize my introduction to New England cuisine by touching on the "personality" change of our kitchen over the generations.


I am so proud of my heritage, even though it wasn't one of extravagances or money. We come from a poor family and made do with whatever food we were able to grow or shoot. It was said that my father and grandfather could make a meal out of a pot of boiling water.


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

300 Year Old Riddle Solved?

After 300-plus years of defying scholarly debate and research, The answer to a life-long obsession by me and many others has finally come to a close.

 

Without going further than I have to with details and other ideas about the origination of why New Englanders are called Yankees, I will forward the most popular assumptions first and conclude with the actual answer to this debate. This question has actually lured learned scholars from around the world, as it did me for many years.

 

You read it right folksaround the world. You wouldn't think that this question of why New Englanders are saddled with, often-times, the negative connotation of a Yankee would be so popular, so universally, but it has sparked many debates and fallacies, not to mention ludicrous assumptions, and yet not to be determined. Well consider it determined!

 

I would like to start with the route that I have taken for the past 30-plus years, without an adequate answer, and end with one particular paragraph that blew the whole dilemma wide open, resulting with the answer. It took tenacity and an eye for details that brought me to my conclusion, with the help of many MANY unsubstantiated references that I was able to discount.

There have been many schools of thought regarding the word Yankee, but one(with what I thought was)textbook explanation with a twist that has led every single historian, linguist and researcher down the wrong path. Which could have been avoided with a little digging and a little common sense. Let me explain why.

Almost all encyclopedic references, in all research, for the word Yankee has been summarily denoted as beginning with the Dutch. From Jan Kaas(literally meaning John Cheese) to Janke(a diminutive of Jan, or John).There is even an explanation with a combination of these, stating that Jan Kaese means John Cheese(which of course is incorrect) and is seen in a poem by 16th century poet Roger Ascham. A snippet of this particular poem from 1570 reads;

 

"Of thou be thrall to none of thises,
Away good Peek goos, hens John Cheese."

 

Although the words John Cheese is shown in this portion of a poem someone posted online, there are some problems here. It only shows that the name John Cheese was used in the 16th century without actually helping our cause, but this also has a twist. And this twist is the largest reason I am completely discounting this as irrelevant. It hinges on the fact that Roger Ascham became fatally ill in 1568 and died in 1569. PLUS, after having searched his works, I find the above lines nowhere in his works. I consulted The Whole Works of Roger Ascham and only found an item or two that came close. These were letters Roger wrote to a John Cheke(pages 236 and 328).


Some say that Jankaase(pronounced as Yankees because the 'J' in Dutch is pronounced as an English 'Y') was not only a slang term for the Dutch but as a slang term for anyone resembling(in practice)the Dutch, much like other slangs for differing nationalities like Dago, the French Frog, German Kraut, and so on.


Another avenue almost all researchers have followed(yup, me too) was the supposed fact that the name Yankee was a derogatory nickname given to the Dutch by the Germans, Flemish and anyone else who came in contact with Dutch pirates, of which there were many sailing the oceans during the 17th and 18th centuries. It is also referenced that the English colonists here in America referred to Dutch settlers by the moniker Yankee because of either ethnic association or because of their trading practices throughout this country in the early days. Over time, it warped into a word of tribute to the cunning New Englander, much the same way 'cunning' was the immoral thread that the Dutch sewed the relationship with the Indians when buying land, protection and friendship.

It is known that the Dutch were extremely greedy when they dealt with the Indians in the Connecticut Valley, up into New York and into French Canada. Remember what the Dutch paid the Indians for New York don't you?

 

A classic Yankee Peddler from the late 1800s, courtesy of https://connecticuthistory.org/new-britains-yankee-peddlers-boost-18th-century-economy/


Take, for example, an observation by Jasper Danckaerts, dated October 18, 1679 and found on page 262. He saw how the Dutch inhabitants of Long Island dealt with the Indians unfairly:

                                                                                                           Jasper Danckaerts

"I must here remark in passing, that the people in this city, who are mostly traders in small articles, whenever they see an Indian enter the house, who they know has any money, they immediately set about getting hold of him, giving him rum to drink, ... They do not rest until they have cajoled him out of all his money, or most of it... And these miserable Christians are so much the more eager in this respect, because no money circulates among themselves, and they pay each other in wares, in which they are constantly cheating and defrauding each other."

 

Use of Yankee to refer to someone from New England is seen in 1765, from the poem Oppression, A Poem by an American.


"The source supreme, and center of all hate.

"If I forget him, then forget me Heaven !"

Or like a W(ILKES) , may I from right be driven.

From meanness first this PORTSMOUTH Yankey (d) rose,

And still to meanness, all his conduct flows ;

This alien upstart, by obtaining friends,

From T (o) WN (SEN) D S clerk, a M (A) LD (o) N member ends,

Would Heaven that day was dated in record,

Which shin d propitious, on one so abhorr d;

That day, which saw how threats and gold could bribe..."

It is mentioned, and probably obvious, that in "Portsmouth Yankey", the authoress was not only referring to herself, but to either Portsmouth, England or Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

 

Also cited in hundreds of research papers is the fact that the second time the word Yankee was referred to was in The Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, an archive of British government documents, dated 1683. The sources say it is contained as such;


"They sailed from Banaco; chief commanders, Vanhorn, Laurens, and Yankey Duch."


Two problems arise here as well. If this sentence were to be found, it would have referred to a sailor/pirate by the name of Captain John Yankey, a well-known pirate of the Atlantic Ocean. The biggest issue I have, though, is the fact that nowhere in these papers is the above sentence found, absolutely nowhere!

Then there are two references of the term Yankee being used by General James Wolfe in 1758 and the great (then Captain)Horatio Nelson to Captain William Locker in 1784. He is said to have used it as such;

 

1758 letter-My posts are now so fortified that I can afford you two companies of Yankees, and the more because they are better for ranging and scouting than either work or vigilance.


1784-I...am determined not to suffer the Yankies to come where the ship is.

1784: Adams letter. "We have curtains, it is true, and we only in part undress, about as much as the Yankee bundlers."

(This is a great sentence. Google bundling and understand the meaning.)


To give you a sense of the personal "mingling" of the Dutch and English colonists that may have given credence to past guess-work on trying to solve this Yankee dilemma, here is a very brief understanding of where the Dutch were in colonial New England and beyond.


The Dutch, as some of you are aware, established a settlement at present-day Manhattan in 1624. But before that, in 1621, the Dutch republic of Holland granted land encompassing the Delaware River on the south, the Connecticut River on the north, including Delaware, New Jersey and much of Connecticut. In the 1630s, they went up the Connecticut River to lands claimed by the English. In present day Albany, the Dutch "parleyed" with the Iroquois in order to keep the peace and to acquire more land, which didn't last long. Corruption and immoral trading practices were making the Indians distrustful, so they held back trading. The Dutch decided they wanted any and all land they could get, so they carried brutal campaigns against the "River Indians", at the same time creating tension between these Indians and the European settlers as well.

 

By 1640, the Indians wanted revenge. They sacked the Staten Island settlement of the English, mistaken them for Dutch. (Of course there were Dutch in the area and most likely 'encamped' with the English). After the killing of a "Hollander" by the Sagamore's son(a warrior), the Dutch now wanted revenge. The fighting dragged on and on, and all because of the ruthlessness, lies, deception and dishonesty of some of the Dutch traders, including the West India Company, who outfitted these settlers.

 

To make a long story shorter, the English declared war against the Dutch, resulting in New York, New Jersey and other land being reverted back to New England control.

 

To put it simply, the term Yankee is said to have been used by everyone to refer to anyone they didn't like. Every researcher's opinion, up to this point, has declared that Germans called the Dutch Yankees, the Swedes called the English Yankees, and on and on and on.

Take this into consideration with the above name calling. The province of New Netherland was estimated to contain only one-half Dutch, with Germans, Swedes and the Finnish making up the rest of the population of between 3,000 and 3,500 by 1665. There was also about 2,000 English inhabitants(from New England) around New Netherland, with at least half of the villages around New Amsterdam being of English stock.

By about 1650, both the Dutch and English were at each others throats because they each deemed each other competitors in the trade industry. This resulted in the Anglo-Dutch Wars, the first being from 1652-1654. Land around this area teetered back and forth between these two feuding factions during these wars, with the land being brought under the control of the British by 1674.

 

It is also said that the term Yankee was used by the British nationals and naval personnel, not the British colonists. These English sailors called the English settlers Yankees because many of the sailors of the colonies had Dutch names and were seen to be cavorting with them. People tend to forget that those sailing on behalf of the British government were vastly separate from those of the crown who escaped England to settle here. Therefore, there was derision between these two groups, ending in those who were in the British Navy to poke fun of and trying to humiliate the colonists by comparing them to the dastardly Dutch pirates and traders. Remember that the largest port in New England was at New York. I will tell you, however, that this explanation would have been my No. 2 choice.


The biggest question about this whole Dutch explanation remains unexplained however. How did a slang term for the Dutch come to mean New Englanders? It is thought that we didn't care for this word in the 17th and early 18th centuries but came to embrace it during and after the Revolutionary War.

                                                   A "cunning" Yankee Peddler

It is said by researchers that us Yankees were so cunning that we took the word Yankee and called ourselves such just to teach others a lesson.......You have got to be joking!!!! Not only is this foolish but entirely wrong! I don't believe that these New Englander's were referred to as Yankees by anyone intentionally by any nationality. It was a mistake, although I am proud of the moniker of being frugal, cunning and thrifty, regardless of where it came from. My explanation?

 

I would like to preface my following explanation with the following. It was, and still is among some linguists, a long held belief of another origin of the word Yankee. It has been told and retold that the Native Americans of Massachusetts were the progenitor of Yankee. Trying to pronounce English, or the French equivalent 'Anglais', it came out sounding like "Yengee", converting to Yankee over time. Although not too far-fetched, there are just as many researchers, scholars and especially linguists that have disregarded this. I think all these scholars jumped the gun however, and not thought 'outside the box'. Let me explain.

 

Consider The Riddle Solved!


The poem The Yankey in London was written by Royall Tyler(born 1757 and died 1826) in 1809 when he was over 50 years. Royall lived in Boston and died, with his wife, in Brattleboro, Vermont. He was a Federalist, served as Windham County State's Attorney, Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court and as Chief Justice. He was Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Vermont, Windham County's Registrar of Probate and above all(and very relevant to this story) the aide to General John Sullivan in the American Revolution. Can you think of anyone else with such credentials in order to complete a research? Certainly not me!                                                                 Royall Tyler

Royall was with Gen. Sullivan when Sullivan was commander in Quebec, although failing in the invasion of Canada. The original settlement of the Iroquois was in upstate new York, expanding to most of the Northeast region and eastern Canada. By 1675, the Iroquois claimed west from the north shore of Chesapeake Bay to the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, north along the Illinois River the the end of Lake Michigan, east across Michigan and finally through Northern New England. Because there were not enough of this tribe to physically inhabit all this land, they did, however, settle predominantly in upstate New York.                                                                                              Courtesy of chemungvalley.org


The Sullivan Expedition, the trail of which is shown above, was a massive campaign against the Iroquois in New York and led by General Sullivan, destroyed many Indian settlements.

 

It was in this region of the Sullivan Expedition that one band of the 'Praying Indians' lived. So called because they were converted to Catholicism (and prayed often) in the Ontario and Quebec region. The correct name for this band was the Caughnawaga(or Kahnawake) Indians. One of the Caughnawaga villages was an offshoot of the Mohawk nation near Fonda, New York. This, today, is the only completely excavated Iroquois village in the America. There are also "Praying Indian" settlements throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut.

 

They were converted by the Reverent John Eliot(of New England) around 1650. The conversion turned their demeanor from warrior-like to farmers, builders and peace loving people. They also intermarried with both whites, blacks, Dutch, German or whoever desired them. By the beginning of the Revolution, they were(in all intents and purposes) "Americanized".

 

Now you may be asking why, because of Sullivan's Expedition, did these Americanized Indians join on our side in the Revolutionary War when they were just pummeled by an American general? Simply put, because the Iroquois was known for aiding the British against our colonies. It didn't matter, it you were any part of the Iroquois nation, regardless if you were peace loving or joined only by name, you were an enemy of America. Some of these Praying Indians even served with Washington, with an estimated 5,000 aiding America's cause.

 

                        Praying Indians. Courtesy of the Natuck Historical Society

The reason I give you all this information? Because Royall Tyler in his poem entitled Yankey In London, pages 75-76, writes;

 

"I learned afterwards that this bookseller was considered, the respectable part of the trade, as the mere Curll of his day--ever prepared to falter, and ever ready to defraud. A friend, to whom I related this anecdote, said,"sir, did you not know he was from Yorkshire?" It seems they consider the Yorkshiremen as very subtle, if not dishonest. I was rather chargrined at this opprobium, because, you know, Governor Endicott, with most of our English ancestors, came from that respectable county.

The term Yankey is but a corruption of Yorkshire, being simply the Indian pronunciation. The natives of this country hearing the white men, during their early habitancy, frequently speaking of Yorkshire, styled them yankeys. To be satisfied of this, I once requested a Cognawagha Indian to pronounce Yorkshire: he immediately replied--"oh, Ya-ankah, you--you be "Ya-ankah." So that you perceive, if the Yorkshire bookseller had attempted again to flatter me into a bad bargain......"

 

I wanted to show (you who may think that Royall would not have had contact with the Iroquois or Praying Indians)that he had many opportunities to interact with these Indians. Though this would not have changed my judgement of him in giving a true origination of Yankee regardless(see below).

 

So it is not an Indian word for "English" or the French equivalent "anglais" that the Indians were trying to pronounce(as written above), but of the word "Yorkshire", with whom all Native Americans had the accompaniment of during the early colonization of America and Canada. It is extremely likely this is the basis for the word Yankee. Bear in mind, as well, that when these same Indians referred to us as such, their intentions were not demeaning, they were simply trying to pronounce an English word with NO intentions other than as an address. Any detrimental acknowledgement of the word Yankee came from other sources, of which I have ideas, but will wait to express them after some research. It is very easy to see how all European settlers were considered Yankees by the Native Americans with this explanation, and much easier than trying to understand how 'Jankaas' referred to New Englanders.

Now I know many of you, even amateur etymologists, may be sounding out 'Yorkshire' both on your own and as it is written by Royall, and concluding I am out of my mind. Let me give you a fresh perception however. This is the earliest reference to the word Yankee, with a direct origin, anywhere written. Although many people in the 18th and 19th centuries may have wondered about the origin, nobody ever wondered about this in written form during this time. There is not one document anywhere in the world that predates 1809 stating or questioning the origin of the word Yankee. Certainly it is referred to in texts and manuscripts, but that is where it ends. It is only into the mid-19th century that questions arise as to its origination. And by then, the origin had been forgotten as with many other beginnings. We are blessed to have this one attribution by Royall.

I do believe in Royall entirely, but.....


The only argument there ever will be with regards to this is the English word the Indian may have been trying to pronounce. If it wasn't Yorkshire, then the word English would be the "runner-up". I highly doubt that Mr. Tyler is mistaken however. Either way, the word Yankee derived from the Native Americans trying to pronounce Yorkshire, or at the very least, English.

 

I put my entire faith and belief in Royall, who grew up in Boston and was over 50 years of age in 1809(and who knew of the word "Yankey" even as a child)over someone who is conjecturing as to the origin over 100 years later based on assumption alone.

When Royall mentions "during their early inhabitancy", he is speaking of the men from Yorkshire, and the date would have been the first half of the 17th century with the great influx of English settlers. And as we have seen, and you can look up anywhere, Yorkshire immigrants were a huge percentage of the early settlers on our shores and in Canada.

 

I am in complete faith of this because Royall's father(himself born in Boston), or the very earliest his grandfather(also a Bostonian), would have been around when the word Yankee was first uttered on these shores by the white man. He most likely would have had first-hand knowledge about the word Yankee. If it had anything to do with the Dutch, being a Patriot and New Englander, Royall would have had absolutely no problem saying such. What I don't understand is why this manuscript has been ignored for so long. It has not been referenced in one single explanation of the word Yankee. I believe it wasn't known to the right researchers.


To me, this case is closed, the beginnings have been found and unless anyone can further evidence the origination with first-hand documentation predating 1759, and in that first persons hand, that comes out and states that the word Yankee is from whatever other source............



Well, in the words a great lady, the wife of the greatest showman on earth(not PT Barnum).........



I humbly "turn out the light".

Putting Our New England Dialect To Rest

There has been so much debate on the Yankee accent, both about the origin, geographic cut-offs and the 'why's', that I feel the need to finally give it a rest and give you the truth. 

The reason I find myself addressing New England so much lately is because of a certain television show, new this year, that has me thinking if us Yankee's are truly that despised throughout the country, as well as the South. I sure hope not because we certainly don't harbor resentment for any reason toward anyone, honestly! So let's begin by taking some truly ludicrous, too drawn out, too complicated and overly studied opinions, and studies, and give you the correct answer as to why we talk the way we do and everything in between. 


Let's begin by, who I believe to be, a great American(and Yankee)  lexicographer, Noah Webster and his American Dictionary. Many historians have mentioned that Noah's Dictionary was not American at all, but a New England dictionary. I think many scholars preconceived this before they even started reading it, just because of the preface. Noah stated "New Englanders spoke and spelled the purest and best form of English of any people in the world". Bravo Noah! There is also a book that was printed in Boston in 1892, by Francis Underwood, called The Story of a Small Town. In this book, he offers observations regarding our dialect and accent in very unflattering terms, which I assume was the general perception of us Yankees at the time, if you have read my two previous posts::

"The Yankee Twang-

   The nasal tone in New England, it is said, was caused by the severe climate and the         prevalent catarrh; but those were not the sole causes. Catarrh debases speech, both in quality of tone and in distinctiveness of articulation; but the disease is more prevalent now than formerly, while the general speech is probably less nasal. Australians are said to have nasal voices, and they are not afflicted with catarrh. The New England drawl and the nasal tone were probably derived originally from the meeting-house and the prayer meetings; both defects became fixed by habit, and, of course, have been greatly heightened by climatic conditions.

   The virtue constantly insisted upon in the old times by parents and religious teachers was humility, self-abnegation. In repeating passages of Scripture, or of the Catechism the one was subdued. The religious spirit was manifested in awe and reverence, seldom in cheerfulness, and never in exaltation-except in such exaltation as was accompanied with moistened eyes and "tears in the voice". It was "a dying world" in which our fathers lived; the expression of their ideas and feelings would not require the expansive lungs, nor heave the deep chest, of a vigorous and well-developed man. The noise, no less than the manner, of a burly fox-hunter and athlete, would be abhorrent to one whose soul was melted in penitence, and who in his daily devotions intoned in dragging minor intervals the prayers that he dare not address to the Dread Majesty of Heaven with steady eyes and many voice......

   Let such usages of speech go on for generations, and the infection will pervade the community. The child will be soothed by a nasal lullaby, and will drawl from the time he leaves his cradle. He will drawl at his lessons, and make catarrhal yells in the playground. As a lover he will drawl to his mistress, and repeat loves litany through the nose. when his duet with her is finished, and his snuffy voice extinct, he will be drawn(slowly) to his grave, to drawl no more.

   It appears to be certain that the nasal and drawling tone is in a large measure the result of two and a half centuries of Puritan training; just as the peculiarities of language, including local and obsolete terms, half-articulated contractions, and clipping or words, are the result of the fusion of many illiterate British dialects. The bucolic speech is dying out, for school-teachers are uprooting it, as farmers do thistles, but the tone hangs on, lie the scent of musk in Hosea Biglow's "draw"."

Here is another example of what others have said about our Yankee accent. A well known scholar from South Carolina:

"By Yankee I do not mean everybody from north of the Potomac and Ohio. Lots of them have always been good folks. The firemen who died in the World Trade Center on September 11 were Americans. The politicians and TV personalities who stood around telling us what we are to think about it are Yankees. I am using the term historically to designate that peculiar ethnic group descended from New Englanders, who can be easily recognized by their arrogance, hypocrisy, greed, lack of congeniality, and penchant for ordering other people around. Puritans long ago abandoned anything that might be good in their religion but have never given up the notion that they are the chosen saints whose mission is to make America, and the world, into the perfection of their own image."

Linguists and historians alike have stated various points, geographically, where our accent is most prevalent and where it starts to fade. Many agree that the Connecticut River forms the boundary where people start speaking "normally". See map with the pink line denoting the rough(very rough) passage of the Connecticut River.

These same "scholars" give the following distinctions, using the Connecticut River and the boundary for East New England(ENE) and West New England(WNE)

1. R-dropping. ENE speakers tend to show higher rates of r-dropping, as in pahk the cah in Hahvid yahd or New Hampshah, whereas in WNE these r’s are almost always pronounced. 


2. The "broad a." Another highly recessive feature of ENE, this so-called "broad a" is often heard in words like aunt, father, laugh, half, can’t, etc. It’s also typically heard in "ar" words like car. For most older speakers, father and bother do not rhyme (the only area in North America where this is still true). For WNE speakers, father rhymes with bother and can’t rhymes with rant.

3. The horse-hoarse distinction in ENE. This characteristic is the most recessive of all, appearing only in the speech of older speakers, and is most prevalent in coastal areas (particularly in Maine). For these speakers, horse is pronounced like "hoss." Similarly, morning and mourning are not pronounced the same ("Good monnin’" is a common greeting in the area). Speakers also show this pattern in words like orange and Florida, whose first syllables do not sound like oar or floor, but rather use the vowel in fog."

Other linguists, studies and professionals declare something that just plain doesn't make any sense at all, such as Noreen Swanson in her The Influence of Settlement Patterns on the Dialects of New England. In this, she says that the port cities of New England would have been acquainted with various European emigrants and traders, therefore Yankee speech patterns "would not have been so prevalent". What???

 

Yet in Farewell to the Founders: Major Dialect Changes Along the East-West New England Border, states that three professional linguists say the that line  separating people who drop their R's from those who don't is at the Vermont-New Hampshire border. The study’s authors — James N. Stanford, Thomas A. Leddy-Cecere and Kenneth P. Baclawski Jr. — also discovered an erosion of several other distinctive features of eastern New England speech, "including the different vowels for "father" and "bother" and for "Mary," "merry," and "marry." (The distinction between "horse" and "hoarse," however, seems to be hanging on.)"

 

Let's wrap this up, once and for all! Look at where we came from during the early colonization of New England. See map. The areas contained within the shapes are the places in New England where our speech pattern is most predominant.(read on).


I do agree with one study done in the 50s. the Survey of English Dialects ascertains that the non-rhoticity(the non-pronunciation of the "r" and the use of the 'schwa' sound in words such as bath  is very predominant(even to this day) "throughout a huge band of Sothern England", which is exactly who most of the present day Yankee's are descended from. It has also been proven that these are the same counties in England that gave us New Englanders our dialect and accent. this area is called the NEME Triangle(New England-Mother England Triangle)


Over time, these ancestors children, and their children, moved inland and upward. A full 90 percent of these families were poor farmers and fishermen and chose to live on farms in the back country in order to raise their own crops and find land either free or cheap in which to farm. More often than not, land was granted to families who could clear a certain portion fit for crop, and could talk other families into following them. Many simply moved up the coast(which, of course, was the easiest route to travel) and fish for a living.

Because of their solitude, their speech patterns remained the same for many generations, only slightly varying or diminishing. Just visit any Downeast community to hear for yourself. As for the coastal communities one most often hears of our unique dialect. If there is one group of Yankees that is more stubborn than either a Yankee seaman or fisherman, I have never heard. So with stubbornness in mind, should I really tell you that there is no-one on the face of the earth that they will emulate? And although this sounds cartoonish, profiling, flippant and rhetorical, it is absolutely true!

 

I must cover one more quick item. I have read over and over again that New Englanders take out the 'R' in places and put it back in places where it doesn’t belong. As a new England Historian, I have never NEVER once come across that as being distinctively Yankee. Historians and linguists alike have said that we say 'warsh' instead of 'wash'. Where to *$^# did that come from?


We, as full blooded Yankees have a dry sense of humor(for example-it is said we don't like ghosts in our homes because they don't pay rent) and hold true to the adage "As stubborn as a Yankee". I think some generational hatred for us comes from the fact that we are also known for being very shrewd in our business dealings. Now mind you there is a different meaning between shrewd and unfair. We have always been fair, but we watch every penny. Shrewdness and cheapness go hand in hand. Many colonial fathers didn't take kindly to us Yankees simply because of our "shrewdness".


It is only a matter of geography, in the simplest form, that our dialect and accent fades at certain points in and out of New England. The further away you go from either the back-country or shore line, the less our way of speaking has been heard. That is because other people of differing nationalities and monetary classes took root. These people, of course, didn't talk Yankee. And as with anything in life, the less you hear it, the less you will say it. For example, if you were from Maine and called that fizzy beverage a 'Soda' growing up, and then spent the last 50 years of your life down South(for example), you will find yourself not only losing your accent, but referring to 'Soda' as 'Pop'. It really is that simple.

Sometimes you only need to find the simple solutions to difficult questions, and this is one of those times. One other reason why we don't pronounce our 'R's is because of laziness. Now don't be sending me a bunch of emails, because this is true! Sure, we DO know that we should be pronouncing the R, but why take that little bit of effort in something that just plain doesn't make a bit of difference? To make ourselves sound a little more genteel or aristocratic? Like I mentioned before, we just don't care. We don't care what people think of us most of the time. I know many families(including mine) that simply don't have anything to prove to anybody.

 

And there you have it. Where we get our speech pattern, where the cutoff points are, why we talk the way we do and why we are slow to change. I would love to give you a more exciting and scientific reason behind all that I have said, but sometimes, there isn't one, and this is one of those times. I must add one more item to this article however. And just to let you know. My family is so Yankee that I have tried many times to pronounce my r's but I simply cannot do it. I have tried many times, and told my producers, publicist, marketing agents, booking agents and anyone that is involved with my Yankee Chef persona that I want to pronounce it, but I just can't. It sounds quite foolish to even try. 

Why on earth do people fail to say Scallop correctly. How do you say 'ALL'? Well, take that same phonetic sound and apply it to sc-ALL-op. It ain't sc-AL-op!!

'Nuff said!