Monday, January 9, 2012

Historical Trivia ~ Did you know...

Hi Friends,

I got this in my email and found it interesting... thought I would share... 



Did you know the saying "God willing and the Creek don't rise" was in reference to the Creek Indians and not a body of water? It was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 18th century. He was a politician and Indian diplomat. While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return to Washington . In his response, he was said to write, "God willing and the Creek don't rise." Because he capitalized the word "Creek" it is deduced that he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe and not a body of water.

In George Washington's days, there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are 'limbs,' therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, 'Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg.' (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint)

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October) Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term 'big wig... ' Today we often use the term 'here comes the Big Wig' because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

In the late 1700's, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The 'head of the household' always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal.. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the 'chair man.' Today in business, we use the expression or title 'Chairman' or 'Chairman of the Board.'

Personal hygiene left much room for improvement.. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told, 'mind your own bee's wax.' Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term 'crack a smile'. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt . .. . Therefore, the expression 'losing face.'

Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in 'straight laced' wore a tightly tied lace..

Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the 'Ace of Spades...' To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't 'playing with a full deck..'

Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to 'go sip some Ale and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. 'You go sip here' and 'You go sip there.' The two words 'go sip' were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term 'gossip.'

At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in 'pints' and who was drinking in 'quarts,' hence the phrase 'minding your 'P's and Q's'.

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make 'Brass Monkeys.' Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled.. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.' (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn't you.)

Happy Monday! 

Until Next time... 

Carmen and the Primcats

PS... Don't forget to sign up for my Birthday Giveaway! 


Tammy ~ A Primitive Place said...

Hi Carmen,
What a great post.
Thanks so much for sharing with us.
I find this type of stuff so interesting.
Funny how we say all types of things, without giving a second thought to where the expression came from.


Angela said...

Goodneess Carmen, You are so full of information. Have heard most of these phrases all my life and never knew where they came from. So enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your day back at work. Be careful and don't over do it.

Maggie Ann said...

Hello Carmen, I am enjoying my visit to your blog. What an amazing post! Love the insight into things that you've found. Smiles, Maggie

Deb @ Crows on the Cupola said...

Thanks for the interesting post Carmen. I learned alot of new stuff first thing today!

Shirlee said...

Very interesting Carmen! I love reading about the roots of these old sayings : ) Blessings, Shirlee

Deppen homestead 1862 said...

Awesome post~ giggles isn't it funny to hear where are "talk" came from~
enjoy the day

cynthia lee designs said...

Great post!!
Now I know how these sayings came to be.

Fran. said...

Hi Carmen so glad you are feeling better! I tried to leave you a post when you were in the hospital but my computer was was acting up or else blogger was! LOL So I don't know if you got it or not. I have been praying for you though! Wow 4 miles sounds like alot of walking! That's awesome shows how good you are dong! And thanks for sharing this info it was great reading and learning!! Keep on getting better Carmen! and Happy New Year!! XO Love, Fran.

bettyj said...

Loved that and have not seen it before!

Cat Nap Inn Primitives said...

I always learn something when I come by..and I did today too..very interesting..have a great week.;)

Beth said...

Miss Carmen, you get the "Best Post of the Day" award as far as blogs go! =) What a fun read!

Brenda said...

Highly entertaining post! The origin of these sayings are so far off from what one would imagine. Love it!! :)

Robin at The Primitive Hutch said...

Very Interesting!!!
Thanks for sharing!
Prim Blessings

Susan At Glen Oaks Primitives said...

Hi, Carmen - thanks so much for sharing this. I learned a lot of
fun facts. How are you feeling?
Still getting stronger I hope.

Merry Wind Farm said...

Hi, Carmen, I sent your little surprise package today! When I took it to the post office, something was rattling around, and the surprise doesn't rattle! I didn't want to tear the box open. I think something from my sewing room, maybe a button, fell in. Tell me what else was in there, ok?? Hugs, Melinda

Prims By The Water said...

Love the mini history lesson Carmen! I knew a few of these, but twas quite interesting to read this post. Thank you for sharing. Take care, Janice

A Primitive Homestead said...

I enjoyed this post filled with fun. Hope your feeling better. Blessings!

TheCrankyCrow said...

Fun post Carmen - I love these old sayings and their histories and have to admit, there were several in your list that I didn't know the origin of. Thanks so much for sharing! Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin