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Thread: Historical Trivia

  1. #1
    Senior Member Lynnc's Avatar
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    Historical Trivia

    HISTORICAL TRIVIA



    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.

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    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)

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    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.

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    In the late 1700s, 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.'

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    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.'

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

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    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..'

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    Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TVs 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.'

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    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 'Ps and Qs'.

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    One more: bet you didn't know this!

    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 problem…how 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?)

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    Thanks, that was interesting.

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    My son used the expression "An arm and a leg" in buying his new home. He had been in an accident and lost both arms and paralized his legs. Because of this he got a new home built for his needs. He told his friends he gave 2 arms and legs for his new house. Thanks the Lord he can still laugh about it after 10 yrs.

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    How interesting! Thanks.

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    Super Member nygal's Avatar
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    That was very interesting. I still say "God willling" a lot when I am talking about any "plans" I may have..that is Biblical to do too.

    I am glad I live in the modern times. Can you imagine only bathing twice a year?
    When it seems like the world is falling to pieces remember that the pieces are falling into place. We are nearing closer to the End Times.

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    Super Member wendiq's Avatar
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    Absolutely fascinating......learned a lot! Thanks....

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    Super Member Patchesnposies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helenquilt View Post
    My son used the expression "An arm and a leg" in buying his new home. He had been in an accident and lost both arms and paralized his legs. Because of this he got a new home built for his needs. He told his friends he gave 2 arms and legs for his new house. Thanks the Lord he can still laugh about it after 10 yrs.
    Helen, I admire your son. He is a survivor for sure! What a great attitude in the face of such loss. I love his sense of humor!
    Do not worry about the past, for it is history,
    Do not worry about the future, for it is a mystery,
    Only live for today, for it is a gift, that is why it is called "the present."

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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I often say things and wonder where that particular statement came from originally. funny, we keep doing things and saying things that were passed down over generations.

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    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Love this stuff!! Thanks!
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
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    Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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    In the Ozarks (Missouri) Lord Willing and the Creek Don't Rise was always attributed to May Kennedy McCord a loval folklore person.

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    Please check with Snoopes.com.

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    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    Very interesting! Thanks!
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

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    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patchesnposies View Post
    Helen, I admire your son. He is a survivor for sure! What a great attitude in the face of such loss. I love his sense of humor!
    My BFF had bone cancer & had to have her leg & half of her pelvis removed. She used to refer to herself as my "half-a**" friend. Once we were in Target & there was this naughty little kid who was just making a total scene. Normally Karen was very patient with kids & would explain why she didn't have aleg in very age-appropriate terms. But this kid was so bratty & annoying, when he came up & DEMANDED to know "what's wrong with you?" , she calmly replied "I acted up in a store & my leg just fell off"! LOL! That kid's eyes got big as dollars & he was meek as a lamb after that! She used to tell me "Laugh or go crazy".
    (¯`v´¯)
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    (¸.•´(¸.• (¸.•´¸¸.•¨¯`•.¸¸.♥ rebecca

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    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativetexan View Post
    I often say things and wonder where that particular statement came from originally. funny, we keep doing things and saying things that were passed down over generations.
    I was just thinking about that this AM. My folks were from the South & had a whole bunch of sayings that when I repeat them up here, people just look at me... LOL!

    I loved these facts. But, then again, I'm a total nerd... THANKS for posting these!
    (¯`v´¯)
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    (¸.•´(¸.• (¸.•´¸¸.•¨¯`•.¸¸.♥ rebecca

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    Super Member merry's Avatar
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    Just finished a library book (kindle) called "Who put the Butter in Butterfly." It was full of explanations of commonly used words & phrases. It was a fun read for anyone interested.

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    Super Member mountain deb's Avatar
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    My sister sent this to me some time ago and I found it extremely fasinating.
    ABCDEFG

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    Super Member nancia's Avatar
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    helenquilt-- your son's ability to maintain his sense of humor reminds me of a dear friend who had a leg amputated as a child. she has often told me she has no fear of not going to heaven as she already has' a foot in the door!.' i'm sure she'll get in for many other reasons!
    The only bad days are the ones you don't get.

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    Dee
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    Thanks for the intresting info. I like stuff like this.

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    Senior Member ctipton's Avatar
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    I always wonder where this stuff originated...Thanks so much. Also do you think they carried hankies dipped in parfum becauce they were so odoriferous. Could not think of a polite way to say they smelled

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    In Paddle Boat days, in the evening a hot chocolate was brought to your room at bed time. To warm the drink it was placed on the asbestos lagged pipes that ran the length of the boat until the drink was hot. This is how we get the expression piping hot.
    Merivale
    Australia.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Connie M.'s Avatar
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    I enjoyed all the trivia, whether it is absolutely accurate or not. I always remember Tennessee Ernie Ford would say at the end of his show, "I'll see you next week if the good Lord is willing and the creek don't rise." Hmm wonder if he meant the Indian tribe.

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