Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What is a Swamp Yankee anyways?

Swamp Yankee - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Swamp Yankee via the Word Detective

The origins of the term "Swamp Yankee" are unclear. The term "Yankee" originated in the mid-18th century, and the variation "Swamp Yankee" seems to have developed shortly after this period. Several theories speculate that Swamp Yankees were the undesirable, troublemaking New Englanders who moved to the "swamps" of southeastern New England upon arriving in the New World in the 17th century.
Don't know what made me remember this phrase today, but it's how my maternal grandfather, with a big grin and no small amount of pride, used to describe his ancestry. I'd never looked it up though to see if it had any particular meaning. From what I can gather in this article, it seems like it's primarily a way for New Englanders with deep roots in the region to distinguish themselves as being of Protestant, Anglo-Saxon descent as opposed to those shifty Jean-come-lately French Canadian Catholics that filled up New England mill towns in the 1840s.

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