Where Did That Saying Come From??

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.
Pictures: 1, 2, 3,
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3 Responses to Where Did That Saying Come From??

  1. Bel says:

    Interesting. I’ve used the expression “God willing and the crick don’t rise” many times. Guess it’s a leftover from my time in the south ya’ll. 🙂 Thanks Peter for this post. It’s always interesting to learn where expressions come from especially since the modern usages aren’t always the same meaning as the original.

  2. magsx2 says:

    Loved this post, some very interesting facts indeed, I just couldn’t imagine how it would feel to only bath twice a year, and the thought of the wigs, gives a bit of a shutter as well. 🙂
    Great choices for the photos.

  3. Haha I enjoyed this today Peter. We say things and have no idea of their origin.

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