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September 21, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Humor: “Old Fogies”

In 1904, the Appomattox and Buckingham Times printed the following humorous correspondence from Enonville:

I enjoyed very much, reading the letter of your correspondent from Andersonville, and could not keep from noting the difference between this letter and the one from in Enonville.

Your correspondent states that we “old fogies” can hardly look “up-to-date gentleman,” in the face, and usually make a hasty exit when one approaches. Yes, we do usually make a hasty exit when some of the so-called, self-styled, up-to-date gentlemen approaches. But we do it for the same reason that we flee from a certain little animal that has a white stripe on its back, and a wide bushy tail. We acknowledge we are afraid of some of these “up-to-date gentleman,” who make their living by “playing sharp” on their fellow man.

Yours truly, OLD FOGIE.


Can a Slate River Rambling reader elaborate on the phrase “playing sharp?” If so, please comment below.

Special thanks to Virginia Chronicle for the digitized copies of the Appomattox and Buckingham Times.




Leave a Comment
  1. Judy Kiilehua / Sep 21 2017 6:41 pm

    In the Western Slang and Phrases section of, I found this:
    “Sharps – Any firearm manufactured Christian Sharps for his Sharps Rifle Company. This term also applied to professional gamblers who cheated at the Poker tables”

    I thought, perhaps the later bit about gamblers might apply.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 22 2017 6:28 am

      Judy, I like this idea! Many thanks for the link to the slang site. Joanne

  2. Jo Justis / Sep 21 2017 1:56 pm

    from “WikiHow”, when discussing playing a flute “If you’re playing sharp, it usually means that you are a half-step higher than you should be; if you’re very sharp, you might be a whole step higher.” this possibly could be the meaning of the writer’s use.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 21 2017 3:29 pm

      I never would have guessed that. Thanks! Joanne

  3. Bill Johnson / Sep 21 2017 6:54 am

    Perhaps in 1904 well dressed men weren’t trusted because the natives remembered the ‘carpetbaggers’ from 40 years prior and had memories of being treated less than fairly?

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 21 2017 10:41 am

      Bill, Could be! Joanne

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