The Texas in the Civil War Message Board

Re: Joshes, Jakes and Chubs
In Response To: Joshes, Jakes and Chubs ()

Hello everyone,

Thank you for all of your input. Sorry I have not got back to you all sooner. Some of it I had already been familiar with, some of it was new to me. I am a Living Historian of the 4th Arkansas Infantry Co. F " Montgomery Hunters" so I compile information about the Regiment for my own keeping. I actually have the Dr. Gammage book as a PDF and I have Captain Lavender's book on PDF as well for those that might like to have them. I also have the Daucus Diary, Captain O'Brian's Diary of the 30th/25th, and D.H. Reynolds Diary as well. All the references we what sparked my interest, and since posting i have compiled as many of the references I could find in a Word document. However all of the references are just that, references, none of them actually pointed to the origin. McCown's Division of Joshes and Chubs may never give up what the exact origin for the names are, but I did get lucky in my search and came across a dissertation paper from 1987 on Ector's Texas Brigade. In the paper the author stated "The second brigade consisted of troops from Arkansas. McCown's division contained seven Texas regiments, three Arkansas regiments and two Arkansas battalions. This division is sometimes referred to as “McCown's Division of Joshes and Chubs.” The Texans were called “Chubs” by the Arkansians, “Chub” being common 1800’s slang for a lazy person. The Arkansas troops were conversely called “Joshes” by the Texans, “Josh” being period slang for teasing or playful banter. Unfortunately, this paper was a rough draft and only has the list of sources listed at the end of the paper and there are no citations to correspond with the sources, so I am currently sifting through them all. I found the actual finalized version and this was left out presumably after a revision, which doesn't lend it's efforts to my cause. However there was the assumption that was stated in the rough draft of the paper about the words being period slang. That prompted me to look into some historical dictionaries for American Slang for that time period. I found A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English By Eric Partridge which offered some insight.
1. chub
. An inexperienced person, esp. a callow youth: C.17–18. B.E.—2. A blockhead: ca. 1600–1850;
2. josh
. n. A fool; a sleepy fellow: coll: mid-C.19–20; ob? ex joskin, q.v.
. v.t. and i. To banter; indulge in banter: US (1880s), anglicised by 1935, thanks to the ‘talkies’. (OED and Sup.)
Perhaps ex Northern dial. and Scottish joss, to jostle, push against: possibly influenced by ‘Josh Billings’, that
humorist whose writings were, ca. 1866–95, a household name in the USA. An early English occurrence is in
Josephine Tey, The Man in the Queue, 1927, ‘“Look here…all joshing apart—do you believe the man didn’t do it?
3. jake (or Jake)
, n. A Jebacca boat: Can. (and US) nautical: mid-C.19–early 20. Jebacca is at Cape Ann, Mass. Bowen.—2. As jake,
methylated spirits: c., mostly tramps’: from ca. 1920. W.A.Gape, Half a Million Tramps, 1936.
, adj. Honest, upright; equitable correct; ‘O.K.’, excellent: Colonial and US: C.20. (I cannot adduce an early example,
but jake was certainly used, in these senses, at least as early as 1910.) In Aus., we’re jake=we’re all right; she’s jake
[or she’ll be jake]=it’s jake, all is well. (Culotta.) Prob. ex jannock, q.v. Often elab. to jake-a-loo or jakerloo, occ. to
jake-a-bon or tray jake, i.e. très (very) jake. A Can. superlative, from ca. 1920: jake with the lever up, excellent;
extremely satisfactory or pleasant.
, adv. Well, profitably; honestly, genuinely: Colonial: from ca. 1905. Ex prec.
. An addict to methylated spirits: c.: C.20. The first recorded by T.B.G.Mackenzie in the Fortnightly Review, Mar.
1932; the second by W.A.Gape, Half a Million Tramps, 1936. Cf. feke-drinker, also mentioned by Mackenzie. Also
jake-wallahs, as in Toby: a Bristol Tramp Tells his Story, Bristol Broadsides, 1979, where spelt wallers.
, jakerloo. See jake, adj.
. A privy: from ca.1530; ob.: S.E. till ca. 1750, then coll. Shakespeare, in Lear, ‘I will tread this unbolted villain into
mortar, and daub the walls of a jakes with him’; Sir John Harington’s Metamorphosis of Ajax, ed. Jack Lindsay, 1928.
Prob. an abbr. of Jack’s place.

Now this is all up for speculation at this point unless I find a diary or excerpt confirming the actual origin for the namesakes. However we can support the speculation on the Chubs.

General Walker actually disliked the Texans from Ectors Brigade and it was well know that he had a poor opinion of them (and all Texas troops). Most Texas troops seemed to have a very lackadaisical view on towards army discipline, which could have been a basis for their nickname. General McCown acknowledges this when Walker separated the Joshes and Chubs during the war, saying that General Walker thought "we had no discipline and ought to be discharged."

I am very interested to hear your thoughts on all of this.

Messages In This Thread

Joshes, Jakes and Chubs
Re: Joshes, Jakes and Chubs