The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #126347   Message #2825705
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
30-Jan-10 - 02:19 PM
Thread Name: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
Subject: RE: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
Parrish, Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands, gives no information about "Haul Away, I'm a Rollin' King."

She does discuss some terms she heard from laborers, stevedores and sailors which may be new to some of us.

Roll ballast- stones which the windjammers came loaded with were landed on a temporary dock, and rolled in wheelbarrows to waste land. There are islands of ballast between St. Simon's and Brunswick.

Ocone (river) boxes- monstrous square boxes, made with rough planks; cotton is piled on them to keep it dry.

wing-tier- means just what the word implies [?]

kelson knees- a line of timber placed inside a ship along the floor timbers and parallel with the keel (see OED).

beam-dog- a grappling iron with a fang which clutches the log or piece of timber to be handled.

Block and tickle- block and tackle.

Narrow trunkin'- method of stowing timber. Learned from Irish stevedores.

Loading a vessel- "The head stevedore was a white man who contracted to load a vessel for so much per thousand feet. Big ships employed four colored stevedores called headers and used derricks; schooners needed only three headers- one outside and two inside ["headers were the stevedores responsible for the proper loading of a vessel"- Colcord]. Short lumber went into the hatch, but for long lumber, you had to "knock out the port," which was generally in the bow.
"In stowing cotton, ..... the bale was lowered into the hold in a sling with three hooks attached, something like an ice-hook with an extra prong. Then it was rammed tightly into place .... by a "snilo"- a post against which the cotton jack was placed.
"Pullin' lumber meant shoving it on a long greased skid, waist-high, made up of a series of carpenter's horses. There were generally four men at one end, and the same number at the other."

Driver- The important Negro slave whose task was to see that the orders of the white overseer were carried out. [Later replaced by the term 'Cap'n'].

Some of these terms may appear in chanteys and other work songs.