The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #56224   Message #3426226
Posted By: maeve
26-Oct-12 - 12:13 AM
Thread Name: Epithet for English Immigrants in Song?
Subject: RE: Epithet for English Immigrants in Song?
"Pictured above is St. Mary's Parochial School in Fall River, MA. This elementary school, situated in the Irish Corky Row neighborhood, is where Bernard attended school as a child. Young Bernard got into many a fight with the "Irish" youngsters who called him a "jick", a derogatory term for someone from England. Ironically, although Bernard was born in England, had a British surname, and probably had a bit of a Lancastrian accent, he was actually half Irish, with both of his parents having Irish mothers, and was Catholic.

According to the H.L. Mencken in his book American Language, jick or jickie was a word used by Portuguese immigrants in Bristol County, Massachusetts to describe an Englishman. The word jick is referenced in the book Divided Society: The Ethnic Experience in America as follows:

    In Fall River the name "jick," implying more contempt than any of the others, was coined by Portuguese mill laborers who resented their Lancashire overlords."

Then there is this:

"...I remember my parents and relatives (in Rhode Island) referring to English folk as "jickies" (NOT in a derogatory way) and never knew what it meant. About 15 years ago, because of a conversation with a co-worker, I started researching it and finally found someone (I think the arts and entertainment editor of the Providence Journal) who laughed when I asked about it and said it referred to a specific job some of the English did in the textile mills (in England???) and the job was using a "jickie" or something like that.
No songs yet; sorry.