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Folklore: The term: 'Hiram Green'

MickyMan 08 Jul 18 - 08:17 AM
MickyMan 08 Jul 18 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,paperback 08 Jul 18 - 10:08 AM
C-flat 09 Jul 18 - 03:21 AM
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Subject: Folklore: The term: 'Hiram Green'
From: MickyMan
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 08:17 AM

Could anyone give me any details on the origins or background of the term/name 'Hiram Green'? It is used in a local song from Rhode Island about 'Old Kingston Jail' in the following rhyming couplet: "He's done his time at Wethersfield, Old Auburn he has seen, And he robbed the contribution box that slippery Hiram Green". Based on the context and preceding adjective, it does not come across as a flattering appellation. Somebody verified that it is an outdated and obscure derogatory expression, but does anyone know where or who it comes from? Was it Rhode Island-specific or more widespread? Google searching does not produce much more than advertisements for a Dutch perfume company whose founder bears the same moniker... Thanks for any info.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The term: 'Hiram Green'
From: MickyMan
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 08:28 AM

Actually, I am moving this request here from a previous Facebook search of a friend.   Perhaps some mudcatters have something to add.

- We know that it was a name of a pre-prohibition whiskey, but did the term predate the booze?
- It seems to be a derogatory term.






Here's what moves over when I copy and paste the original thread from Facebook.   (There's probably a better way to do this)   Scrolling through might get some Mudatter minds churning in other directions. Many thanks




Benedict Gagliardi
21 hrs ·
Pardon my open discussion of this term if it turns out to be more offensive than I currently understand, but could anyone give me any details on the origins or background of the term/name 'Hiram Green'? It is used in a local song from Rhode Island about 'Old Kingston Jail' in the following rhyming couplet: "He's done his time at Wethersfield, Old Auburn he has seen, And he robbed the contribution box that slippery Hiram Green". Based on the context and preceding adjective, it does not come across as a flattering appellation. Marc Bernier verified that it is an outdated and obscure derogatory expression, but does anyone know where or who it comes from? Was it Rhode Island-specific or more widespread? Google searching does not produce much more than advertisements for a Dutch perfume company whose founder bears the same moniker... Thanks for any info. And I hope this curious question caused no offense.
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6Armand Dale Aromin and 5 others
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Keith Barrette
Keith Barrette Certainly seems like a name that shows up in a bunch of places:

https://www.loc.gov/resource/ihas.200206435.0?st=gallery...See More
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LOC.GOV
How hiram green wrecked the submarine
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Heidi Slaney
Heidi Slaney https://youtu.be/jUefPt2-Rec
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YOUTUBE.COM
Billy Murray - Hiram Green, Goodbye 1905…
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Michael Carbonneau
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Fanginel Lewis
Fanginel Lewis I know that in some cultures, there are specific cultural characters who are created to be stupid, as the butt of a joke. Anansi the Spider, from just so stories, is a character who is stupid and mischievous at the same time (...See More
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YOUTUBE.COM
Anansi and the Pot of Beans (Animated Stories for Kids)
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Vasily Kondrashov
Vasily Kondrashov I'd always had more the impression that Anansi isn't stupid so much as given easily to impulse. He can be very clever, but he's always tripped up by his greed or pursuit of pleasure.
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Fanginel Lewis
Fanginel Lewis Vasily Kondrashov I agree. He's a caricature.
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Michael Carbonneau
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Földi Krisztina
Földi Krisztina Alan just did a 38 minute research and came in "ask me anything about hiram green".
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Heidi Slaney
Heidi Slaney Not quite sure this fits, but: http://www.sueoyna.com/folktale/folktale.php?id=170
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SUEOYNA.COM
Folk tale : How Hiram Spent His Shrimp Money - Sueoyna.com
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Charlie Ipcar
Charlie Ipcar That's a new "old one" to me!
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Heather Livingston
Heather Livingston seems like it was the name of a pre-prohibition whiskey
1
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Heather Livingston
Heather Livingston "a quality blend in the low price field" https://www.ebay.com.au/.../OLD-WIDE.../223030636577...
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EBAY.COM.AU
OLD WIDE HIRAM GREEN WHISKEY AD Single Vintage Playing Card | eBay
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Benedict Gagliardi
Benedict Gagliardi wow. this name pops up everywhere.
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Mike Livingston
Mike Livingston But was the whiskey named after a legendary person or vice versa?
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Heather Livingston
Heather Livingston Right I was wondering that too; the whiskey goes back to at least the early 1900s. I also found a photo of two Iroquois men labeled "Hiram Green and Dancing Jack, 1904" with no other information.
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Heather Livingston
Heather Livingston I would assume in that case that the men were nicknamed derogatorily after the whiskeys.
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Michael Carbonneau

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Heidi Slaney
Heidi Slaney Related to the song? https://picclick.ca/vintage-Postcard-1910-s-Hiram-Green...

My best guess is that someone who was a Hiram Green was a rube.... a foolish man and a rake?
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PICCLICK.CA
VINTAGE POSTCARD 1910 s "Hiram Green Good Bye" Hot air Balloon. -…
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Daniel Accardi
Daniel Accardi Hm...Google Ngrams shows this as popping up in the corpus first around 1830, with a first big spike around 1880 and another near 1905. Use shot up again in the 1980s, which maybe has something to do with this perfume line that comes up when you google it?

You could check out Punchinello, a satirical magazine printed in 1870; "Hiram Green" was one of several characters writing in opinionated letters to the editor (he was supposed to be an old man lately a Justice of the Peace in New York). You can read a few of them! (https://books.google.com/books?id=63otAQAAMAAJ...)

More likely is the Marcia Schuyler Trilogy by Grace Livingston Hill (https://www.gracelivingstonhill.com/marcia-schuyler-trilogy). In the second novel, "Phoebe Deane", Hiram Green was the name of a dastardly neighbor attempting to secure himself an eligible bride, much to the chagrin of the protagonist. It's hard to tell precisely how popular or influential a given bit of culture was at any given time, but the book came out in 1909 - think it'd be reasonable to assume your song might've cribbed the villain's name for a timely reference? Given what others have dug up here, I wonder if the reference was intended to indicate he's a drunkard, particular to the whiskey brands in question.
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BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM.PE
Punchinello
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Daniel Accardi replied · 3 Replies
Dan Milner
Dan Milner Never hoid da woid, as dey say in Brooklyn, Nu Yawk dat is.
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Like · Reply · 16h
Lynn Feingold
Lynn Feingold Try asking Sheila Kay Adams, Elizabeth LaPrelle, and Judy Cook. I have a hunch this moniker was imported into Rhode Island from elsewhere.
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Marc Bernier
Marc Bernier For what it's worth, I too have done a fair amount of digging about since our initial conversation Ben. I can find absolutely nothing to substantiate my claim.
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Alan Brown
Alan Brown Wethersfield is probably a reference to the Connecticut State Prison there, the second state prison in the state of Connecticut. Used between 1827 and 1963.
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Marc Bernier
Marc Bernier Oh it definitely is. The State prison stood on the site that the Ct. State Motor Vehicle offices occupy today, or did 20 years ago when I lived there any way. I was once told that some of the DMV buildings were actually part of the original prison complex but I'm not buying that. Those buildings are newer than that. However the CT DoC does still have offices somewhere in that complex.
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Heidi Slaney
Heidi Slaney Marc Bernier Heh. Pretty sure I’ve been to that one.
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Michael Carbonneau
Michael Carbonneau That DMV certainly can feel like a prison. :)
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Michael Carbonneau

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Subject: RE: Folklore: The term: 'Hiram Green'
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 10:08 AM

Ewww, faceboot vomit... seriously though I'd check the Connecticut Masonic Lodge War:

"A bitter Masonic war; Hiram Lodge's revolt against the Connecticut Grand Lodge, 1887"


The green may be some sort of Masonic Rite symbolism.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The term: 'Hiram Green'
From: C-flat
Date: 09 Jul 18 - 03:21 AM

Nothing to do with freemasonry.
The name Hiram Abif is a familiar part of the masonic legend and there has been many other Hirams since, so maybe Hiram Green is just a name?


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