Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » More 19th Century Knock Knock Jokes

More 19th Century Knock Knock Jokes

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 22, 2008

More rip-snortin’ humor from the original Keepapitchinin:


Allus invariable take 2 pillers with you, fasen won ov um onto the bak ov your hed and the other –

Wal, experens’l soon teech you ware tu put the uther piller.



A disconsolate widower, seeing the remains of his late wife lowered into the grave, exclaimed, with tears in his eyes: “Well, I’ve lost hogs. I’ve lost cows; but I never lost anything that cut me up like this.”



Sep. 14 1867.

Mr. Editor, Dear Sir;

I sit down and take my pen in hand to write you these few lines hoping they will find you the same as they leave us all at present. The celebration of the 4 of July passed off with much spirits. We was roused at early dawn by the raising of the Stars and Stripes, whereupon old mother earth was shaken to the foundation by the reverberating thunder of the military artillery, consisting of one Blunderbuss, two Yagers and a double-barreled Shotgun. After reading the “Declaration,” procession formed as follows: –

1st. Captain Blowhard and Martial Band.

2nd. Orator of the day (disguised in a clean shirt.)

3d. 4 elderly Virgins each bearing a child in her arms – Motto: “Encourage home manufacture.”

4th. 4 young Men with buckskin leggings and Mexican spurs; each having an Alabama bandanna arranged transversely over the breast and bearing a copy of your valuable paper in his left hand. Motto: “Keepapitchinin.”

5th. Citizens.

6th. Visitors, transients, strangers, loafers, etc.

7th. More visitors.

After marching around the square 4 times the procession turned into the school house – music burst forth, and the old men and young maidens went forth in the dance until the wee sma hours ayont the twal.

Please find enclosed $10.

I have, &c.,

G.O. Shute.

[Br. Shute, no one knows better than yourself that it is not our province to find fault, yet we must say your letter is not entirely satisfactory, in more respects than one. The money has not come to hand – and your report is rather behind time – rather late in the day. It won’t do – not for a live paper like ours. Ed.]



Tune. “From Greenland’s icy mountings.”

My grubbing-hoe is furnished –
My bundle’s ready tied;
Although indeed, to fit me out,
I want a ‘Muddy’ bride.

Then wherefore should I tarry?
Of single life I’m sick,
I’ve three straw beds already –
I only lack the tick.

The counsel is to marry.
Let us obey the law –
If you can find the ticking,
Why, I can furnish straw.


If the gentleman who stole one of our kid gloves the other day, will call at this office, it will afford us pleasure to present him with its mate, as it is of no further use to the proprietor.




  1. Are there any documented cases of dueling in Utah?

    It seems like Utah’s settlement was a bit past the heyday of the practice, but after reading the joke about the kid gloves (love the use of the word “present”), I have to ask.

    Certainly the memory of the practice would still be part of the cultural context and so ripe for humor.

    Comment by William Morris — May 22, 2008 @ 8:15 am

  2. D’ya know, William, I don’t know, and finding that out would be a fascinating project for me. I do know that when Thomas Kane came out during the Utah War, he was slighted by the soldiers at Camp Scott to such a degree that he challenged someone there to a duel — it didn’t come about, though.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 22, 2008 @ 8:32 am

  3. “Encourage home manufacture”

    Those guys were good!

    Comment by Mark IV — May 22, 2008 @ 8:42 am

  4. “Well, I’ve lost hogs. I’ve lost cows; but I never lost anything that cut me up like this.”

    That one . . . I can picture some of the unemotional farmers around whom I was raised saying something like that – but I can picture it coming from their wives even more clearly.

    Comment by Ray — May 22, 2008 @ 9:40 am

  5. Mark, that’s my favorite of this batch.

    Ray, it reminds me of one my dad used to tell about a conversation between two farmers: “Heered you buried your wife.” “Had to. Dead, you know.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 22, 2008 @ 2:49 pm

  6. I’ve come across the names of some dueling victims in Utah: John Mealey (shot in 1874, died in 1885); and Enos Blancett (1887). Actually, though, both men were apparently shot by their opponents while headed to the meeting place.

    Comment by Justin — May 22, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

  7. Thanks, Justin. Very interesting.

    And clearly the spirit of dueling had very much been lost if they were ambushed. Any word on what caused the duels and what dueling protocols were being used?

    Comment by William Morris — May 22, 2008 @ 6:53 pm

  8. #5 – Ardis, that might be even funnier.

    Comment by Ray — May 22, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

  9. I didn’t find much about protocols, William. The Mealey case (“A Fatal Shot”) arose from an (unspecified) altercation with a restaurant keeper.

    Blancett accused Henry Parrish of robbery and shooting a man.

    Comment by Justin — May 23, 2008 @ 11:56 am

  10. Thanks, Justin.

    I don’t believe that shotguns are traditional dueling weapons. 😉

    The description of the Mealey case uses language that hints at a more traditional approach — even though it ended with an ambush. Although since it was 10 years later, perhaps the description was made to appear more in line with dueling code than it actually was.

    It’s interesting that seconds are mentioned in neither article.

    Comment by William Morris — May 23, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

  11. Today I responded at a session of MHA in which one of the speakers challenged my interpretation of events in an article I published. I challenged his reinterpretation. Someone in the audience asked when he would be able to hear the challenger’s response to my rebuttal.

    The only possible answer? “Our seconds are negotiating that now.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 23, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

  12. Here is the story of a more formal duel that apparently fizzled out. (The article is pretty difficult to read.)

    Comment by Justin — May 23, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

  13. Indeed, Ardis.

    Part of my interest in this subject was sparked, of course, by “Affairs of Honor” by Joanne Freeman, but it’s been something that was on my mind even before that because of some nascent thoughts/scribblings related to a fiction project.

    My favorite part of Freeman’s book is her reproduction of the 1792 “Plan for the Improvement of the Art of Paper War” by Francis Hopkinson.

    It culminates with a calling someone a coward in five line pica. And then since that is as far as the art of printing can take things so the next step is an actual duel.

    No kidding, Justin. I was able to make some of it out, but not much. But thanks for the source. I’ll have to see if I can glean some more details from it later — it’s about time to go out with my wife for Indian food.

    Comment by William Morris — May 23, 2008 @ 5:48 pm

  14. Re Ardis’s #2, Thomas L. Kane challenged Col. Albert Sidney Johnston to a duel at Camp Scott, Utah Territory (near Fort Bridger) in March 1858 over a perceived slight. Kane could not get anyone to act as a second but still insisted on going through with the drill. The conflict was resolved when Johnston sent Kane a note stating that he intended no slight. It was not an apology but Kane considered it a major triumph and was “satisfied.” Mathew Grow wrote a fine article about this incident that appeared in “UHQ” several years ago.

    Comment by Bill MacKinnon — May 25, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI