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January 19, 2017


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Ray McKoski

Other explanations of the origin of the term “sucker” for Illinoisans are less flattering. One is that most of the workers in the early lead mines in Galena came from southwestern Missouri. They came up the Mississippi river in the spring to work and returned home down the Mississippi in the fall. According to some, that trip was reminiscent of the trip suckers (similar to carp) made up the river in spring and back down again in fall. Another theory is that the term was used because early travelers in Illinois would suck on reeds placed down "crawfish" holes to get a drink of fresh water. The Chicago Tribune carried an interesting story about the origin of the term including a humorous version by Stephen Douglas,

Ellen Wertheimer

It is glorious to find that the wonderful Ronnie Gilbert has not been forgotten! Thank you for posting this.

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