Origins of the term "hillbilly" are obscure. According to Anthony Harkins in Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon, the term first appeared in print in a 1900 New York Journal article, with the definition: "a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammeled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires off his revolver as the fancy takes him."
Okay people, we have been going over this for a while and still haven't got this right. Someone felt the need to send this to me (they were being funny) so obviously I need to help redeem the hillbilly name. Or at least better define it than this snobbish definition.
So let's start and pick it apart piece by piece. "a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammeled white citizen of Alabama,who lives in the hills" For one the person ,albiet snobby, is ignorant! Every one knows hillbilly is spelled as one word. Not to mention his spelling is horrid. He did manage to get the free and undtrammeled part right. But puh-lease Alabama? We are from Misery (that's a Missouri joke, ha ha)or if you want to go back further (on Honeybear's side remember, I'm country-I married a hillbilly) they're Creole, or from the Louisana bayou. Hills are optional.
"has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases," Once again, how wrong can one Yankee snob be? They assume that frugal, means no money. My father in law may not drive a Lexus, just an old Dodge. But that's his run around vehicle. There is also his working truck, and the Grey Ghost his "purdy" vehicle. Owns more guns than a pawn shop, and if you need a couple hundred he has it somewhere close by. He's also the only person I know that actually owns everything of his. There is no mortgage, no bank loans, no one signed off behind him. The clothing is usually whatever blends in with the landscape of what your hunting. If it isn't hunting season, then the clothing is all about function. LOTS of pockets. Never know when you will need to use your pocket knife, pliers, string, wire, and don't forget your chaw. The talking part is dead on, they don't talk much but when they decide they got something to say, you ain't going to shut them up.
"drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires off his revolver as the fancy takes him."
Okay so one of my hillbillies drinks whiskey, but the other one does not. Honeybear never drinks. Okay in the old days, before he met me (the preacher's daughter), he drank whiskey. But come on that's profiling and it ain't right. And the whole firin' off a revolver any ole time he pleases? The first person to do that around my hillbillies will probably get his block knocked off. They believe whole heartedly in gun control. Shocking, right? But they always say if you don't use both hands, you don't got control. (Here Honeybear wants to tell you a principle of hillbilly living and gun control-if you can't grill it, don't kill it.)
So here's my definition of hillbilly. A man of infinite character, respects all, provides fiscally and nutritionally for his family, and is the man to get the job done. Honeybear read this, then said "That's all?" It would take several more blogs before I would ever have a handle of the definition of a hillbilly. But I will say this Yankees, quit trying to define us. You'll never get it.