Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Appalachian Dialect

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Jack Robinson

My life in appalachia Jack Roberson

Tell me: Who is Jack Roberson and why was he so quick?

As you can see inquiring minds want to know who Jack Roberson was and why he was so fast.

Actually it was Jack Robinson-but since we grew up with the Robersons just over the mountain in Moccasin Creek the surname has forever been changed to Roberson for us.

I hardly ever hear the phrase “quick as Jack Roberson” or “before you could say Jack Roberson” these days but as a kid I heard it fairly often.

I like to use unique phrases on Chatter and Chitter- just so they’ll ask me questions. While they’re peppering me with questions-I let on like they are so misinformed for not understanding my wit.

Honestly-I don’t have a clue who Jack Robinson was or why he was so quick. But I LOVE that his name and his speed are still alive in my Appalachian home today.¬†Frank C. Brown documented the usage of various Jack Robinson phrases in NC in the early 1900s.

Seems my 2 birds are not the only inquiring minds-go here to read more about the famed Jack Robinson and who he might have been.


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  • Reply
    Linnie Knight
    November 30, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    I’ve heard this phrase through the years. But the one my mama used to refer to for quickness was Two shakes of a lamb’s tale. “She can get that done in two shakes of a lamb’s tale.”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    What is wrong with me? Jack Robinson is the husband of Here’s To You Mrs. Robinson. I knew I knew her. It just took this long to sink in. Ask the girls, they know her better than I do.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 1:34 am

    My mother and father both used the phrase frequently. It always amused me as a child because the only Mr Robinson I knew was a gentleman who rode past our house on his bicycle, very, very, slowly. So slowly in fact that he sometimes fell off!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Who is them faces in your pitcher today? I can’t tell if they are Chatter and Chitter or your left over Jack-O-Lanterns from Halloween. Whichever, it skeered the poop out of me!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    November 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Tipper,it seems to me that Jack Robinson name has faded with time. I don’t reckon I ever heard it used in our colloquial ways of talk-en over in the Matheson Cove. It is good to see those beautiful girls are still keeping you busy!
    Eva Nell
    p.s. Thanks for the note on our “Fiddler” signing this weekend at the HISTORICAL CELEBRATIONS around the Square in Hayesville. I sure hope it doesn’t SNOW!!!

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    November 12, 2013 at 10:53 am

    When it was time to go to bed or we were sleepy, my Granny would use the phrase “time to go to Peter Noddy’s house”. I use that with my kids too and not long ago they were asking me who “Peter Noddy” was. I ask my Granny and she said she didn’t know, she said her mother always said that but if she was guessing she probably got it from a story, poem or something like that.

  • Reply
    Ray P. Algee
    November 12, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Is this the same Jack, “…that jumped over the candle stick?”

  • Reply
    November 12, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Haven’t looked at the Jack Robinson site yet (still use the reference – – and think its cool that one of your readers is “Robin Jackson”considering today’s topic) – –
    – – but have to ask: Is the raising one eyebrow and lowering the other common in your family? I do it the opposite way – so does my daughter – but not anyone else in the family. – it is rare enough around here that when my daughter helped chaperone a field trip for one of my classes some years ago I had students come running to me shouting “Ms.B – she does it too – your meanin’ bizness eyebrow! – – My daughter was mortified that she did anything like me!! That said – this particular field trip went much more smoothly than most. . . .

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 12, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Whoa, I just crawled out frum under the kevers! My blurry eyes seen Jack something or tother!
    I said to myself, self that Tipper is speakin’ of Jack Frost this morning. As the fog was clearing in my brain and eyes and after a sip of my caffiene, I see that you are referring to Jack Robinson…Wow, that name can open up a whole can of worms…So many “fast” folks were named Jack or Jackie Robinson…The name and sayin’ is hard to trace…
    My Grandmother would say, “and make it Jack Sprat and don’t doddle!”…I don’t remember no Robinson or Robertson!
    Jack Spratt was a lean feller and ate no fat so I say he was purty darn fast!
    Then there is a fairly fast Jack, at least in part of one poem…
    Jack be Nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick…(until the second phrase) Jack jumped high, Jack jumped low, Jack jumped over and burnt his toe!
    Of course we know of Jack and Jill and his fatal walk up the hill and Jill came tumbling after..He weren’t fast til he rolled down the hill (on slick Maple leaves, I think it was?)
    Then there is Little Jack Horner who sat in the corner, sticking his fingers (aka thumb) in the pies, I guess he wasn’t too fast, gomin’ and messin’ up the pies! That is till his Mother found out!
    There are so many references to Jack and we all know that most Nursery Rhymns are political in the nature of the times…
    Let us not forget the Roberson of Duck Dynasty fame…Si! Who is always referring to Jack…”That’s a fact Jack” and Jack this and Jack that. I sort think this Jack might be the slowest one…LOL Just kiddin’! Love ya, Si!
    Thanks Tipper,
    I’m going to my bookshelf and hunt my Old English Histories Of Nursery Rhymes (political etc.) and see if I can find more about this “Fast Jack fellow” Robinson or Robertson!…
    I think I saw some white stuff fallin’ and I don’t think it was soot!

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    November 12, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I’ve heard the name used like that by the last generation, but it seems to have lost its usage around here with their passing.

  • Reply
    Gary Fletcher
    November 12, 2013 at 9:37 am

  • Reply
    November 12, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I never heard that one. Maybe it was because so many Robinsons lived in the town where I grew up. We even have a town called Robinson Creek where I attended seventh and eighth grade.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Maybe he was the Jack who jumped over the candlestick. In truth, this was a new phrase for me, but I plan to try it on one of my local friends. Thanks for another help to keep me learning.

  • Reply
    Robin Jackson
    November 12, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I had a picture in my head of a Jack Robinson I once knew, but it was a just a flash and now it’s gone.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    November 12, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Interesting! I like the sailor one. I took a ferry once from Portsmouth to France across the English Channel.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 12, 2013 at 7:08 am

    My mother used to use the phrase all the time. It never occurred to me to wonder who he was though.

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