Colin Donovan, in THE HAUNTED PLANTATION, has a ghost encounter with Confederate ghost soldiers (pictured to the right) who are hopelessly trapped in the past and still think they are fighting the Civil War. Well, they kind of are, but Shhh, no spoilers. As you can see, they haven't held up so well through the ravages of time. The one guy has a cannonball sized hole through his belly. Ouch! How would you like to bump into those guys in the woods? All alone! In the dark!
Colin is terrified and confused and tries to figure a way out of the mess, only to realize he's wearing a Yankees t-shirt. Of all the dumb luck. He tries to explain that it's only a baseball team, but the ghosts don't believe him. Professional baseball was just getting going in the 1860s and the New York Yankees didn't burst onto the scene until fifty years later. The angry apparitions think he's a Yankee spy relaying information to Lincoln's troops. A crime punishable by hanging. Gulp!
I won’t spoil what happens to Colin for you, read the book to find out, but have you ever wondered where the word Yankee comes from? I tried to find it out, and have come to the conclusion that nobody knows for sure. But here’s the story behind the words most likely origins:
In the mid-1600s, the Dutch settlers of the Northeast America’s brought cows with them across the Atlantic. The classic black and white dairy cows known to produce the best quality milk, they come from Holland. With perhaps some selective breeding with other fine cattle already in the colonies. So anyway, the Dutch immigrants started churning out lots of cheese for the colonists enjoyment. Think Gouda. Mmmm!
So what happened to the word Yankee through history? It seems to have different meanings for different folks. So glad you asked. Briefly:
By the mid-1700s, the Brits started using the term Yankee to refer to the American militia groups, particularly those in the northeast that wanted to break away from England and start their own country. By the 1800s, the South most often used the Yankee to describe anyone who lived in the North. And, of course, in the 1913, the New York Highlanders baseball team officially changed its name to the New York Yankees.
So, any way you slice it, ha ha, pun intended, what I noticed is the word Yankee always has close ties to the Northeastern US. Some people use the name as a derogatory term, while others wear it proudly as a badge of honor. I guess there are a lot of nicknames like that. All a matter of perspective, I guess!