Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do you know Bonnie Clabber?

While we were e-searching the origins of "cyarn" (the source of the ultimate stink) we got off on a tangent, wondering if cyarn may have come from Scottish. The spelling of some Scottish words contain "augh" and possibly cyarn might be cyaughn. Not so, not so.

A few miles from Soperton is a river site in original Montgomery County called Bonnie Clabber Bluff. The late Clayton Stephens showed us an early map of the Oconee River on which the site was listed in the correct spelling "Baugh-naugh Claugh-baugh".

CORRECTION 01/18/09:
A mental twist caused an error. While Berryhill Bluff is on the east side of the river (original Montgomery County), Bonnie Clabber Bluff, GA 30428, is on the west side in Indian territory until 1800 when it became part of original Wilkinson County and in 1807, original Laurens County. It is a few miles from Soperton as the crow flies, but about a half-hour drive. The county road from Ga. 19 and Rock Spring Rd. is properly spelled Baughnaughclaughbaugh!
For a map try

Our e-search came up with a genealogical reference of the Godwin family:
"About Clotilda Godwin by Mildred M Holladay [ca 1938]
Unfortunately her ideas in general have not come down to us but some of her spelling methods still linger--among them that dairy delicacy bonny clabber, which she spelled b-a-u-g-h N-a-u-g-h c-l-a-u-g-h b-a-u-g-h."

From google books we found:
"Virginia Cookery-Book
* Spelled in dictionaries Baugh-naugh Claugh-baugh.
"delightful dish may be enjoyed daily in hot weather. It is simply milk that through heat has "turned" or thickened until it is of the consistence of baked custard. It should then be set upon ice, or in the coolest part of the spring-house, and set to table not a moment before it is to be helped out."

There is no mention of the milk being sour, only thickened by heat. Honey and spices could be added to make a wonderful dessert. Was it like yogurt?

"Main Entry: bon·ny·clab·ber
Etymology:Irish bainne clabair, from bainne milk + clabair, genitive of clabar sour thick milk
Northern & Midland : clabber"

From The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
"bon·ny·clab·ber (bn-klbr)
n. New England & Central Atlantic U.S.
Thick, soured milk eaten with cream and sugar, honey, or molasses.
[Irish Gaelic bainne clabair : bainne, milk (from Middle Irish, drop, milk, from Old Irish bannae, drop) + probably clabair, genitive of clabar, dasher of a churn.]"

From Wikipedia
"clabber appears to have come from the many Scottish nannies who at one time took care of the children of the Virginia gentry. In fact, clabber is still sometimes referred to as bonny clabber (originally "bainne clàbar", from Scottish Gaelic bainne - milk , and clàbar - mud)."

And if you Google the name of the bluff's current spelling, you will find that Bonnie Clabber is a real lady from California!

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