Mudcat Café message #1352450 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #50747   Message #1352450
Posted By: Lighter
09-Dec-04 - 07:47 PM
Thread Name: Origin Of John Henry--part TWO
Subject: RE: Origin Of John Henry--part TWO
My experience in the South is that the expression "John Henry" is widely used by whites and blacks alike to mean "signature," what Yankees call your "John Hancock." I don't know how long this has been going on, but if it goes back long enough it could be that "John Henry" in the ballad is just a made-up name for a generic character.

This is a question nobody has ever addressed. If true, any search for the "historical John Henry" becomes more difficult indeed.