Post by Jerry Friedman Post by Pavel Svinchnik
I've always interpreted the phrase "Lord willing and the creek don't rise" as referring to a creek not flooding but this morning my piano teacher said he'd heard that it referred to the Creek Indians uprising. I checked it out and found that he was correct, so we should always capitalize "Creek" when writing this phrase.
I'm not going to believe that without the original source.
I can find only one use of "the creek don't rise" before 1950 at
Google Books. It's from /Graham's American Monthly Magazine of
Literature, Art, and Fashion/ in 1851, apparently, but it's a snippet
view, so I can't be sure.
"Yet here I stand before you a speckled hermit, wrapt in the risen-sun
counterpane of my popilarity, an' intendin', Providence permittin',
and the creek don't rise, to 'go it blind!' Tirant man aint a goin'
to be able to pick himself up arter the 'cumelated talons of this
Convention hes strickin down on his devoted hed like vials o' wrath,
or a thousand o' brick, (taint no odds which of them figgerative
inuendos you take feller-sufferers, both 's expressive.)"
They don't write 'em like that any more.
I'm skeptical about the "Creeks" too.
In modern times the saying may have been popularized by Hank Williams.
This site reports on a CD with "a complete 15-minute Mother’s Best Flour
show, recorded on January 9, 1951" [broadcast from WSM in Nashville]
"Hank then closed the show with his famous line, “If the good Lord’s
willing and the Creeks don’t rise …”, and relays a message to their
housekeeper, “Lola put the coffee pot on and the biscuits in the oven,
I’ll be there soon if not sooner?"
(Note the capital C, which I presume is not audible in Hank's pronunciation.)