The following four forms of the same colloquial expression have reference to stating the one that uses them of saying: “I will (or agree, accept) to something another suggests or did. They are: “Yes siree,” “Yes sir e Bob,” “Yes siree re-Bob,” and “Yes siree, Bob!” In using the name Bob has reference to whoever the person expressing it is talking with. The term “siree” is a modification of “sir.” Some believe it originated in West Virginia, which means: “Yes, absolutely!”
Using the same first name in a generic manner has been done for many years, maybe for several centuries. Often somebody may ask another to “put your John Henry on the dotted line!” Or, “Sign your John Hancock!” This is usually used in addressing another regardless of what their name is. It came about when John Hancock of Massachusetts signed his name in bigger letter than did others who signed the American Declaration of Independence. The changing of that expression came a century later to “John Henry.” Why it was changed from “Hancock” to “Henry” is uncertain.
The term “Yankee” has been used to refer to all Americans down to those in more limited areas of our country. Sometimes it is shortened to “Yank” by those of other nations in speaking of all Americans. In this form it is usually used in a derogative manner. Within our nation it is often used of those in the northeast, especially of New Englanders. As time went by baseball entered into the picture. A professional baseball team in New York was named the New York Yankees. With their rivalry with the Boston Red Sox it became an insult of those in New England to be called a “Yankee” unless they were a fan of the Yankee baseball team. Southerners look upon anyone north of the Mason-Dixon Line as a Yankee. To a southerner it would be an insult to refer to him as a “Yankee.” The precise origin of that expression is uncertain. It was first found to be used in 1758 by British General James Wolfe in speaking of New England soldier under his command. He said, “I can afford you two companies of Yankees, and the more because they are better for ranging and scouting than either work or vigilance.” Some believe the term Yankee was derived from the Dutch. Their word “Janke means “little Jan” or “little John.” They used it as a nickname as early as the 1680s in referring to pirates.