""Why Do we Say 'A small town is a jerkwater town?'
     "In the early days of railroads, trains stopped at wayside streams for water.  The practice was called 'jerking water' because the water was carried in leather buckets, or 'jerked,' to the train.  The original jerkwater town had nothing to recommend it except that trains could refill their water supply there.  So jerkwater has come to be applied to any small or insignificant place."