E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
American slang for ones last shilling. A miners term, called in England the stone-head, and in America, the Bed-rock, the hard basis rock. When miners get to this bed the mine is exhausted. Im come down to the bed-rock, i.e. my last dollar.
No, no! continued Tennessees partner, hastily, Ill play this yer hand alone. Ive come down to the bed-rock; its just this: Tennessee, thar, has played it pretty rough and expensive, like, on a stranger Now whats the fair thing? Some would say more, and some would say less. Heres seventeen hundred dollars in coarse gold and a watchits about all my pileand call it square.Bret Harte: Tennessees Partner.