The term “Cracker” has at least four possible origins. As used by Governor Grant, the term probably derived from an old English usage, that referred to country folk as “cracking” wise, or cracking jokes. In later generations, country people relied on barreled crackers as a main food; large 4 by 4 inch soda crackers, much like modern saltines, were a staple of troops on both sides during the Civil War. Slaves may have used the term “Cracker” to refer to overseers and others who cracked whips when punishing or abusing slaves; the term may have acquired a racial overtone from this usage.
—Guide to Florida Pioneer Sites 9781561648054