One of the prevailing slang words of the working class culture of Lower Manhattan in the late 1840s and into the period of the American Civil War. They spoke a unique slang, with phrases such as "Hi-hi," "Lam him" and "Cheese it" all derived from Irish and Cokney slang.
Strong on Music: The New York Music Scene in the Days of George Templeton Strong. Volume I: Resonances, 1838-1849. The University of Chicago Press.
Lawrence, Vera Brodsky (1988).
Cheese it! the cops!!!