If I can get them to thinking about anything else but letters home and if I can get them to forget their bellies, I guess they'll be all right. (source)
I just came across the phrase "get them to thinking" and it grates. I would've used "get them to think" instead of "get them to thinking". Interestingly later in the sentence "get them to forget" appears. I have not heard of "get someone to doing" used in speech or seen it in writing. It seemingly has the same meaning as "get them to think". Google Books seems to have enough hits to convince me this is not a typo.
... a mistake busting the big press boys on the head — that knock on the head might get them to thinking and the big presses — aside from an earlier New York Times and some editions of The Christian Science Monitor — stopped thinking with ... (source)
If we could get them to thinking about something else, maybe they would loosen their grip. (source)
"Get them to doing", on the other hand, is much more uncommon, as I would expect. Why is "get them to thinking" used? Is it regional/dialectal?