Thanks Abby Sale, for posting those lyrics to "Oh, My Rolling River." Will have to try singing that version sometime, and add them to my collection. Think most sailors (or seamen, "Sailor is a landlubbers word.") went to sea to get away from troubles on land. I'm sure many of them saw this as a worls of misery. At sea, no one but the captain had any authority over them...and nothing could reach them. Somehow, I've always associated chantys not so much with actual work, but with time "off watch" when the men thought about home and what they'd left on shore.
Leeneia, what part of the Missouri do you live on? Are you in Nebraska or NW Missouri? Crossing the river to get to Kansas leads me to believe you're in one or the other? I'm in SE Ohio now, but before I went to NYC (the last place before here) I spent 5 years in KC. That's a nice area. Had spent 9 years growing up there as well.