The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #63785   Message #1038849
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
21-Oct-03 - 06:46 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Red River Valley, Gaelic?
Subject: RE: Origins: Red Riv Valley, Gaelic?
The tune was used for "Take it Down from the Flag, Irish Traitors" in the Irish Civil War. But I doubt very much if it was an Irish tune to start with.

Here's a page about the song:

"...According to Carl Sandburg, this song originated as "In the Bright Mohawk Valley" (1896) and became "The Red River Valley" in the western United States and Canada."

Canadian folk-lorist Edith Fowke shows "that it was known in at least five Canadian provinces before 1896, and was probably composed during the Red River Rebellion of 1870." And the people involved are probably Metis. (Some versions have "half-breed who loved you" rather than cowboy, and "dark maiden".

So it likely has "a non-cowboy origin" anyyway, even if it's not Irish.