The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #5338   Message #2131449
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
22-Aug-07 - 05:48 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Old Shady
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Shady
From reminiscences of General Sherman about Old Shady, published in "North American Review," Oct. 1888; "Old Shady, with a Moral."

In describing an incident connected with the siege of Vicksburg, he said:
"A great many negroes, slaves, had escaped within the Union lines. Some were employed as servants by the officers, who paid them regular wages, some were empoyed by the quartermaster, and the larger number went North, free, in the Government chartered steamboats.
"Among the first class named was a fine, hearty 'darkey,' known as 'Old Shady,' who was employed by General McPherson as steward and cook at his headwuarters in Mrs. Edward's house, in Vicksburg. Hundreds still living, among whom I may safely name General W. E. Strong, of Chicago, General Hickenlooper, of Cincinnati, Mrs. General Grant, Fred Grant, Mrs. Sherman and myselg, well remember 'Old Shady.'" After paying a glowing tribute to the colored people in the article quoted, General Sherman adds:
"What more beautiful sentiment than that of my acquaintance, 'Old Shady': 'Good-bye, Mass' Jeff, good-bye Mis'r Stephens, 'Scuse dis niggah for takin' his leavins' -polite and gentle to the end. Burns never said anything better."

Old Shady seems to have derived his name from the song. He was not the author of either the words or the music, as general Sherman learned and freely admitted soon after the publication of the article. When Mrs. Hanby read it, she wrote to the General, sending him a copy of the song which was duly credited by the publisher to her husband. She received the following courteous reply:
"Mrs. Kate Hanby: Dear Madam- I have received yours, with enclosure, and note the exception you take regarding an article from my pen in the October (1888) number of the N. A. Review. Shortly after publication of that article I received a long letter from the subject of your husband's song, 'Old Shady,' then living, I believe, at Grand Forks, Dak., in which he disowned the authorship of the song but claimed the distinction of the title. Should I ever have occasion to refer to the subject in a future article, I shall certainly correct the misstatement. ....."
Extracted from "Ohio History," The Scholarly Journal of the Ohio Historical Society, vol. 14, pp. 195-196, article by C. B. Galbreath, "Some Writers of Ohio: Benjamin Russel Hanby, Author of Darling Nellie Gray."
The text of the song "Ole Shady," is given pp. 194-195.

The journal has some interesting articles on the underground railroad.
The journal is on line,