The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #126347   Message #2862571
Posted By: John Minear
12-Mar-10 - 09:01 AM
Thread Name: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
Subject: RE: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
"Sally Brown" Part 7

I want to turn my attention this morning to what I have loosely called:

"Genre Usage"

Way back on the first of February, I put up a tentative list of different "genres". This is not a very good word for this, but maybe it will work for now. Here is the post:


I was trying to see how a chanty might have traveled from one area of life at sea to another, or at least to see how widespread it might have been. What we managed to demonstrate was that the documentation for the use of these chanties by Slave Traders, Pirates, Whalers, etc. is pretty slim to non-existent. But it did lead us on to a good look at the African American influence on chanties and to what I think is a very fruitful hypothesis by Gibb about the origin of "chanties, proper". [ If you are just coming to this thread, you will have to take the time to back up and catch up.]

My category of "Genre Usage" is a revisiting of this earlier attempt. When we look at "Sally Brown" in this light, we do turn up some interesting information. Looking at the "Historical Informants" list, here is what I have.

{1830} Curtis, Moses A., "Sally Was A Fine Girl", Cape Fear River, North Carolina as a rowing song

note: I wonder if "Sally Brown" might have begun as a "rowing song".*

{April, 1837} Marryat, Capt. C.B., Portsmouth, England, on Western Ocean packet to New York
{Sept. 11, 1842} Baker, Isaac, "The Tasker is the thing to roll", a whaler
{1861-1872} Whall, 1909-1910 East Indiamen
{late 1865 (Lighter, 2/26)} Adams, Robert Chamblet, "Walk along, my Sally Brown" in Genoa, Italy as Virginia tobacco is being unloaded.
{late 1860's (Lighter 2/1)} Harding, West Indies -Jamaica in the 1930's as a "log-rolling" song
{1869} Richard Maitland, Atlantic, San Francisco, Blackball Line to Liverpool, Hong Kong, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Scotland
{1869-1880} Bullen, [ weighing anchor & flywheel pumps] Bournemouth, England; West Indies, Gulf of Mexico ports
{1870s} "Old Man Cuffee" who died at age 82 in 1938, a whaler, from Sag Harbor, NY        
{1870s} George Pattison/capstan & Malcolm Forbes - "old men" in 1924-25, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
{1872} James Henderson, whaler - Dundee, Scotland
{March 19, 1875} Harlow, [capstan], from Boston to Melbourne and Sydney, Java, and back to NY
{1884} John Mason, [anchor capstan] San Francisco, CA
{1885} Capt. Patrick Tayluer, from Boston, throughout the British Empire, Africa
{1889-1901} Colcord, [windless and capstan] Portland (ME)-Buenos Aires-Rosario-Boston, New York-Penang- Singapore-Shanghai-Hong Kong-New York; Portland (ME)-Buenos Aires-Rosario-Boston, New York-Port Elizabeth-Durban-Newcastle(NSW)-Mollendo-Astoria-Portland(OR)-Santa Rosalia-Victoria(BC)-Tacoma, New York-Hong Kong-New York
{1902} King, Stanton Henry, [windlass] Philadelphia, on the Delaware River, outward bound to Japan
{October, 1914} Hurley, Frank, Shackleford Expedition to Antartica        
{1915} Shay, [capstan], off the coast of Yucatan (?)
{1922-1945} Hugill [hauling, capstan], Liverpool, England; Cape Horn, West Indies, Cape Verde Island
{1929} Capt. John Gullage of Newfoundland
{1960's} Abrahams, 1974 ["Feeny Brown"] Tobago/St. Kitts

We have "Sally" as a rowing song in the Tidewater region of North Carolina. We have her at least known by three whalers: Baker, Cuffee, and Henderson. She sailed on the Western Ocean packets: Marryat and Maitland. She was used by the East Indiamen (Whall). She was used for loading and unloading according to Adams in Genoa, Italy. She was used in Gulf Ports trade (Harding, Bullen, Shay), and in the West Indies (Harding, Bullen, Hugill, Abrahams). She probably made it out to the Far East (Adams, Maitland, Harlow, Colcord, King). And she did go around the Horn to San Francisco according to Mason. And she was used in the Australian trade according to Harlow, Pattison, Forbes, Colcord, and perhaps Hugill (did he sail to Australia?). She was known in Canada by Gullage and probably traveled there with others (Maitland), and could have been used in the timber business there. And finally she was perhaps used on a trip of exploration to Antartica (she shows up in a footnote to the Shackleford Expedition. [ I haven't seen this book and don't know what the footnote is referring to.]

Once again, it is probably safe to say that she got around, and was popular with all kinds of folks, for most of the 19th century and on into the 20th century.