The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #3182028
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
05-Jul-11 - 04:54 PM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
1913        Douglas, Charles Noel. _Uncle Charlie's Story Book._ Brooklyn, NY: Charles Noel Douglas.

A story in this collection, "Ghosts of the Mississippi," makes passing reference to the idea of singing whilst stowing cotton. The year given is 1888 and the place is St. Louis on the Mississippi. The story is fiction, but based in some reality (the boat checks out), even if the time isn't accurate. It sounds like this cotton-stowing, on steamboats, is to carry the cotton down river to port, so it is not necessarily the cotton "screwing" we are generally concerened with.

(The story narrated by the pilot is one of actual facts, the author having merely tried to record the various incidents as they fell from the lips of one who participated in one of the many grim tragedies enacted on the turbid bosom of the great Father of Waters.)
It was in the fall of the year i888 that I was a passenger on board the Mississippi steamer, Annie P. Silver, which in those days plied between St. Louis and New Orleans….

I found myself standing on the lower deck of the huge phantom-like steamer, surrounded by perspiring negroes who were crooning snatches of song, quaint melodies peculiar to their race, as they busily stowed away countless bales of cotton consigned to New Orleans and the markets of the old world.