The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #143842   Message #3340856
Posted By: GUEST
20-Apr-12 - 10:29 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
Here are two rarer ballads that Cox found in West Virginia. The first one is Child #199, "The Bonnie House O' Airlie" and the second one is Child #201, "Bessie Bell and Mary Gray." The first one was "Contributed by Miss Fannie Eagan, Hinton, Summers County, January 12, 1917, learned from Miss Amelia Bruce, who was born and bred in Edinburgh, came to America about twenty years previously, and recently returned to Scotland to remain there." This example is of interest not because it documents an early date necessarily, but because it documents an example of the actual transmission of a ballad from Scotland to America.

The second ballad was "Communicated by Miss Eva Hughes, Spencer, Roane County, December 7, 1915; obtained from her mother, whose maiden name was Elmira Grisell, born near Malaga, Ohio, in 1837. She learned it from her mother, who was Elizabeth Adams, daughter of Ann Hazlett and Jonathan Adams (English) of Massachusetts. Elizabeth's parents died when she was a child, and she was brought up by her aunt, Betsy Adams, Horne, Darby, Pennsylvania."

There are two more examples of Child #243, "The House Carpenter". One was "communicated by Mr. Greenland Thompson Federer, Morgantown, Monongalia County, January 1917; taken from an old manuscript song book owned by Lizzie Kelly, Independence. A name at the end of the ballad seems to indicate that it was taken down from the dictation of Mary Guseman."

The second example called "Salt Water Sea" ("Q") was "communicated by Miss Sallie Evans, Randolph County, 1916; obtained from Mr. Guy Marshall, who got it from his mother, who learned it from her mother."

There is version of "The Suffolk Miracle" (Child #272) called "A Lady near New York Town." It was contributed by Miss Polly McKinney, of Sophia in Raleigh County, WVA, in 1919. Miss McKinney wrote: "Grandma Lester taught me the song when I was a little child. Grandma is eighty-five years old. She says the song is very old. Her mother taught it to her when she was a little girl."

Mr. Wallie Barnett of Leon, in Mason County, WVA, contributed a version of Child #277, called "Dandoo." He learned it from his grandfather "about the year 1898" His grandfather "was of English descent, a native of Gilmer County. The last stanza was furnished by some teacher whose name was not secured." (Cox)

And finally, my last example from Cox is a version of Child #275, "Get Up And Bar The Door", called "Old John Jones." Cox says: "this excellent text, agreeing well with Child B, was reported by Mr. Carey Woofter, Glenville, Gilmer County, September, 1924. It was taken down from the recitation of Mrs. Sarah Clevenger of Briar Lick Run, near Perkins, Gilmer County. She learned it from her grandmother, Mrs. Rebecca Clevenger, who came from Loudon County, Virginia, seventy-eight years ago, as the date in the family Bible gives it."