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Origin: Old Abner's Shoes - What's the story?

jacqui.c 06 May 09 - 11:47 AM
Bill D 06 May 09 - 01:12 PM
jacqui.c 06 May 09 - 02:34 PM
SINSULL 06 May 09 - 02:34 PM
Rapparee 06 May 09 - 02:55 PM
Jim Dixon 21 May 09 - 10:51 AM
Jim Dixon 21 May 09 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,a visitor 26 Jun 10 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Carolyn Wright 04 Aug 12 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,george 16 Aug 17 - 11:32 AM
Lighter 16 Aug 17 - 09:31 PM
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Subject: Abner's shoes - What's the story?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 06 May 09 - 11:47 AM

The song title is either 'Abner's Shoes' or 'For I can whip the scoundrel, that stole old Abner's shoes'.

Does anybody have any idea about the origins of this song - was it based on a real incident?


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Subject: RE: Abner's shoes - What's the story?
From: Bill D
Date: 06 May 09 - 01:12 PM

I have Tennesee Ernie Ford singing it, but I have no information about it's history. It 'sounds' like it could easily have been composed based on some real remark.


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Subject: RE: Abner's shoes - What's the story?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 06 May 09 - 02:34 PM

Just so Bill - I had a trawl through the internet but couldn't find much about it at all.

We've just gone for Mr Ford's 'Songs of the Civil War' on Amazon. This is a CD collection of his rendition of the songs of both North and South. There's some good stuff on there.


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Subject: RE: Abner's shoes - What's the story?
From: SINSULL
Date: 06 May 09 - 02:34 PM

I have a book at home that I think has some hsitory. Post when I get home.
M


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Subject: RE: Abner's shoes - What's the story?
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 May 09 - 02:55 PM

Me too.


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Subject: Lyr Add: I CAN WHIP THE SCOUNDREL / ABNER'S SHOES
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 May 09 - 10:51 AM

I pieced these lyrics together from several sources.


I CAN WHIP THE SCOUNDREL a.k.a. OLD ABNER'S SHOES

1. The Yankees came to Baldwin; They came up in the rear;
They thought they'd find old Abner, But old Abner was not there.

CHORUS: So lay ten dollars down, Or twenty if you choose,
For I can whip the scoundrel That stole old Abner's shoes.

2. The Yankees took me prisoner, They used me rough 'tis true.
They took from me my knapsack and stole my blankets too.

3. The Yankees took me prisoner, but if I could get parole,
I'd go right back and fight them, I will, upon my soul.

4. Jeff Davis was a gentleman; Abe Lincoln was a fool.
Jeff Davis rode a dapple gray; Abe Lincoln rode a mule.


[The last verse is probably a "floater".]

From: Florida in Poetry: A History of the Imagination by Jane Anderson Jones and Maurice O'Sullivan (Sarasota, Fla: Pineapple Press, 1995), page 46:
    "This Civil War ballad refers to a February 9, 1864 raid by the Fortieth Massachusetts Infantry on Confederate supplies at Baldwin, a railroad junction
    town twenty miles west of Jacksonville."
These books also contain versions of the song, but none of them can be fully viewed with Google Books:

A History of Music & Dance in Florida, 1565-1865 by Wiley L. Housewright (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1991)

Songs of the Civil War by Irwin Silber (New York: Dover, 1995)

Palmetto Country by Stetson Kennedy (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1942), page 86


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Abner's Shoes - What's the story?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 May 09 - 11:12 AM

From a report by The Joint Committee on the Conduct and Expenditures of the War, April 11, 1864, in Reports of Committees by the Senate of the United States, 1864:


Baldwin, Florida, February 9, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that a portion of my command, under Brigadier General T. Seymour, convoyed by the gunboat Norwich, Captain Merriam, ascended the St. John's river on the 7th instant, and landed at Jacksonville on the afternoon of that day.

The advance, under Colonel Guy V. Henry, comprising the 40th Massachusetts infantry, the independent battalion Massachusetts cavalry, under Major Stevens, and Elder's horse battery, (B, 1st artillery,) pushed forward into the interior on the night of the 8th, passed by the enemy, drawn up in line of battle, at Camp Finnegan, seven miles from Jacksonville, surprised and captured a battery, three miles in the rear of the camp, about midnight, and reached this place about sunrise this morning.

At our approach the enemy abandoned and sunk the steamer St. Mary's and burned two hundred and seventy bales of cotton a few miles above Jacksonville. We have taken, without the loss of a man, about one hundred prisoners, eight pieces of excellent field artillery, in serviceable condition and well supplied with ammunition, and other valuable property to a large amount.

I shall have a train of cars running on the road from Jacksonville in three or four days.

The command will advance to-morrow morning.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE,
Major General, Commanding.

Major General H. W. Halleck,
General-in-Chief United States Army, Washington, D. C.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Abner's Shoes - What's the story?
From: GUEST,a visitor
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 05:02 PM

In regard to Jim Dixon's reply about the last verse being a "floater":

Jeff Davis was a gentleman; Abe Lincoln was a fool.
Jeff Davis rode a dapple gray; Abe Lincoln rode a mule.


I recognize that verse from a song called "OLD ABE LIES SICK".

Old Abe lies sick, Old Abe lies sick, Old Abe lies sick in bed. He's a lying dog, he's a crying dog *[and I wish he was dead].

Jeff Davis rides a big white horse, Abe Lincoln rides a mule.
Jeff Davis is a gentleman, Abe Lincoln is fool.

*Another version adopted after Lincoln's assassination replaces "and I wish he was dead" with "with murder in his head".


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Abner's Shoes - What's the story?
From: GUEST,Carolyn Wright
Date: 04 Aug 12 - 08:01 PM

I'm wondering if the song is referring to the Abner McGehee locomotive?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Abner's Shoes - What's the story?
From: GUEST,george
Date: 16 Aug 17 - 11:32 AM


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Subject: RE: Origin: Old Abner's Shoes - What's the story?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Aug 17 - 09:31 PM

Maybe this is too obvious to mention, but "Ol' Abner" is presumably the singer/versifier.


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