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Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?

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John Minear 21 Apr 19 - 10:50 AM
John Minear 18 Apr 19 - 04:46 PM
Steve Gardham 01 May 12 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Lighter 01 May 12 - 09:45 AM
GUEST 01 May 12 - 07:14 AM
Richie 01 May 12 - 06:34 AM
Steve Gardham 30 Apr 12 - 01:49 PM
John Minear 30 Apr 12 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Lighter 29 Apr 12 - 07:52 PM
Richie 29 Apr 12 - 06:46 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 03:54 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 03:49 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Lighter 20 Apr 12 - 02:40 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 02:34 PM
John Minear 20 Apr 12 - 10:44 AM
GUEST 20 Apr 12 - 10:40 AM
GUEST 20 Apr 12 - 10:29 AM
GUEST 20 Apr 12 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Lighter 19 Apr 12 - 04:41 PM
GUEST 19 Apr 12 - 03:58 PM
GUEST 19 Apr 12 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Apr 12 - 03:10 PM
John Minear 19 Apr 12 - 01:01 PM
John Minear 19 Apr 12 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Lighter 17 Apr 12 - 03:40 PM
GUEST 17 Apr 12 - 03:39 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Apr 12 - 02:56 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Apr 12 - 02:55 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Apr 12 - 02:51 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Apr 12 - 02:48 PM
John Minear 17 Apr 12 - 11:09 AM
John Minear 17 Apr 12 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Lighter 17 Apr 12 - 08:51 AM
John Minear 16 Apr 12 - 09:21 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Apr 12 - 06:31 PM
John Minear 16 Apr 12 - 06:09 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Apr 12 - 04:18 PM
John Minear 16 Apr 12 - 03:36 PM
John Minear 16 Apr 12 - 03:15 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Apr 12 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,Lighter 15 Apr 12 - 07:35 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Apr 12 - 05:00 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Apr 12 - 03:05 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Apr 12 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Lighter 15 Apr 12 - 10:48 AM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 21 Apr 19 - 10:50 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 18 Apr 19 - 04:46 PM

Hello everyone. John Minear here. It has been a long time. The last post, above was from Steve on May 1, 2012. I have enjoyed re-reading this thread today seven years later. I am frankly amazed at the amount of work we put into this. And some of it was definitely ground-breaking, or at least had not been done before.

At the time I was asking the question that drove this thread about documentation for Child ballads in the US in the 18th century, I didn't really go into why I was interested in this. I was looking for "old" songs and tunes that pre-dated the American Revolution that would have been sung out on the "frontiers" of the colonies. From my re-reading, it appears that we came up with very few candidates but a strong suspicion for a lot more that was not documented.

I was looking for songs/tunes that I could use in a project that I had begun back then, which was to write a song cycle about one of my ancestors, named "John Minear" who came over here in 1732 at the age of 2 and lived in PA and VA and later WVA. I completed my first song in 2013, called "Hacker's Creek" which was about the death of John Minear in a Shawnee ambush in WVA. Since then I have filled out his life with seven other songs. I ended up having to use later tunes, but I tried to choose ones that, at least in my imagination, seemed to capture that earlier period of 1730-1781. You can hear these songs on SoundCloud here if you are interested:
https://soundcloud.com/user-750894349/sets/the-john-minear-song-cycle

This has been a very rewarding project for me and I have learned a lot about the history of PA and VA and a lot about Colonial and Native American relations. I hope that you might enjoy some of these songs. This long thread was my way into doing this project and I thank all of you for your work on it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 12 - 12:52 PM

Excellent example.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 May 12 - 09:45 AM

That was me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 12 - 07:14 AM

> Husbands at times being quite a lot older than wives.

For an extreme example:

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/01/president-tyler-grandson-alive.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Richie
Date: 01 May 12 - 06:34 AM

There is another version, a manuscript of Lord Lovel dated 1812, which was published by Belden in 1906. This version, in all likeliness, dates back to the 1700s. Since it resembles the broadside versions, it seem they were in oral circulation much early than 1846.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 01:49 PM

John, Jonathan, Richie,
Yes we are fishing in the dark with a great lack of information and there are lots of possibilies that can be factored in such as large Victorian families and indeed the large families in the mountain areas of America. Husbands at times being quite a lot older than wives. The safest thing is perhaps to get some solid demographic and social history info and work from averages. One thing is fairly probable and that is where songs have been learnt from parents they will have been picked up at an early age, especially where extended families have been living in close proximity without the interference of mass media.

One important factor to look at with Lord Lovel is the fact that various comic versions and burlesques were popular in the early 19thc.
With burlesques it wasn't always the case that the words were altered. Often the song was only comic in its grotesque delivery.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 12:44 PM

Richie, thanks for the "Lord Lovel" reference. And with regard to counting generations, how is that determined? People lived a lot longer than 25 years. If a song was collected in 1915, and no we don't usually get a person's age with this, but assuming that the singer was 70 years old and thus born in 1840, which is not unreasonable, and that this person learned a song as a youngster, say at age 10, or about 1850, from a parent who was probably at least 30 by then, that parent would have been perhaps born in 1810. If that mother learned it from her mother when she was young, say 20 years earlier, that would put the ballad back into the 1700's, around 1790. Now we might assume that the grandmother of the original singer had learned it sometime before 1790, and perhaps as far back as 1760..... And if the 1915 singer had actually learned this song from his grandmother,...this would have been impossible! She would have been long dead before her grandson was born! It is interesting to speculate on the different possibilities.

My grandfather was born in 1876 and would have been about 39 years old in 1915. But his father was born about 1819. His father's father was born in 1790. This last person died in 1881. My grandfather would have been about five years old when his grandfather died. There are enough significant overlaps in these generations to be able to assume that my grandfather could have learned a ballad that came from his grandfather. His grandfather's father was born in 1738/39 and died in 1830. Four generations would definitely put this back into the earlier part of the 1700's. And I could have easily learned the ballad from my grandfather, if only they had sung ballads, which they didn't!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 07:52 PM

> "He knew why she died. He just axed that to fool people. I bet he married somebody else in three months."

This kind of "folk criticism" is far too rare. Collectors - artifact-oriented as they were - weren't very curious about what their informants thought a song meant, or what they thought about the characters.

Most regrettable.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Richie
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 06:46 PM

Hi,

TY for the tip Steve.

Here a version of Lord Lovel that according to the source- Mrs. Sutton (Brown Collection) who is reliable- and has a book written about her, dates back to c.1776:

E. 'Lord Lovel.' Another text of Mrs. Sutton's finding, sung this time by Mrs. Farthing of Beech Creek, Watauga county, who traced it back as a family memory to Revolutionary times. Upon Lord Lovel's query as to why Lady Nancy died, Mrs. Farthing commented : "He knew why she died. He just axed that to fool people. I bet he married somebody else in three months." This version lacks the closing stanzas, ending with Lord Lovel's query and the people's answer. One stanza is perhaps worth quoting:

Lord Lovel he stayed one year and a day,
One year and a day stayed he,
When tired and worn, with a broke down steed,
He came to his native countree.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 03:54 PM

Sorry, got the ballad wrong, it's 'Gosport Tragedy'=The Cruel Ship Carpenter, which of course isn't a Child Ballad, but there may be some in there. Worth checking out anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 03:49 PM

John/Richie
From the Ballad List. A member, Dolores, does a weeekly list of ballad books/folklore that's currently on eBay. There's a very interesting book on there at the moment that might interest you. I'm not buying at the moment and it's your side of the pond so shipping costs would be prohibitive anyway. It's only $19 and is a catalogue by Lowens of pre 1821 American songsters and looking at one of the pages it actually looks as though it's listing and describing the ballads. One page shown includes The House Carpenter.

Check out 290700514847


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 02:43 PM

Jonathan,
The only sticking point for me is I'm pretty certain it's about 1750, probably one of those 3-4 column broadsheet pieces with about 20-odd verses produced by the likes of Dicey and Marshall, or a garland piece, probably printed in Bristol. Obviously as everyone knows it is taken directly from the Isabella story sans pot of basil. Therefore it obviously has many parallels on the continent, one of Child's pet criteria. I disagree with Belden who tried to link it to one or more of the German poetic versions. I think it's straight from the Decameron which had had many cheap reprints in English well before 1750.

Then again there are plenty of other pieces like this in Child (e.g., Keach i' the Creel) and plenty of dodgy pieces which Child even identified as such.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 02:40 PM

Mountaineers were notorious elsewhere for their youthful marriages. I'd be kind of surprised if most married women in the Appalachians in the 19th C. hadn't had a child by age 19.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 02:34 PM

It certainly makes for a very interesting study, John. As far as dodgy lineages go, I can see no reason whatsoever here to doubt any of Cox's contributors. It seems pretty obvious to me that being able to trace lineages and songs back through a line was very important to these people, and Cox did us a great service by actually asking for the information.

The next step as I would see it is did Cox inspire or was he inspired by any of the other collectors in a similar manner.

You could hazard a decent average date for how far back this goes by using what the current mean span of years for a generation is. It used to be loosely 25 years, but I'm sure some demographer will have worked out a more precise figure for the area and period. Unfortunately the key starting point figure doesn't seem to be present, the singer's age. Sod's law!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:44 AM

For some reason, I seemed to have lost my cookie for several of the previous posts this morning. "Guest" was me - John Minear.

Does anyone want to take a stab at analyzing the Cox materials and hazarding a guess on which of these examples might go back to the 1700's?

Also, does anyone have handy a list of those Child ballads found in America which had "died out" in Britain and Scotland?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:40 AM

For convenience sake, I've gathered up all of the information from Cox into one long(!) post as follows:
---
I want to present some information from John Harrington Cox's collection of West Virginia folk songs, including a number of the "Child Ballads". I want to again thank Richie for calling my attention to this collection. This is a good source for demonstrating how source singers "remember" the origins of their songs. Here is a link to Cox's book, published in 1925, although most of the ballads seem to come from a decade or so earlier:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/n7/mode/2up

Here is an example of a biographical sketch of one of the ballad singers represented in Cox, named George W. Cunningham of Elkins, West Virginia.

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/n23/mode/2up

Cox had four ballads from him. Mr. Cunningham's memory sources don't go back as far as some of the others. For instance, he says he learned his version of Child Ballad #4, "Six Kings' Daughters", "shortly after the Civil War from Laban White, Dry Fork." Here is the link for that:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/6/mode/2up

One of the source singers in Cox's collection is Mrs. Rachel Fogg, who was originally from Doddridge County, WVA. There were four Child Ballads obtained from her by Mrs. Hilary G. Richardson, in Clarksburgy, Harrison County, WVA, in March of 1916. They were: "Down by the Greenwood Side", "Little Johnnie Green" (Barbara Allen), "Young Collins"/"Johnny Collins", and "The House Carpenter".

In each case, Mrs. Fogg said that she had learned the ballad from her mother, and she from her mother. In one instance, she added "on back into the old country across the sea", and in another instance, she added "...on back into the old country across the sea in Scotch, Dutch, or Jerusalem, she forgets which but in this country they call'em Hebrews."

Here are the links:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/28/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/108/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/110/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/146/mode/2up

Here is an account of Cox's visit with Mrs. Fogg:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/n27/mode/2up

And here is a picture of Mrs. Fogg:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/112/mode/2up

Here is some more information from J.H. Cox's collection. He has four ballads from Mrs. Elizabeth Tapp Beck, of Morgantown in Monongalia County, which were collected in March of 1916. There is "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor," "The House Carpenter," "Home Came The Old Man (#274)," and "The Golden Willow Tree." Cox says that she said that she learned these songs from her mother, Mrs. Thomas H. Tapp, who learned it from her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Wade Mack, who lived "near Bethel Church" near Easton. Here are the links:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/64/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/154/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/170/mode/2up

Continuing with some more information from John Harrington Cox's West Virginia collection in "Folk Songs of the South", here are several sources which seem to go back a ways.

Cox has "The King's Daughter" or "The False Lover" from Miss Mildred Joy Barker, of Morgantown in Monongalia County, WVA, on October 2, 1916, which was "obtained from her mother, whose family came to Monongalia County before the Revolution. Its members have known the ballad for years."    Here is the link:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/12/mode/2up

Cox has another version of this ballad (#4) called "Pretty Polly" sent to him by Mrs. Anna Copley, of Shoals in Wayne County, WVA, on December 19, 1915, "dictated by her cousin Mr. Burwell Luther, who learned it from his mother about fifty years ago. Mrs. Luther's name was Julia Stephenson. She learned it from her mother, whose maiden name was Peyton. The Peytons were English and the Stephensons were Highland Scotch. The Luthers and Stephensons have lived in Wayne County for over a century, the latter having come from Georgia." Here is the link:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/8/mode/2up

Then there is a version of "Lord Randall" called "Johnny Randolph," which was "Communicated by Miss Lily Hagans, Morgantown, Monongalia County, January 20, 1916; obtained from Mrs. Beulah Ray Richey, who learned it from her mother, a member of the Caldwell family of Wheeling, a family of Irish [Scots-Irish?] descent who came to Wheeling before the Revolution." Here is the link:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/26/mode/2up

Here are two versions of "Lord Lovel", one from a lady of English descent and one from a lady of Welsh descent. The first one, "Lord Lovel," was "Contributed by Miss Blanche Satterfield, Fairmont, Marion County, 1915; learned from her mother, who learned it from her mother, a lady of English descent, who came from Washington County, Pennsylvania."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/78/mode/2up

The second version of "Lord Lovel" was "Communicated by Miss Lucille V. Hays, Glenville, Gilmer County, November 22, 1916; obtained from her mother, who learned it from her mother, and she from her mother, Mrs. Zackwell Morgan, a lady of Welsh descent."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/82/mode/2up

Continuing with some more material from John Harrington Cox, here are three ballads collected from Mr. J. Harrison Miller, of Wardensville in Hardy County, WVA, in January and june of 1916. First there is "The Seven Sleepers" (#7), which Mr. Harrison "obtained from his mother, who learned it when a girl from Scotch Roach."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/18/mode/2up

Then there is "Johnny Randolph" (#12), which was "obtained from his mother; learned from Susan Stewart; she, from her stepfather, John Jennings, who came from England."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/24/mode/2up

And then there is the version of "Lord Thomas", which Richie called our attention to above. This ballad was "obtained from his mother, who learned it from her mother, Mrs. Lucinda Ellis, who learned it from her grandmother, Mrs. Strawnsnider. Mr. Miller thinks the ballad has been known in the family for about two hundred years."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/56/mode/2up

Here are two ballads from Mrs. J.J. Haines of Parkersburg in Wood County, WVA, collected in January of 1916. There is a version of "Fair Annie and Gregory" (#76). Mrs. Haines said, "I have heard these old ballads sung form my earliest recollection by my grandparents and others. Grandfather's name was Benjamin Franklin Roberts; grandmother's name was Mary Leatherman Roberts. Grandfather's mother was a descendant of the Franklins, but I do not know whether of Benjamin Franklin's father's family, or a brother. My ancesters on both sides came to America in the time of the colonization."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/82/mode/2up

And from the same sources, Mrs. Haines had a version of "The House Carpenter" :

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up

Here are five versions of "The Wife of Usher's Well" that have some interesting "remembered" lineages. The first one is called "A Moravian Song", and illustrates something of the history of the relationships between the Scots-Irish and the German immigrants in WVa. It was contributed by Miss Bettie R. Loy, of Glebe, in Hampshire County, WVA, in February of 1916. Miss Loy writes: "I am sending you a song that my mother learned of her mother, who was of Dutch descent, but either she or her parents learned it of a Moravian preacher and she called it a Moravian song."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/88/mode/2up

The second version was called "Lady Gay", and was contributed by John B. Adkins of Branchland, in Lincoln County, WVA, in February, 1916. He learned it "when a child from an aunt, who learned it from her mother."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/90/mode/2up

The third example of this ballad was communicated by Mr. Decker Toney, of Queen's Ridge, in Wayne Count, WVA, in January of 1916. It was "learned from his mother, who learned it from her mother, Hannah Moore, and she, from her mother, Hannah Ross, who was born in Virginia." Back when Hannah Ross was born, West Virginia was still a part of Virginia, so it is not clear what this reference might mean. But it seems to imply what was once known as "East Virginia" or the eastern part of Virginia. See the previous link for this version which is "D".

The fourth and fifth versions were collected by the same person. They were communicated by Miss Mary M. Atkeson, of Morgantown in Monongalia county, WVA, in December of 1915. The first one ("E") was "obtained from Mr. Joseph H. Spicer, Spring Gap, in Hampshire County, WVA; learned from his mother, who learned it from her grandmother, who came from Ireland."

The last version ("G") was "obtained from Mr. A.G. Springer, Farmington, Marion County; dictated by his mother, who learned it from her mother, a lady of Welsh and English ancestry, who came from Pennsylvania."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/92/mode/2up

In 1916, Cox had two ballads collected by Miss Lalah Lovett, of Bulltown in Braxton County, WVA. The first one was a version of "Barbara Ellen", "obtained from Mrs. Cora Starkey, Harrison County, who learned it when a child from her parents; they learned it in Virginia from their parents, who were of English descent."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/100/mode/2up

The second ballad collected by Miss Lovett, was a version ("J") of "The House Carpenter", which was also obtained from Mrs. Cora Starkey.

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up

Here are a few more Child Ballads from John Harrington Cox's collection from WVA. The first one is a version of "The Maid Freed from the Gallows" called "By a Lover Saved". It was communicated to Cox by Mr. Harold Staats, of Ripley, in Jackson County, WVA, in 1921, Mr. Staats wrote: "This song was told, or rather sung, to me by some person living on Tug Fork. It is claimed that this song was brought to this country by Captain William Parsons, one of the early settlers. According to legends it was at one time a popular folk song in the British Isles."
An interesting account. Parsons was one of the first settlers who came over the Alleghenies to settle in what is now Tucker County, WVA.

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/118/mode/2up

Then we have a version of Child #155 called "It Rained a Mist", which was "Communicated by Miss Violet Hiett, Great Cacapon, Morgan County, February, 1917; obtained from her father, who learned it when a child from his mother."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/120/mode/2up

Another version of Child #155 ("I") came from Mr. Richard Elkins Hyde, of Martinsburg, in Berkeley County, WVA, in December of 1916. It was "obtained from his mother, who learned it from her mother, who had it from her mother, a lady of good Scotch-Irish stock from Wardensville, Hardy County."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/126/mode/2up

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.

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/128/mode/2up

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."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/134/mode/2up

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."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/140/mode/2up

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."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up

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."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/152/mode/2up

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)

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/158/mode/2up

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."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/516/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 10:29 AM

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.

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/128/mode/2up

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."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/134/mode/2up

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."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/140/mode/2up

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."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up

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."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/152/mode/2up

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)

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/158/mode/2up

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."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/516/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 08:54 AM

Here are a few more Child Ballads from John Harrington Cox's collection from WVA. The first one is a version of "The Maid Freed from the Gallows" called "By a Lover Saved". It was communicated to Cox by Mr. Harold Staats, of Ripley, in Jackson County, WVA, in 1921, Mr. Staats wrote: "This song was told, or rather sung, to me by some person living on Tug Fork. It is claimed that this song was brought to this country by Captain William Parsons, one of the early settlers. According to legends it was at one time a popular folk song in the British Isles."
An interesting account. Parsons was one of the first settlers who came over the Alleghenies to settle in what is now Tucker County, WVA.

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/118/mode/2up

Then we have a version of Child #155 called "It Rained a Mist", which was "Communicated by Miss Violet Hiett, Great Cacapon, Morgan County, February, 1917; obtained from her father, who learned it when a child from his mother."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/120/mode/2up

Another version of Child #155 ("I") came from Mr. Richard Elkins Hyde, of Martinsburg, in Berkeley County, WVA, in December of 1916. It was "obtained from his mother, who learned it from her mother, who had it from her mother, a lady of good Scotch-Irish stock from Wardensville, Hardy County."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/126/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 04:41 PM

>I know it's not a Child Ballad but it ticks most of the boxes.

All of 'em except being included by Child, no?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 03:58 PM

In 1916, Cox had two ballads collected by Miss Lalah Lovett, of Bulltown in Braxton County, WVA. The first one was a version of "Barbara Ellen", "obtained from Mrs. Cora Starkey, Harrison County, who learned it when a child from her parents; they learned it in Virginia from their parents, who were of English descent."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/100/mode/2up

The second ballad collected by Miss Lovett, was a version ("J") of "The House Carpenter", which was also obtained from Mrs. Cora Starkey.

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 03:48 PM

Steve, I appreciate your suggestion about looking for the scarcer ballads that have survived here and had died out in Britain, and then doing some comparative studies. That makes sense to me. I wonder if anyone has tried this. To begin with, surely someone has made a list of those ballads which survived in America but not in Great Britain. That would be a helpful starting point.

In the meantime, I will put up the rest of these WVA, references from Cox. Here are five versions of "The Wife of Usher's Well" that have some interesting "remembered" lineages. The first one is called "A Moravian Song", and illustrates something of the history of the relationships between the Scots-Irish and the German immigrants in WVa. It was contributed by Miss Bettie R. Loy, of Glebe, in Hampshire County, WVA, in February of 1916. Miss Loy writes: "I am sending you a song that my mother learned of her mother, who was of Dutch descent, but either she or her parents learned it of a Moravian preacher and she called it a Moravian song."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/88/mode/2up

The second version was called "Lady Gay", and was contributed by John B. Adkins of Branchland, in Lincoln County, WVA, in February, 1916. He learned it "when a child from an aunt, who learned it from her mother."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/90/mode/2up

The third example of this ballad was communicated by Mr. Decker Toney, of Queen's Ridge, in Wayne Count, WVA, in January of 1916. It was "learned from his mother, who learned it from her mother, Hannah Moore, and she, from her mother, Hannah Ross, who was born in Virginia." Back when Hannah Ross was born, West Virginia was still a part of Virginia, so it is not clear what this reference might mean. But it seems to imply what was once known as "East Virginia" or the eastern part of Virginia. See the previous link for this version which is "D".

The fourth and fifth versions were collected by the same person. They were communicated by Miss Mary M. Atkeson, of Morgantown in Monongalia county, WVA, in December of 1915. The first one ("E") was "obtained from Mr. Joseph H. Spicer, Spring Gap, in Hampshire County, WVA; learned from his mother, who learned it from her grandmother, who came from Ireland."

The last version ("G") was "obtained from Mr. A.G. Springer, Farmington, Marion County; dictated by his mother, who learned it from her mother, a lady of Welsh and English ancestry, who came from Pennsylvania."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/92/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 03:10 PM

I know it's a long and laborious process but the best way to establish any tentative conclusions about any version is by comparative study of as many versions as possible, including any available in print. Exceptions will be the rare cases where early versions are available, such as in the case of Bramble Briar I mentioned earlier. I know it's not a Child Ballad but it ticks most of the boxes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 01:01 PM

Opps! I hit the wrong key. Here is the link, again, for Mr. Miller's "Lord Thomas":

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/56/mode/2up

Here are two ballads from Mrs. J.J. Haines of Parkersburg in Wood County, WVA, collected in January of 1916. There is a version of "Fair Annie and Gregory" (#76). Mrs. Haines said, "I have heard these old ballads sung form my earliest recollection by my grandparents and others. Grandfather's name was Benjamin Franklin Roberts; grandmother's name was Mary Leatherman Roberts. Grandfather's mother was a descendant of the Franklins, but I do not know whether of Benjamin Franklin's father's family, or a brother. My ancesters on both sides came to America in the time of the colonization."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/82/mode/2up

And from the same sources, Mrs. Haines had a version of "The House Carpenter" :

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 12:46 PM

Continuing with some more material from John Harrington Cox, here are three ballads collected from Mr. J. Harrison Miller, of Wardensville in Hardy County, WVA, in January and june of 1916. First there is "The Seven Sleepers" (#7), which Mr. Harrison "obtained from his mother, who learned it when a girl from Scotch Roach."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/18/mode/2up

Then there is "Johnny Randolph" (#12), which was "obtained from his mother; learned from Susan Stewart; she, from her stepfather, John Jennings, who came from England."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/24/mode/2up

And then there is the version of "Lord Thomas", which Richie called our attention to above. This ballad was "obtained from his mother, who learned it from her mother, Mrs. Lucinda Ellis, who learned it from her grandmother, Mrs. Strawnsnider. Mr. Miller thinks the ballad has been known in the family for about two hundred years."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 03:40 PM

That was me.

I had no problem posting a test to the "C-U-B-A" thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 03:39 PM

A 1790-91 map:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/United_States_1790-05-1791-03.png

Kentucky is still part of Virginia, and most of Alabama and Mississippi are part of Georgia.

The population of the Southwest Territory (modern Tennessee) may have been about 35,000:

No census of the Northwest Territory (Ohio through part of Minnesota) seems to have been taken, but I'd be surprised if it numbered more than 20,000-30,000 English speakers.

(Links to the above information seem to be keeping this message from posting. I've tried a dozen times over two or three hours.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 02:56 PM

YES!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 02:55 PM

I'll try again.

Whist I know nothing of American migrations, Sharp felt that some of the ballads he was collecting in the remoter corners of the Appalachians had been hiding there for several centuries.

Might I suggest looking for scarcer ballads that have material that has died out in Britain, that is possibly closer to the earliest versions from the 17th century.

I'm sure I've seen examples of this and of course my study of 'Bramble Briar' shows this did happen though of course it's not a Child Ballad. Mind you it has better credentials than some of Child's higher numbered ballads.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 02:51 PM

For the second night I've written a post, submitted the message, the page has gone to the home page but my post won't come up even if I go back several times and try to submit message again. Most frustrating!

Any ideas, Joe?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 02:48 PM

I'm having problems posting again


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 11:09 AM

Continuing with some more information from John Harrington Cox's West Virginia collection in "Folk Songs of the South", here are several sources which seem to go back a ways.

Cox has "The King's Daughter" or "The False Lover" from Miss Mildred Joy Barker, of Morgantown in Monongalia County, WVA, on October 2, 1916, which was "obtained from her mother, whose family came to Monongalia County before the Revolution. Its members have known the ballad for years."    Here is the link:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/12/mode/2up

Cox has another version of this ballad (#4) called "Pretty Polly" sent to him by Mrs. Anna Copley, of Shoals in Wayne County, WVA, on December 19, 1915, "dictated by her cousin Mr. Burwell Luther, who learned it from his mother about fifty years ago. Mrs. Luther's name was Julia Stephenson. She learned it from her mother, whose maiden name was Peyton. The Peytons were English and the Stephensons were Highland Scotch. The Luthers and Stephensons have lived in Wayne County for over a century, the latter having come from Georgia." Here is the link:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/8/mode/2up

Then there is a version of "Lord Randall" called "Johnny Randolph," which was "Communicated by Miss Lily Hagans, Morgantown, Monongalia County, January 20, 1916; obtained from Mrs. Beulah Ray Richey, who learned it from her mother, a member of the Caldwell family of Wheeling, a family of Irish [Scots-Irish?] descent who came to Wheeling before the Revolution." Here is the link:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/26/mode/2up

Here are two versions of "Lord Lovel", one from a lady of English descent and one from a lady of Welsh descent. The first one, "Lord Lovel," was "Contributed by Miss Blanche Satterfield, Fairmont, Marion County, 1915; learned from her mother, who learned it from her mother, a lady of English descent, who came from Washington County, Pennsylvania."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/78/mode/2up

The second version of "Lord Lovel" was "Communicated by Miss Lucille V. Hays, Glenville, Gilmer County, November 22, 1916; obtained from her mother, who learned it from her mother, and she from her mother, Mrs. Zackwell Morgan, a lady of Welsh descent."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/82/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 10:45 AM

Jonathan, thanks for the information of population sizes. These kinds of things really help put all of this in a more realistic perspective. I assume that the "Virginia" statistics would include what we are now calling "West Virginia". I wonder what the population looked like west of the Alleghenies in 1790.

Speaking of which, here is some more information from J.H. Cox's collection. He has four ballads from Mrs. Elizabeth Tapp Beck, of Morgantown in Monongalia County, which were collected in March of 1916. There is "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor," "The House Carpenter," "Home Came The Old Man (#274)," and "The Golden Willow Tree." Cox says that she said that she learned these songs from her mother, Mrs. Thomas H. Tapp, who learned it from her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Wade Mack, who lived "near Bethel Church" near Easton. Here are the links:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/64/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/154/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/170/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 08:51 AM

> I think that the 1700s are really the launching point for the ballad history in America.

I'm inclined to agree, and later in the century rather than earlier.

That's not to deny that ballads were presumably sung earlier. But recall that the U.S. population in 1790, from Georgia to Maine, was under 4 million (compared with 92 million in 1910, the census prior to Sharp's visit). The entire Anglo-Celtic population, the group likely to be singing Child ballads, was probably no more than 3 million. (There were 700,000 Negro slaves in 1790.)

Southern Appalachian state populations in 1790:

Virginia: 748,000
Kentucky: 74,000
N. Carolina: 374,000
S. Carolina: 250,000
Georgia: 83,000

Roughly half a million of those counted were slaves (who may have been unlikely to sing Child ballads). There were not a whole lot more people living in all of the Southern Appalachian states in 1790 than are living in Phoenix today.

I haven't checked on the Appalachian numbers for 1910.

It may well be that many more people in 1790 knew many more ballads than in 1910, but for all we know the opposite may have been the case. There's no way to correlate the small population and the greater difficulty of travel in the 18th C. with ballad singing, but it seems at least possible that fewer people, greater distances, greater isolation from printed sources, and fewer social networks made for fewer ballads and ballad performances.

Only a suggestion.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 09:21 PM

Steve, I would appreciate seeing that article. I will pm you my email address.

I'm going to go ahead and compile some of this information from Cox and put it up here. I think there are a few of these personal histories/memories that would qualify as maybe reaching back into the 1700s. I am interested in rounding up as much information as possible and making it available. I also very much appreciate the critical analysis. Each of the perspectives that we've considered adds another kind of feeling to this history. I think that the 1700s are really the launching point for the ballad history in America. And I would guess that it "lived" for about 200 years, from around 1750 to about 1950 or so. Maybe a little later on both ends. These folks from the early part of the 20th century may well be the highpoint of the history here. Or they may be the end point.

Thanks for your continuing insights and interest.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 06:31 PM

Thanks, John. I have Cox.

Norm just sent me another pdf of his excellent article on FMNSs. Would you like me to ask him if I can forward this to you? It has good background info on the history of the ballads in America.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 06:09 PM

Steve, thanks for the information on "Barbara Allen".

One of the source singers in Cox's collection is Mrs. Rachel Fogg, who was originally from Doddridge County, WVA. There were four Child Ballads obtained from her by Mrs. Hilary G. Richardson, in Clarksburgy, Harrison County, WVA, in March of 1916. They were: "Down by the Greenwood Side", "Little Johnnie Green" (Barbara Allen), "Young Collins"/"Johnny Collins", and "The House Carpenter".

In each case, Mrs. Fogg said that she had learned the ballad from her mother, and she from her mother. In one instance, she added "on back into the old country across the sea", and in another instance, she added "...on back into the old country across the sea in Scotch, Dutch, or Jerusalem, she forgets which but in this country they call'em Hebrews."

Here are the links:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/28/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/108/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/110/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/146/mode/2up

Here is an account of Cox's visit with Mrs. Fogg:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/n27/mode/2up

And here is a picture of Mrs. Fogg:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/112/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 04:18 PM

Here we have one contributor who learnt his ballads whilst very young and was recorded late in life. He was obviously a gifted person with a very good memory and in this case a very reliable source, but not all contributors of songs and ballads fall into that category.

Then of course there are those collectors who deliberately distort the information given, but that's another issue entirely.

Yes 'Lord Bakeman' is in my FMNS but I skipped it because it's a burlesque, not a serious version.

Both these versions of Barbara Allen are in Child, the 'strange' one being the Scottish version. My own theory here is this is the ballad referred to by Pepys as 'the little Scotch ballad' he heard at the theatre and the 'Reading/Scarlet' version I think could have been a burlesque of this.

Jonathan, I do have Norm's article, thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 03:36 PM

I want to highly commend the discussion about the reliability of historical information on song origins from the source singers themselves that has been taking place over on Richie's Ballad thread with Jonathan Lighter, Steve Gardham, Brian Peters, and Jim Carroll. It begins here with a suggestion by Jonathan:

thread.cfm?threadid=143708&messages=50#3337887

It is in the light of this discussion, which is ongoing, that I want to present some information from John Harrington Cox's collection of West Virginia folk songs, including a number of the "Child Ballads". I want to again thank Richie for calling my attention to this collection. This is a good source for demonstrating how source singers "remember" the origins of their songs. Here is a link to Cox's book, published in 1925, although most of the ballads seem to come from a decade or so earlier:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/n7/mode/2up

Here is an example of a biographical sketch of one of the ballad singers represented in Cox, named George W. Cunningham of Elkins, West Virginia.

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/n23/mode/2up

Cox had four ballads from him. Mr. Cunningham's memory sources don't go back as far as some of the others. For instance, he says he learned his version of Child Ballad #4, "Six Kings' Daughters", "shortly after the Civil War from Laban White, Dry Fork." Here is the link for that:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/6/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 03:15 PM

Steve & Jonathan, thanks for the discussion on these "songsters". Here are links to two of the "Forget-me-not" songsters. The first one does contain some of these ballads. I could not find dates for either one of them:

http://books.google.com/books?id=oEYZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA63&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

This one was published in Boston, and contains:
"Barbara Allan", "Captain Ward" (?), "Lord Bakeman", "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor", "Mermaid" (p. 79), "The Turkish Lady". The "Barbara Allan" is a strange version to me. The following Songster does not seem to contain any of the ballads. There is a song in it entitled "The Fashions of 1847" which might be a clue to dating it.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Zq9DAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 02:12 PM

Hi Jonathan,
I thought I remembered Norm doing this but I wasn't certain so I didn't post it. I've a vague notion he sent me a copy so I'll have to look it up and check. I can remember looking at all those pictues of Kelly the Pirate and the different versions of it.

I'm about halfway through the Wolf catalogue and there are some interesting titles in there which warrant following up. Amazing the number of songs set to the 'Bow wow wow' tune which started in the middle of the 18th century and still v popular more than a century later. Lots of things set to Villikins as well.

1840s would have been my guess for my copy of FMNS. Apart from the obvious native American ballads there's a lot in there from British broadsides of about 1800-1830.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 07:35 PM

Steve, Norm Cohen's 2005 article, "The Forget-Me-Not Songsters and their Role in the American Folksong Tradition" (American Music, XXII, 137-219) attempts to disentangle and date the various booklets carrying that title. Their contents differ considerably.

Cohen believes the earliest edition was published by Robert H. Elton in New York in 1840-41. Earlier dates, which are occasionally proffered, seem to be based on wishful thinking only.

If you can't access the article through JSTOR, email me and I'll see if I can find a way to get it to you.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 05:00 PM

Okay had a look at my 5 American songsters and not much in the way of Child Ballads pops up. My undated 'Forget-me-not Songster' seems quite seminal, and Jonathan might be able to date it.
It has
Captain Ward
Captain Glen
The Mermaid
Barbara Allen 'It fell about the Martinmas Day'
Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor 21v (of interest to Richie)

The 1839 N C Nafis, NY 'The American Songster' has
Barbara Allen 'In Scarlet Town where I was born
and the same songster printed in 1851 by Cornish and Lamport NY has the same version.

I have another similar songster without title page that has another copy of the Mermaid which can be dated to 1846.

Steve Roud has more of these than I do and I suspect some of the collectors on Ballad List will have many more.

I've just pulled an interesting volume off the shelves which I'd forgotten about. American Song Sheets 1850-1870 by Edwin Wolf 2nd. It seems to be mainly sheets by De Marsan and is only a catalogue, but I haven't yet included it in my own indexes so it will be worth looking through for interesting ballads, though I think I've got copies of most of De Marsan's output.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 03:05 PM

I'll have a look at my American songsters after my bath!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 03:04 PM

You beat me to it, Jonathan.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 10:48 AM

Many British songsters (and perhaps even broadsides) must have been imported to America in Colonial and post-Colonial times. That would mean that a British place of publication wouldn't mean the the item was restricted to British circulation.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 10:26 AM

Steve & Jonathan, I appreciate the suggestion about the "songsters". I spent some time last evening looking at a couple of them:

http://books.google.com/books?id=VWQLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA17&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=SS0_AAAAYAAJ&pg=PP7&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

I did not turn up any trace of these ballads in either of these songsters, although I confess that I was getting cross-eyed again and fairly mushed out before I finished. It was interesting to me to see so many Scottish songs, but none of the Scottish ballads.

This morning I did a quick Google Book search for "The Brown Girl" and for "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender" just to see if it turned up any references to a songster. No luck there. I did turn up some other kinds of interesting references. One that caught my eye was this "songster"(?) from the previous century (1723):

http://books.google.com/books?id=hlEJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA249&dq=%22The+Brown+Girl%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=e8GKT56wGKbW0QGipa22CQ&ved=0CEcQ6AE

Here is an 1839 reference to this version:

http://books.google.com/books?id=eCfZAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA394&dq=%22The+Brown+Girl%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XL-KT6GtBoPg0QGxh533CQ&ved=0CE0Q6AE

I'm wondering if this kind of book from the 18th century was circulating in America at all. It is pretty interesting to compare the collections of songs contained in the 1723 book and those in the later songsters! And here is something from in between from Ritson (1829):

http://books.google.com/books?id=5DgJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA89&dq=%22The+Brown+Girl%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UcOKT--vM6qw0AHJ25SDCg&ved=0CFcQ6AEw

This looks closer to the earlier material rather than the later stuff.

Does anyone have a specific reference to a Child Ballad in one or more of the American "songsters", or a specific place to look for this? Jonathan could you post the LOC site?

I've been spending most of my time the last day or so on Cox's West Virginia material and I'm beginning to get a strong impression of "class difference" running through all of this. And here I am talking about the American side of things. The people who generally sang these ballads, at least in West Virginia at the time when Cox was collecting, which was about the same time that Sharp was collecting in other areas of the Southern Appalachians, and Alphonso Smith was collecting in Virginia, circa 1915, were not of the same "class" as those doing the "collecting". And in reading the West Virginia accounts of the origins of those ballads, they were not from printed sources or books but what we might call "family and friends oral tradition". I don't see any mention of "songsters" or of "broadsides", which may suggest a class difference between those who were singing ballads and those who were reading books. I'm not wanting to head off into socio-economic discussions here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 14 Apr 12 - 04:09 PM

My impression (and that's all it is)generally and from the Library of Congress's site squares with Steve's: not a great deal of single-sheet publication in America before the 1860s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Apr 12 - 02:32 PM

John
As I said, the link doesn't have to be direct from the Reliques. The material was copied into many other books and possibly was a source for some broadsides.

From the surviving evidence I'd say the songsters like The American Songster/Forget-me-not, and Western Songsters were more of an influence c1830-40 than the broadsides. Apart from printers like Coverley and Deeming I haven't seen a lot of evidence of American single sheets or garlands from this period.

From what I remember Bruce's site was more to do with the early history of traditional stuff on broadsides, 16th 17th centuries, but as that's what I'm interested in I might just have been looking at the wrong bits. I think there is a list of Child ballad references on the site, but it takes a bit of navigating.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 14 Apr 12 - 10:11 AM

Richie, thanks for the reference on the Cox version of "Lord Thomas" from WVA. It reminded me that I need to look at all of those ballads in that book. I suspect that this kind of mention, that "Mr. Miller thinks the ballad has been known in his family for about two hundred years" is as close as we are going to get on much documentation for these ballads in the 18th century. Thanks for catching this and doing the math. Here is the link for everyone else:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/56/mode/2up

I agree with Steve and "Peregrina" that the Gentry biography is important and fascinating. When I was working on Child Ballad #18 - "Sir Lionel", on the "Wild Boar" thread, I was able to explore some of the family relationships between the Beech Mountain Hicks and Jane Gentry down in Hot Springs, and Sam Harmon over in Cades Cove, Tennessee. Sam had a very interesting version of this ballad and it was quite close to one still sung back up on Beech Mountain, NC, which had been his home before he went to Tennessee, in the 1800s. I am looking forward to taking another look at the material from Mike Yates.

And speaking of the Ritchie Family in Kentucky, I have often wondered about the impact of the "settlement schools" like the one in Hindman, KY, on the spread of this music. I know there were several down in North Carolina as well. I seem to recall that one of the older Ritchie sisters attended one down in NC and brought back that gem "Black is the Color" to Kentucky.

There certainly is a worthy project for somebody to try to document and untangle that "nest" of ballad singers in Madison County, North Carolina. I hope to live long enough to read that book someday!

Bill D. thanks for the reminder about Bruce Olsen's website on Broadside collections. I think it will add more than "a bit" to all of this. Has anybody already gone through this material and rounded up the references to the Child Ballads? Please say "yes"!

And John Moulden, thanks for the two additional references. It's about time for another trip to the UVA library.

And Steve, thanks for the suggestion about the Pennsylvania version of "Barbara Allen" and Percy's Reliques. Do we have any information from the 18th century that people were using Percy as an actual songbook? I keep thinking that we are missing a lot of links in here somewhere. How do we actually get from Percy to Northern Pennsylvania with so little alteration in the text? It certainly does suggest the involvement of a written source, but the PA text also shows evidence of local adaptation.   

Richie's final comment with regard to the "Lord Thomas" version from WVA that a "broadside of the earlier English broadside from the 1700s was printed in the US circa 1840s" makes me wonder if there were not a bunch of broadsides being printed in the US circa the 1840's and that Jonathan's comment back a ways "that most of the American popularity of Child ballads came from some sort of latterly unnoticed "broadside/songster revival" from around 1830?" Would this information be on Bruce Olsen's website?


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