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Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter

GUEST,pracht@gcnet.com 01 Sep 00 - 01:15 AM
GUEST,Brien Liebst e-mail randa@fdn.com 14 Oct 02 - 09:18 PM
GUEST,Brien Liebst e-mail randa@fdn.com 14 Oct 02 - 09:26 PM
Jim Dixon 15 Oct 02 - 02:02 AM
Dave Ruch 01 Jul 04 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,hstuddard@sofnet.com 28 May 05 - 10:01 PM
GUEST,Tuesday's Child 05 Dec 05 - 12:13 AM
GUEST 22 Oct 08 - 09:58 PM
GUEST,Melodie Larsen 28 Jul 10 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,Sandy 09 Mar 13 - 11:29 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 10 Mar 13 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,999 10 Mar 13 - 06:09 PM
GUEST 07 Aug 13 - 10:15 AM
Jim Dixon 08 Aug 13 - 09:36 PM
GUEST 27 Dec 15 - 09:05 PM
Joe Offer 27 Dec 15 - 10:00 PM
GUEST,Rena Degutis 19 Apr 16 - 11:56 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 17 - 11:46 PM
GUEST,Margaret Kappel 28 Mar 17 - 05:37 PM
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Subject: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST,pracht@gcnet.com
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 01:15 AM

I am searching for the origin of a song that starts out:
    "In Autumn when evening was spreading, her opinions of darkness o'er all,
    In numbers the Indians came treading, approaching the Niagara Falls
... It is a wonderful song about a group of Indians who chose by lot a person to go over Niagara as a sacrifice each year. This particular year the Chieftain's Daughter was chosen. Rather than question the Gods, the Chieftain went over with her! It goes by the possible names of The Chieftain's Daughter or Bright Skies.


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Subject: RE: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST,Brien Liebst e-mail randa@fdn.com
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 09:18 PM

Hello,


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Subject: RE: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST,Brien Liebst e-mail randa@fdn.com
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 09:26 PM

I am repeating this message because it appears that the first try didn't make it. I do not know the origin of the song but my mother used to sing it to me when I was very young.

Brien Liebst


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Subject: Lyr Add: CHIEF BRIGHT SKY
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 02:02 AM

The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music has a song called "The Chieftain's Daughter," but it seems to be about Pocahontas and John Smith.

The Library of Congress has a field recording in 3 formats (MP3, RAM, or WAV) and this transcription:

CHIEF BRIGHT SKY

In autumn when evening was spreading her pinions of darkness o'er all,
In numbers the Indians came treading, approaching Niagara Falls.

For the love of tradition had taught them that one of their tribe every year,
At the cast of lot should be chosen to pass down the falls without fear.

The chieftain had only one daughter. He loved her as loved he his life.
Possessing the braveness he taught her, she fears naught though costing her life.

They thought that the chieftain would surely have them to cast lots o'er once more;
But nothing unfair did he claim her. She left them and marched up to shore.

A coffin, a canoe and a paddle lie waiting for her to step in.
Long farewell to pony and saddle, long farewell to forest and kin.

And just as the moonbeams was sparkling to gather her in its bright beams,
She quickly pushed out her boat light, and silently rowed down the stream.

Now out from the banks of the river, a boat was seen skimming the tide.
Oh, see how he loves his daughter. He takes of his place by her side.

But one weeps alone in the moonlight. On the night comes a pitying cry
From a mother who makes her heart quiver for daughter and Chieftain Bright Sky.

[Sidney Robertson Cowell, collector
George Vinton Graham, singer
Recorded at San Jose, California
December 7, 1938]


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Subject: RE: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 01 Jul 04 - 02:19 PM

Brien - what part of the world were you living in when your mother sang it to you? I wonder if this started in New York State or not...

I live near Niagara Falls, but have not heard or seen the song until this and another recent thread. The man it was collected from in California (1938) had lived most of his life in CA and ID, so he was a long way from the Falls. Anyone else remember this song from childhood, and if so, where we you (geographically)?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST,hstuddard@sofnet.com
Date: 28 May 05 - 10:01 PM

My earliest memory of this song is being rocked and sung to by my grandfather in 1933 in southwest Missouri. My great-grandmother was full blood native American-not sure which tribe. It was through her that the song was passed down to us.

I've searched for the lyrics for 66 years and just discovered them online today -- May 28, 2005.

Hazel Studdard


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST,Tuesday's Child
Date: 05 Dec 05 - 12:13 AM

Oh my. There are tears in my eyes as I write this. One of my sweetest memories is being rocked in my Grandmother's arms as she sang this beautiful tribute. I have long searched for these words but have been unable to find due to misunderstanding. My memory tells me Grandmother sang it "In autumn as evening was 'falling' ...." I shall pass this lovely piece of poetry to my grandchildren.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 09:58 PM

My grandmother rocked me to this song in the early 1960's in southwestern Oklahoma. She also sang, "In Autumn as evening was falling" and I remember the lyric "Sad farewell to chieftain and child" although that does not appear here.

I am asking my now adult children to memorize this and pass it along. I wish I could find a recorded version.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST,Melodie Larsen
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 12:54 PM

We have what I imagine is this same song in our family tradition as well. There is a slight difference in the words from what is given above.

One evening as autumn was spreading her pinions of darkness o'er all,
In numbers the Indians came treading, approaching Niagara Falls.
The law of tradition had taught them that one of their tribe every year
By law should be chosen and brought there, to pass down the falls without fear.

The chieftain had only one daughter. He loved her as loved he his life.
Possessing the braveness he taught her, she feared not the cost of her life.
They thought then that surely the chieftain would have them cast lots o'er once more;
But nothing unjust would he do them. He left them and walked down the shore.

A coffin canoe and a paddle lay waiting for her to step in.
Adieu to her pony and saddle, fond farewell to forest and kin.
The clouds gave way to the moonbeams to light her way with its bright gleam,
And swiftly out with her boat light, she fearlessly entered the stream.

All breathless and quiet as evening were all those who stood on the shore,
As down, on down the swift water, oh, soon she'll be seen never more.
Then quick, as a flash of the lightning, a boat is seen skimming the tide,
And just as the moonbeams were brightening, her father rode down by her side.

Oh, see how he loveth his daughter. He taketh a seat by her side.
As down, on down the swift water, more rapid, more quickly they glide.
Then a shout from the shore of the river burst forth in a pitiful cry,
From the mother, who made all hearts quiver, for her chieftain and her daughter, Bright Sky.

On down, still nearer the thunder that deafens the chieftain and child.
Oh, look, the boat has gone under, beneath where the furies race wild.
Is the love of a father more tender in the race of the white man today?
Or the love of a daughter stronger than Bright Sky's bravado that day?

I remember my grandmother singing this at family gatherings in Lovell, Wyoming. This would have been in the late 1950's, or early 1960's, but I'm sure she knew this song long before.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST,Sandy
Date: 09 Mar 13 - 11:29 PM

My grandmothers parents sang this song to her as a child. She was born in 1900 in Nebraska. Would like to know the music to it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 02:38 PM

Sandy - Jim Dixon gave a link to a recording at LOC above, but it's a temporary link.

Use this link: American Memory - LOC and type Chief Bright Sky into the Search Box and press Return. In the results, choose the 2nd item returned (Chief Bright Sky, Cowell Collection) and you will get to a page with the audio in mp3 and wav formats.

(mp3 should be a direct link to the mp3 file and wav should be a direct link to the wav file.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 06:09 PM

The fellow singing the song on Mick's mp3 link says "she came back [from Idaho] and taught us this song. That was early in the '80s I think." That's gotta mean the 1880s, no?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 10:15 AM

My Grma use to sing this song to me when I was little, it was sang to her by her grma, who came from New York and PA area...some of th ewords are alittle different but the same song...I loved this song.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE CHIEFTAIN'S DAUGHTER
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Aug 13 - 09:36 PM

Spokane Daily Chronicle, June 23, 1932, under the heading "Songs of Long Ago":

[I have boldfaced the words that are different from Melodie Larsen's version, and I have used ellipses to mark where words from her version are missing.]


THE CHIEFTAIN'S DAUGHTER

In autumn, when evening was spreading
    Her pinions of darkness o'er all,
In numbers the Indians came treading,
    Approaching Niagara's falls.
The laws of tradition had taught them
    That one of their tribe every year
By lot should be chosen and brought there,
    To pass down the falls without fear.

The chieftain had only one daughter.
    He loved her as loved he his life.
Possessing the braveness he taught her,
    She feared not though costing her life.
They thought … surely the chieftain
    Would have them cast lots o'er once more,
But nothing unfair would he claim them,
    But left them and marched up the shore.

A coffin, canoe, and its paddle
    Lie waiting for her to step in.
Ah! Farewell to... pony and saddle,
    Long farewell to forest and kin.
The clouds then gave way for the moonlight
    To guide her boat by its bright beam,
When fearlessly
out in the moonlight,
    She dauntlessly rowed down the stream.

All quiet and breathless as evening
    By those who stand on the shore,
So quietly down the stream easy,
    Ah! Soon she'll be seen nevermore.
When as quick as the flash of the lightning,
    Her boat was seen skimming the tide,
And just as the moonbeams were brightening,
    Her father rode down by her side.

Ah! See how he loveth his daughter.
    He taketh a seat by her side.
Together, now down the deep water,
    More rapid and swiftly they glide,
When a shadow from the shore of the river
    Burst forth in a pitiful cry,
From a mother, that made all hearts quiver,
    For... chieftain and... daughter must die.

Now downward,
still nearer the thunder,
    Which deafened the chieftain and child,
Ah! Look! See there they've gone under,
    Beneath where the furies rage wild.
Is the love of a father more tender
    In the race of the white man today,
Or the faith of a daughter stronger
    Than Bright Skies [sic] Bravado Obey!

Sent in by Mrs. J. F. Hall, Davenport, Wash., and Mrs. W. H. Hall, Adrian, Wash.


[I am not convinced we have an authoritative copy of the lyrics yet. Some phrases seem awkward, especially the last line. I suspect the Hall ladies (sisters-in-law, perhaps?) wrote down the lyrics from memory.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Dec 15 - 09:05 PM

My dad and his brothers used to sing it for us.His mother sang it to them as children. She was from North Dakota. I Remeber most of it but also part of it "look look now there they go yonder, down down where the furies dash wild"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Dec 15 - 10:00 PM

Surely, this is a composed song, and there has to be sheet music somewhere. I'm guessing the song came from about 1879, judging from the style. It's interesting to see how variations have developed.
Sure would be nice to find the original, though.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST,Rena Degutis
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 11:56 AM

Brought tears to my eyes, I remember my mom singing this song to me and my siblings.
I didn't remember all the words, but had looked for the lyrics many times before.
Some of my moms wording was different in the party's I did remember, but I know it's the same song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 17 - 11:46 PM

Greetings all, I remember this song by the title "Niagara Falls" as it was included in an old HIT PARADE song book that once belonged to my mother who sang it on the radio out of Lander, Wyoming in the fifties. I heard her sing it many times as a youngster. Although most of the lyrics had slipped my mind (until today), I remember the beautiful melody as if it was just yesterday that Mama sang it although played by guitar, it is a simple four-chord progression.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Chieftain Had Only One Daughter
From: GUEST,Margaret Kappel
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 05:37 PM

Tank you all who repliedto my inquiry My dad used to sinf this song to us and I have searched a long time to find it Thankyou


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