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Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background

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BANKS OF THE SACRAMENTO
BANKS OF THE SACRAMENTO (2)
CAMPTOWN RACES
THE CALIFORNIA SONG


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Hoodah Day Shanty/Banks of the Sacramento (19)
(origins) Lyr Add: De Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) (20)
Lyr Add: Ho! For California! (1)
Lyr Req: Doo-Daa, Everybody sing a song... (7)
Lyr/Chords Req: Oh Susannah/Camptown Races (5)


mack/misophist 08 Jan 02 - 09:06 AM
masato sakurai 08 Jan 02 - 09:44 AM
mack/misophist 08 Jan 02 - 12:18 PM
Charlie Baum 09 Jan 02 - 10:27 AM
Mr Red 09 Jan 02 - 07:52 PM
mack/misophist 09 Jan 02 - 11:33 PM
Charlie Baum 10 Jan 02 - 02:18 PM
masato sakurai 28 Feb 03 - 11:20 PM
GUEST,Camptown resident 07 Sep 10 - 06:23 PM
GUEST 18 Feb 11 - 06:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Feb 11 - 07:26 PM
Charley Noble 19 Feb 11 - 10:07 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Feb 11 - 05:27 PM
GUEST 16 Jul 14 - 04:10 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Jul 14 - 07:37 PM
GUEST 04 Aug 17 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Aug 17 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Aug 17 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,henryp 04 Aug 17 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 05 Aug 17 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 05 Aug 17 - 05:43 AM
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Subject: Stephen Foster Tune Background
From: mack/misophist
Date: 08 Jan 02 - 09:06 AM

May I beg assistance from some of the many fine historians here? Camptown races was based on a real town. I believe it was in New Jersey. After the song became popular, the town changed it's name in chagrin. Can anyone identift it for me?


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Subject: RE: Help: Stephen Foster Tune Background
From: masato sakurai
Date: 08 Jan 02 - 09:44 AM

This note by John Tasker Howard may be of help:

"Camptown Races was copyrighted and first issued by the Baltimore publisher, F.D. Benteen, February 19, 1850. Within a few years the town of Camptown, New Jersey, changed its name to Irvington. A newspaper writer suggested that Foster's race-track song had brought the New Jersey town so much notoriety that its citizens changed the name of their town in self-defense. Careful research into the Irvington records and into minutes of town meetings has unfortunately failed to verify the tradition." (A Treasury of Stephen Foster, Random House, 1949, p. 63)

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Help: Stephen Foster Tune Background
From: mack/misophist
Date: 08 Jan 02 - 12:18 PM

Thank you again, Masato Sakurai.


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Subject: RE: Help: Stephen Foster Tune Background
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 09 Jan 02 - 10:27 AM

From this page about the "Endless Mountains" in Northeastern Pennsylvania:

Remember "Camptown ladies sing this song, do da, do da?" Well, the song originated out of a little town in Bradford County {Pennsylvania] appropriately named Camptown. Apparently, this well-known Stephen Foster song was inspired by the horse races that ran from this village to Wyalusing. A historical marker acknowledging Camptown and its famous race is located at the junction of routes 706 and 409 in Camptown. For the Stephen Foster fans, "The Tioga Waltz" was written by Foster while he lived in Towanda and in Athens (both in Bradford County) in 1840-41. Another Stephen Foster historical marker was erected in May of 1947 in Athens, noting where Athens Academy once stood - the school Foster attended. A third is situated on Main Street, near State Street, in Towanda.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Help: Stephen Foster Tune Background
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 Jan 02 - 07:52 PM

Charlie
When did SCF live in Allegheny County? was that as an older boy/married man?
My Grandad named his house in Braddock when he returned to the UK after he left Braddock, Allegheny County and connections like that stick in ones mind.


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Subject: RE: Help: Stephen Foster Tune Background
From: mack/misophist
Date: 09 Jan 02 - 11:33 PM

I thank you also, Mr Baum.


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Subject: RE: Help: Stephen Foster Tune Background
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 02:18 PM

Here is a nice on-line biography of Stephen C. Foster. If you will click here, yoiu'll be directed to a page about Stephen C. Foster's young teenage years at the Athens Academy in Athens, Pa. (with great illustrations!). The Tioga Waltz dates from his Athens academy days, and the local Tioga Point Museum contains some Foster material.

--Charlie Baum, who went to a private school in Connecticut, the founder of which had also coincidentally spent 1841-42 in Towanda, Pa.


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Subject: RE: Help: Stephen Foster Tune Background
From: masato sakurai
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 11:20 PM

There's an item at the Foster Hall Collection, University of Pittsburgh. Calvin Elliker (in Stephen Collins Foster: A Guide to Research, Garland, 1988, pp. 54-55) annotated it as follows:

Howard, John Tasker. Report on the Investigation to Determine Possible Connection Between Stephen C. Foster's 'Camptown Races' and Irvington, New Jersey (Formerly Known as Camptown): Aug.-Sept. 1935. 9p.

    Commissioned by Josiah K. Lilly. Carried out in response to a claim made in the Cincinnati Gazette of January 2, 1857, which stated that the town of Camptown, New Jersey, had changed its name because of the association with Foster's Camptown races. The article claimed that whenever a citizen was asked where he or she lived and replied, "Camptown," the inquirer would involuntarily respond, "Do-dah, Do-dah!" Howard sates that he never believed there was any connection between the name of the song and the name of the town, as there had always been too small a black populaton to warrant a dialect song, and there was no evidence a racetrack had ever existed there. His findings concerning the reason for the change of name were inconclusive, but it did not appear that either Foster or his song were mentioned during the town meeting in which the change was approved. Irvington was named for Washington Irving, who thanked its citizens for the compliment, but declined their invitation to attend the re-naming ceremony. Apparently never published, as there is no OCLC record. The typescript in teh Foster Hall Collection may be unique.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: GUEST,Camptown resident
Date: 07 Sep 10 - 06:23 PM

I live in Camptown. It is in Pennsylvania and is still called Camptown.
The race is still run every year in September. Except now people run it
instead of horses.


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Feb 11 - 06:32 PM

There is a racetrack somewhere in the UK called Camptown and it is 5 miles long!


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Feb 11 - 07:26 PM

Where? I can find no such racetrack in the UK or elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 10:07 AM

It really would be nice to settle this question once and for all.

Do-dah day,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 05:27 PM

A 'camptown' was a temporary workingmen's tent or shack settlement. According to Wikipedia, Foster's 'camptown' was in Pennsylvania.
Camptowns grew and were dismantled as the railroads moves west, and with other longer term construction projects.

"The rag-tag mix of horses that are racing, and the disorder of the racing conditions at the ramshackle camptown track, provide the fun, with the usual unspoken undercurrent of superiority among the entertained hearers." Wikipedia.


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jul 14 - 04:10 PM

Hi there.
the original 'Camptown" WAS. drum roll please. and You will never guess this. IRVINTON NJ. IRVINTON was the location of a resort which featured the camptown race track.... upspringfield Ave, to summet. one straight line.

I grew up there, so you can say, I'm a camptown lady. The song was indicative of the antislavery movement; the stay at home wives who helped the slaves escape, and were asked by the husband, who spent the day at the races asked,"what happened to the slaves"?!

She answered " I dunnoe, I just clean the house..... do dah do dah.'
The town was renamed in dedication to Washington Irving who frequented the races. sadly, he never attended the dedication ceremony .

actually you can see remnants of Camptown's hey day....... If they are still there.
Two impressive move-houses (were opera houses).
"The Castle" , on Clinton ave. and The Chancellor. on chancellor Ave. if they are still there.

I left Campington, in 77

doh da


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jul 14 - 07:37 PM

A marker for Camptown, 4.2 miles north of Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, says the town was named for Joe Camp, a pioneer settler and hunter, who was there in 1793. Marker placed by Pennsylvanian Historical and Museums Commission.
This may have nothing to do with the "Camptown Races" of the song.

The length of the track, and its existence are both questionable. It may be completely fictional.

Many stories invented about the song.


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Aug 17 - 08:09 AM

Was the Campton Racetrack actually five miles long.


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Aug 17 - 01:36 PM

Q: "A 'camptown' was a temporary workingmen's tent or shank settlement. According to Wikipedia, Foster's 'camptown' was in Pennsylvania.

Camptowns grew and were dismantled as the railroads moves west, and with other longer term construction projects.
"

Foster's "camptowns" were even more temporary and transient "shinbone alleys" than this.

They were the tent cities in the infields of a race track. The same locations were used by the circus when it came to town. Typically a semi-permanent "fairground" across the river or on the outskirts of town because… "g'wine to run all night…."

There were "booths as at a fair, where everything was said, and done, and sold, and eaten or drunk – where every fifteen or twenty minutes there was a rush to some part, to witness a fisticuff - where dogs barked and bit, and horses trod on men's toes, and booths fell down on people's heads!"

Carlyon, Dan Rice (New York: Perseus, 2001, p.29)

Urban sprawl would have long since paved over (twice) anything on the outskirts of an 1840-50 American city or large town.


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Aug 17 - 01:40 PM

Stephen Foster's entree into the world of horse racing was through his older brother Morrison ("Mit") who owned & raced a few ponies when he worked at Cadwaller's Mills in Pittsburgh, PA.

Mit stabled his horses at Massingham's Stable, Ferry & Water Sts., Pittsburgh where future minstrel Dan Rice was a stable boy and jockey. Rice was a frequent guest baritone at the Cadwaller & Foster homes.

Pittsburgh's camptown at the time was across the river in Allegheny City, present day location of Exposition Park III.

Would have made a fairly lasting impression on a teenage Stephen Foster.


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 04 Aug 17 - 03:05 PM

The Pleasanton Fairgrounds Racetrack at the Alameda County Fairgrounds is the oldest remaining horse racing track in America dating back to 1858, when it was founded by the sons of the Spaniard Don Agustin Bernal.

Modern flat races are run over distances ranging from 440 yards (400 m) up to two and a half miles, with distances between five and twelve furlongs being most common.

The Kiplingcotes Derby is the oldest [horse race] in England, having taken place every year since 1519. Kiplingcotes is a small hamlet close to Market Weighton, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

It is run every spring. The course takes in four miles of arduous farm track and field. The Derby starts near to the former Kiplingcotes railway station and finishes at Londesborough Wold Farm.

From Wikipedia


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 05 Aug 17 - 05:36 AM

The Glenwood, Pittsburgh track ran along the right bank of the Monongahela from Glenwood Bridge up to Birmingham Bridge. It wasn't an oval but would have been 4.5 – 5 miles one-way, give or take.

Curious because the "wood" in Glenwood is Henry (Harry) Wood, Jr., the fellow who bought the piano (for his wife) on which Foster composed a lot of his best stuff, including I Dream of Jennie...;

Foster dedicated songs to Henry's wife Rachel and her sister Mary Keller;

Nellie Bly was the Wood's servant.

Henry Wood gentrified the course proper (hotels, private clubs &c.) just a few years after the song came out.


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Subject: RE: Help: Camptown Races (Stephen Foster) Background
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 05 Aug 17 - 05:43 AM

Sorry...

*Woods


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