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Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?

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GUEST,Lighter 19 Apr 12 - 04:41 PM
GUEST 20 Apr 12 - 08:54 AM
GUEST 20 Apr 12 - 10:29 AM
GUEST 20 Apr 12 - 10:40 AM
John Minear 20 Apr 12 - 10:44 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Lighter 20 Apr 12 - 02:40 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 02:43 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 03:49 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 03:54 PM
Richie 29 Apr 12 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,Lighter 29 Apr 12 - 07:52 PM
John Minear 30 Apr 12 - 12:44 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Apr 12 - 01:49 PM
Richie 01 May 12 - 06:34 AM
GUEST 01 May 12 - 07:14 AM
GUEST,Lighter 01 May 12 - 09:45 AM
Steve Gardham 01 May 12 - 12:52 PM
John Minear 18 Apr 19 - 04:46 PM
John Minear 21 Apr 19 - 10:50 AM
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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: 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
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 - 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: 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: 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: 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 - 02:43 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: John Minear
Date: 21 Apr 19 - 10:50 AM

refresh


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