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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Home on the Range


After receiving an invitation to the Second Great American Local Poem And Song Genealogy Challenge, I immediately began reflecting on the poets in my family history, and Dr. Brewster Higley came immediately to mind. Granted he's a fourth cousin, five times removed, but still related nonetheless!

Dr. Brewster M. Higley wrote the following poem in 1873 while he was living in the cabin of his homestead on Beaver Creek, New Gaylord, Smith County, Kansas. At the urging of friends, he showed his verses to Dan Kelley, a member of the Harlan Brother orchestra. Kelley had been a bugler in the Union army during the Civil War and had the ability to compose music. On his way home, Kelley hummed while he thought about Dr. Higley's poem. Once home, he wrote down the notes on a piece of wrapping paper, and hummed the tune and played it on his violin until it was safely fixed in his mind. Click HERE to hear the song. Read more about it at NPR.org

The Western Home

Oh, give me a home
Where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play'
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word,
And the sky is not cloudy all day.

"Chorus"
A home, a home
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where never is heard a discouraging word
And the sky is not cloudy all day.
Oh, give me land the land
There the bright diamond sand
Throws its light on the glittering stream
Where glideth along
The graceful white swam
Like a maid in her heavenly dream.

Oh, give me the gale
Of the Solomon vale
Where the life stream of buoyancy flows
On the banks of the Beaver
Where seldom, if ever
Any poisonous herbage doth grow.

I love the wild flowers
In this bright land of ours,
I love, too, the wild curler's scream
The bluffs and white rocks
And antelope flocks,
That graze on the mountain so green.

A home, a home
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where never is heard
A discouraging word,
And the sky is not cloudy all day.

How often at night
When the heavens were bright
By the light of the twinkling stars,
Have I stood here amazed
And asked as I gazed
If there glory exceeds that of ours.

The air is so clear,
The breeze so pure,
The zephyr so balmy and light;
I would not exchange
My home here on range
Forever in assure so bright.

A home, a home
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where never is heard
A discouraging word
And the sky is not cloudy all day.

(Thanks to the Kansas Heritage Group, http://www.kansasheritage.org)

5 comments:

Bill West said...

Wow, this is so cool!
Thanks for participating!

Nolichucky Roots said...

I spent many years in Kansas - long after the antelope and buffalo - but loved the gales, zephyrs and heavens at night. Loved learning this childhood favorite is rooted there.

Judith Richards Shubert said...

This is great. Yes, surely all of us have heard this song. And it's neat that you are kin to the writer.

Tina Lyons said...

Congrats on your nomination for Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 Blogs!

arvin said...

A great article. I was running into brick walls, in every direction. This is such a simple solution that it is genius. Thank you Gus, for breathing new life into this research! You're brilliant.
genealogy research