Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

Southern Appalachians songs with lyrics, commentary & some sheet music.

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Mr. Haggerman and Mrs. Harmon died, after which Mrs. Haggerman and Mr. Harmon married, making little Samuel and little Polly step-brother and step-sister. Little Polly was too young to remember her own grandparents, so Granddaddy Hicks came to be like a true grandfather. Polly and Samuel grew up together and learned songs from Granddaddy Hicks. When Samuel Harmon, aged seventeen, ran away with Polly Haggerman, aged twelve, and married her, he stopped all objections from his step-mother (Polly's own mother) by reminding her that he had bought Polly when she was a baby for three sticks of wood.
Wc discovered another treasury of ballads and songs when we sought out "Big Tom" Wilson's place on Cane River at the northern base of Mount Mitchell. The road will not appear on the maps. Finding no one at home, we drove four miles to Ewart Wilson's, "Big Tom's" grandson. The wife of Ewart Wilson is one of the brightest, keenest, and best educated women wc have ever found in the mountains. We soon got her interested in singing and ended with a bag of more than a dozen songs, three of them traditional ballads of the rarest kind. For the story of "Big Tom" Wilson, the great hunter of the mountains and the man who led the search for Professor Mitchell at the time that he lost his life while taking observations on the mountains, sec "The Saga of the Carolina Hills" by Hodge Mathes in the Christian Observer, July 9, 1930. Also see "Ewart Wilson's Road Building Feat Astounds. Remarkable Mountaineer Tells of Father's Unique Career" b) Ida Briggs Henderson in The Sunday Citizen, Asheville, N. C, July 20, 1930. The father's name is Adolph ("Dolph") and he and his wife still maintain a mountain inn at Pensacola, N. C. "Dolph" came to his son's home during the course of the evening and gave interesting information about the moun­tain people.
Ballad making continues to go on. There are songs about Floyd Collins, the Santa Barbara Earthquake, and the hanging of Frances Silvers. That the simplest domestic incident in a family is sometimes turned into song is illustrated by the following contributed by Mrs. Wilson who remembers her father's singing it to her as a child:
1. Oh, well do I remember The Wilson patent stove That father bought and paid for With the cloth the girls had wove.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III