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Brewster: Ballads and Songs of Indiana 13
War. My great-grandmother was Martha Peel, daughter of William Peel and niece of Sir Robert Peel (so runs the family legend!). My mother's people were Barretts. They came to Posey County, Indiana, from South Carolina and entered land here on July 30, 1817.
My great-great-grandfather was a French Huguenot who came to this country for religious freedom early in the eighteenth century. His name was DeBruler.
My paternal great-grandfather, William Stoker, was a Revolutionary soldier. My paternal grandfather, Benjamin Stoker, came from Virginia to Indiana in 1804, twelve years before its admission as a state. He settled in Gibson (then Knox) County. He enlisted in the "Rangers," a volunteer organization to keep the Indians in check on the frontier of Illinois Territory. Later, under the command of Captain Jacob Warrick, he fought against the Shawnee Indians, taking part in the Battle of Tippecanoe, November 7, 1811. My maternal great-grandmother was Irish—an O'Neil; my maternal grandfather came to Indiana from North Carolina in 1813.
The Indiana collection contains no songs of any foreign groups, such as Italians, Polish, Swedish, or French. The population of Southern Indiana, the section of the state from which most of these songs have been recovered, is largely of Anglo-Saxon stock, with a considerable number of Germans and a sprinkling of Irish, Scotch, French, and Swiss. The following names, taken at random from the list of contributors, are indicative of the racial stock of their bearers: Bryant, Sullivan, Toole, MacDonald, Mavity, Fowler, Elliott, Jardine, McAllister, Baynes, McGregor, Johnson, Roberts, Davis, McAtee, Baldwin, Riley, McCullough, Murphy, and Carr. No Negro songs have been collected as yet.
Contributions to the collection have been made by individuals of widely varied professions and occupations. A good version of "The Elfin Knight" was furnished us by a doctor; one of "The Two Sisters" by a college professor; one of "Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight" by a merchant; and one of "Lord Lovel" by a disabled Spanish-American War veteran. The sole version of "The Wife of Usher's Well" was sung to me by a retired contractor ; that of "Lizie Lindsay" by a Scotch mine superintendent. Other contributors are farmers, miners, plasterers, dentists, librarians, teachers, ministers, cooks, newspapermen, truck-drivers, and housewives. Many of the songs recovered were sent us by former Hoosiers now living in other states.
It must be added regretfully that ballad-singing, as an active tradition, is practically nonexistent in Indiana. In some half-