Ballads and Songs of Indiana - online book

A collection of 100 traditional folk songs with commentaries, historical info, lyrics & sheet music

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Brewster: Ballads and Songs of Indiana           363
This song, known also as "Ye Sons of Columbia," is a genuine Indiana product, celebrating a killing in Dearborn County, and the subsequent execu­tion of the slayer in Lawrenceburg, the county seat. Seven texts have been recovered.
The song seems to have been composed soon after the murder (which occurred sometime before 1850), but the identity of the composer is un­known. In her column, "A Hoosier Listening Post," Mrs. Kate Milner Rabb, special writer for the Indianapolis Star, carried on (in 1925) a search for and discussion of old Indiana songs. Among the songs contrib­uted was "Fuller and Warren," the authorship of which was commonly attributed to Moses Whitecotton. Mrs. Rabb, however, believed this to be in­correct. The quoted comments given below I have excerpted from letters written to Mrs. Rabb in 1925, and sent me by her in 1935.
"I saw a request in the 'Hoosier Listening Post* asking anyone who had a version of the song 'Fuller and Warren' to send them a copy of it, and I have lost the address so I will send it to the Star, hoping it may find the person who asked for it. The story was told me by my father and mother. It was written by an old Scotchman named Whitecotton; I do not know his given name. He was an old man when my father knew him. He stayed as a guest at my great-grandfather's, Joseph Frakes in Orange Township, Rush County, Indiana, near Moscow. This Mr. Frakes was my mother's grandfather. He was a pioneer of Indiana coming here from Kentucky. He was a ranger in the War of 1812. He was living in Kentucky at the time Fuller was hung. Fuller was a Kentucky man. There was a gang of men on horseback came to the river but the ferry boat was on the Indiana side of the river, and the river was past fording. They had to ride some ways to get across and the hanging was over when they reached Lawrenceburg. They were intending to rescue Fuller, and my great-grandfather said if they could have crossed the river at Lawrenceburg there would have been a fight, but it was all over when they did get there. My father was a near neighbor to Mr. Frakes and often heard him tell the story of Fuller and Warren. My father was born in 1828, my mother in 1827. Father was ninety-six years old when he died; he was a Civil War soldier. I have heard my mother sing 'Fuller and Warren* many times." (Mrs. Ada Fenley, Route 1, Greensburg, Decatur County.)
"As to who he (Whitecotton) was or what he was I don't think they knew any more about him than you or I. My father often heard him sing his songs, and he claimed to have composed them. As to the truth of it I cannot say, but that there was such a character as Old Whitecotton I am sure. And my father often told me of a remarkable picture he painted on a large board, of 'John's Vision' as given in 'Revelations' of the Beast with 7 heads and 10 horns cloven feet and all. Each head was of a different kind, all fierce and lifelike, apparently in action except the one of the snake, which was hanging limp as if dead. 'John' was standing with one foot on the land and one on the water, with one hand raised above his head, while

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