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A fragment of an old song given the editor by Mrs. Fannie H. Eckstorm of Brewer, Maine, in 1914. It was given her by Mr. J. Eldredge, Edinburgh (Howland) Maine, twenty years or more prior to 1914. It was then regarded as an old song, and Mrs. Eckstorm remembers having heard a verse or two of it in her childhood. She places the date of the ballad at about 1855. On the basis of these facts it could not be much later than 1859. Shoemaker, North Pennsylvania Minstrelsy, pp. 76-78, gives a somewhat fuller text, as sung in 1901.
This song is evidently the original of "The Buffalo Skinners" in Lomax's Cowboy Songs. Internal evidence places that ballad at about 1873. There was very little, if any, killing of buffalo for hides after 1876. In 1880 the buffalo were almost extinct. Compare also a railroad man's song, known in the eighties, printed by R. W. Gordon in Adventure for October 20, 1923, p. 191. The first two stanzas are as follows:
Come all ye jolly railroad men, a story I '11 tell to you Of the trials and the hardships of an honest railroad man Who started out from Denver his fortune to make grow Till he struck the Oregon Short Line 'way out in Idaho.
I was walking round through Denver one luckless April day; Gilpatrick's man, Kercher, came up to me and did say He wanted lots of railroad men and wanted them to go To finish the Oregon Short Line 'way up in Idaho.
"Canaday-I-O" was composed, Professor Kittredge thinks, under the influence of a well-known " Canada 10" which begins:
There was a gallant lady all in her tender youth, She dearly lov'd a sailor, in truth she lov'd him much, And for to go to sea with him the way she did not know, She long'd to see that pretty place called Canada I 0.