Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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" You probably know me well enough to acquit me, iu this instance at least, of the charge of prejudice. I am jealous of Southern literature; and if I have any partiality in the matter at all, it is in favor of Major Lamar Fontaine's claim. I should like to claim this poem for that gentleman; I should be glad to claim it as a specimen of Southern literature, but the facts in the case do not warrant it."
So much for Mr. Fontaine's claim. On the other hand, Mr. Alfred II. Guernsey, for many years editor of Harper's Magazine, in a letter dated March 22, 1868, says: "The facts are just these: The poem bearing the title ' The Picket Guard,' appeared in Harper's Weekly for November 30, 1861. It was furnished by Mrs. Ethel Beers, a lady whom I thiuk incapable of palming off as her own any production of another."
Mrs. Beers herself, speaking of the poem in a private letter to me, says: " The poor 'Picket' has had so many authentic'claimants, and willing sponsors, that I sometimes question myself whether I did really write it that cool September morning, after reading the stereotyped announcement 'All quiet/ &c, to which was added in small type 'A picket shot.'" This letter had the same effect upon me that the agonized cry of the real mother "Give her the living child!" had upon King Solomon, as he dangled the baby in one hand and flourished the sword in the other.
Mrs. Beers was born in Goshen, Orange Co., N. Y., and her maiden name was Eth-elinda Eliot. She was a descendant of John Eliot, the apostle to the Indians. Her first contributions to the press appeared under the nom deplume of "Ethel Lynn," one easily and prettily suggested by her very Saxon Christian name. After her marriage, she added her husband's name, and over the signature Ethel Lynu Beers published many poems, among the best known of which are "Weighing the baby," "Which shall it be?" and " Baby looking out for me." Mrs. Beers resided in Orange, New Jersey, where she died, October 10, 1879, the day on which her poems were issued in book form.
The music of her soug was composed by J. Dayton, who was leader of the band of the First Connecticut Artillery, and has composed several other melodies.