Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
The only version of the famous song of "Dixie" which has the least literary merit is the original one we give, which was written by General Albert Pike. It is worthy of notice that the finest Puritan lyric we have was written by an Englishwoman, Mrs. Hemans, and the most famous if not the finest Southern war-song was written by a native of Massachusetts. Albert Pike was born in Boston. December 29, 1809, but most of his boyhood was spent in Newburyport. He became a teacber, but in 1831 visited the then wild country of the Southwest with a party of trappers. He afterward edited a paper at Little Rock, and studied law. He served in the Mexican war with some distinction, and on the breaking out of the Rebellion enlisted, on the Confederate side, a force of Cherokee Indians, whom he led at the battle of Pea Ridge. After the war he edited the Memphis Appeal till 1868, when he settled in Washington as a lawyer. His "Hymns to the Gods," published in Blackwood's Magazine, gave him a place among the earlier American poets.
The original song of " Dixie" was the composition of Dan D. Emmett, of Bryant's minstrels, and was first sung in New York in 1860. A writer in the Charleston Courier, under date of June 11, 1861, says it is an old Northern negro air, and that the words referred to one Dix, or Dixy, who had an estate on Manhattan Island, now New York city. Another theory is, that the name Dixie's Land was suggested by Mason and Dixon's line, of whicli so much was said in the days of slavery agitation. The first words used for the song in the South were from a poem entitled "The Star of the West," pub­lished in the Charleston Mercury early in 1861