(last updated January, 2014)
Contact: P. Gary Eller 208-442-8844 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Idaho Songs Project has identified approximately 200 songs predating the radio era (1923) that relate to Idaho. Presented here is an annotated bibliography that is constantly being updated as songs are found, new information is gained and errors corrected. This bibliography contains songs that are solidly based in Idaho history as well as sentimental, whimsical and instrumental compositions that are only nominally related to Idaho. The bibliography contains a few songs written after 1923 that are considered especially noteworthy.
About Idaho (C. L. Barnhouse, 1907) This song was noted in a 2008 ebay posting, where it was offered for sale for $50. We have not located this song elsewhere. The posting indicated the sheet music was for band, with score and set of parts.
Albion State Normal School (pre-1935?) Four short college songs are listed the 1935 yearbook The Sage for the Albion State Normal School (we thank Loren Evenson and the Bonner County Historical Museum for bringing these to our attention ). The four titles are Idaho, Booster Song, The Eyes of Albion are on You and Cardinal and Black.The school operated from 1893 to 1951, known in later years as Southern Idaho College of Education. Althought the songs were published in the 1935 yearbook, it is possible that some were written much earlier and predate 1923.
Alma Mater Idaho (Clyde Tull and Edna Campbell, 1911). This tribute (two verses with chorus) to the University of Idaho was provided by Jill Nock and Diane Conroy from the collection of the historic White Springs Ranch and Museum near Genessee. First line of first verse:
The poet sings of classic Yale, fair Harvard's stately ivied walls.
Columbia star is sung afar and Princeton's splendid storied halls.
Along the Hills of Idaho Where Mother Lies Asleeping (Fred S. Burton, 1907). Sheet music for this tribute to mother was published by the Victor Kremer Co. of Chicago/New York/London/Sydney. The refrain begins "Mid the hills of Idaho there mother lies asleep, where I used to wander oft through the sagebrush plains."
Are They Going to Hang My Papa (Owen Spendthrift, 1907) This rare song was found in the book Sagebrush Post Offices by Mildretta Adams (1986). Owen Spendthrift is a pseudonym for Frederick Forrest Berry, who wrote the American socialist publication Torch of Reason (1912) and lyrics for the Scott Joplin song When Your Hair is Like Snow. Mildretta Adams’ book stated that Are They Going to Hang My Papa was prominently posted all over Boise to arouse sympathy for Haywood during his trial for the assassination of former Governor Frank Steunenberg in the summer of 1907. The May 5, 1907 issue of the New York Times contains a lengthy article about protests of the trial in New York where 10,000 marchers were singing the song.. Original sheet music for Are They Going to Hang My Papa is in the EmuZeum near Grandview, Idaho and in the collection of Steunenberg historian John Richards. The sheet music cover shows a photograph of Big Bill Haywood’s daughter “little Henrietta”, who was born when Haywood was mining in Silver City in 1897 and formulating ideas for the radical Western Federation of Miners union. A rendition by John Larsen, Michelle Graves and Sean Rogers appeared on the 2008 CD Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigrant Trails released by the Idaho Songs Project and can be found at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. Additional background on the historically significant song is given in the book that accompanies the CD. First lines of chorus:
Are they going to hang my Papa? He’s innocent I know.
He never could do any wrong. He is so good and true.
Are You From Wallace, Idaho (J. C. Mulcahy, 1922) Sheet music for this fun song about the friendliness of hard-rock northern Idaho mining town of Wallace states that it is a "A Typical, Topical March Song". The song was reprinted for the 75th Silver Jubilee Celebration in Wallace and is available in museums in Wallace. A high quality recording made for the Jubilee can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of chorus:
Are you from Wallace? Yes, I’m from Wallace.
From dear old Wallace - Wallace way out in Idaho.
Where the sun it shines and the rich ore mines bring us all good times.
At That Bully Wooly Wild West Show (Edgar Leslie and Grant Clark, 1913) Original sheet music for this riotous celebration of “that wild west show from Idaho” are at Indiana University and the New York Public Library. A piano/banjo rendition by Sean Rogers and Gary Eller appeared on the CD High Tone Music of Idaho release in 2010 by the Idaho Songs Project. The song was part of the show “The Pleasure Seekers”, which according to the Internet Broadway Database (IBDB) played 72 times at the Winter Garden Theatre between Nov, 3, 1913 and Jan. 3, 1914. The song was recorded (Matrix B-14106) by the Peerless Quartet. Leslie, Clarke and Abrahams were noted and prolific Tin Pan Alley commercial song writers with significant hits such as “Ragtime Cowboy Joe.” Maurice Abrahams, the publisher, also was a notable New York composer and co-writer of “Ragtime Cowboy Joe.” Florence Moore was an American vaudeville and Broadway performer and silent film actress. First lines of verse:
Run dear, my hon dear, and put on your best,
And I will make you believe you’re out west.
Away Idaho See entry for “Idaho” by Frank French (1864).
Back in Idaho (John Bava, Lew Mel and Geo. Weir, date unknown) Lyrics but no melody for this classic but generic nostalgic song referring to a cowboy's life back in Idaho was found in the Mary Borelson Collection (No. 472) at the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.
Baker City March (E. J. Finck, 1895). This instrumental presumed to be dedicated to Baker City in eastern Oregon was found in the La Grande, Oregon public library
Battle of ’92 (1890s, Mrs. Mary Cleopatra Robinson) This title is listed in the sheet music of Miner’s Child which is described later in this bibliography. We have been unable to locate this song, which very likely is related to the labor struggles in the early 1890s in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho mining region, where Mrs. Robinson once lived.
Battle of the Flu (Clarence E. Eddy, 1918) This wonderful satirical song was published in The Silver Messenger newspaper in Challis, Idaho on November 18, 1918 and later in Eddy's book of poems and songs The Burro's Bray (ca. 1923). Eddy (1874-1936) was well-known across the American West and beyond as the “Poet-Prospector” of Idaho and Nevada. A rendition can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. “Battle of the Flu” hilariously commented on the rumors of imminent armed conflict between Idahoans from the competing mining towns of Challis and Mackay, because of the Spanish Flu quarantine instituted by community leaders in Challis. A rendition appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet The Burro's Bray issued in 2011. First line of verse:
On the fourteenth of November, in the year nineteen eighteen,
It was there and then enacted that most memorable scene.
Bear Lake Monster (Songwriter unknown, late 1870s) This song is in Ballads and Songs from Utah by Lester A. Hubbard (1961). The song was collected by George S. Taggart of Salt Lake City in 1948 but probably dates to the late 1870s since the name of Utah Territory Supreme Court Judge J. B. McKean is mentioned. Although putatively about the Bear Lake Monster of Native American and pioneer legends, the song in fact is a terrific political parody which uses the monster as an allegory for the federal government (or for Mormonism, depending upon the listener’s point of view). A rendition by Gary Eller appears in the CD The Idaho Songbag issued by the Idaho Humanities Council in 2010 and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First line of verse:
Good people have you heard of late of times in Bear Lake Valley?
They’re mustr’ring all the forces there, ‘tis possible to muster.
Bear School Song (Orianna Hubbard Martin, 1919) This school song from Bear, Idaho in the Hells Canyon region is found in Ballads of Idaho – Its Scenes and Citizens by Orianna Hubbard Martin (1952). The song was “written by request” in 1919 and used for three years” using the melody of My Old Kentucky Home. Martin spent many years in Adams County as a school teacher and “clubwoman.” First lines of verse:
The sun shines fair on the mountain stream of Bear,
As it glides through the deep wooded vale.
Beautiful Snow in Idaho ("Bachelor", 1893) Four verses and a chorus for this sarcastic song about "beautiful snow" were published in the Wood River Times newspaper on March 13, 1893. The paper stated that the song was submitted from Smoky, Idaho on February 20, 1893. The melody was given as that of the Irish drinking son "Rosin the Bow." Chorus:
Way out in Idaho. The mountains of Idaho. We've traveled the country all over, to admire the beautiful snow.
Belle of Idaho (Frank O. Rosenberg, 1910) Sheet music for this fun cowboy/cowgirl song is at the University of Indiana. Last lines of chorus:
My sweet Ida, Idaho – faster, faster pony go.
Will you promise love diving, that you’ll love me all the time? My sweet Ida, Ida, Idaho.
The Big Combine (Jock Coleman, 1910s) This excellent labor song is about harvesting wheat and barley on the Palouse Prairie of eastern Washington/northern Idaho using the gigantic combines of the early 1900s. It is one of many Wobblie songs that were set to the tune of Casey Jones. The song is in the special collections of the University of Idaho (UofI) in a book of Wobblie songs. A rendition by George Nourse of Caldwell appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet The Way We Worked in Idaho and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
Well come you rounders that want to hear, the story of a bunch of stiffs a-harvestin’ here.
The greatest bunch of boys ever come down the line is the harvestin’ crew on the big combine.
The Big Red Apple (M. N. Webb and John McPherson, early 1900s). Sheet music for this song about growing apples in the Mann's Creek area was received from Kenneth D. Webb of Weiser. Songwriter M. N. Webb was his grandfather. The sheet music included a colorful cartoon with various characters commenting on the outstanding quality of the apples in this once famous orchard region. First lines of verse: Ho, my brother, see the red apple now hanging on the tree. More are growing, and, soon maturing, happiness we'll see.
Boise - The Place We Call Home (Mary Miller and J. B. Love, ca. 1915) Original sheet music for this lovely tribute to Idaho’s capitol city is at the Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) archives. The music, bearing no date or copyright marking, was published by Capital News Publishing Co. of Boise. The illustration of the capitol is identical to that which appears on a postcard bearing a copyright date of 1913 attributed to the Tourtelotte architectural firm, designers of the capitol. We can reasonably infer, therefore, that the song dates from around the mid 1910s. Information about the lyricist, Mary Miller, was found in the Ben Miller Collection at ISHS and in an obituary of Feb. 21, 1935 in the Daily Nampa Herald. She was born as Mary Elizabeth Flood in Hemingford, Quebec, Canada in1859 and came to Idaho in 1884. In 1887 at Banner, she married Boise Basin miner Ben Miller, but Ben died only four years later. The Ben Miller collection contains touching handwritten love letters from 1886 and 1887 a wonderful description of the wedding party. Mary Miller lived in Nampa from 1906 until her death in 1935. We were unable to find any information about J. B. Love, the composer of the musical score. A piano/banjo rendition was released on the CD High Tone Music of Idaho in 2010 by the Idaho Songs Project. First lines of refrain:
Oh Boise, our beautiful Boise. The mountains stand guard around thee.
For our wonderful valley of golden dreams, is a valley where all dreams come true.
Bonners Ferry Special (songwriter and date unknown) Lyrics for this ditty, perhaps sung to the air of Yankee Doodle, was found in the archives of the Boundary County Historical Society. The song is about the everyday toils of Idaho housewives at the time and appears to have been sung by the Idaho Club, a women's social club.Chorus:
Idaho Club women all enjoy our get-together. Mind the music and the fun and never mind the weather.
Boys and Girls of Idaho (songwriter and date unknown) Lyrics for this children’s song appear in Rosalie Sorrels’ landmark 1990 book of Idaho songs, poems and stories Way Out in Idaho, as well as in the Stella Hendren collection at Utah State University and Songs of the Saddle and Trails into Lonesome Land by E. A. Brubacher (194?). The melody is given as that of Oh Tannenbaum. First lines of verse:
The boys and girls of Idaho, Idaho oh Idaho,
They’ll make the sheep and chickens grow. In Idaho, oh Idaho.
Boys of the Cache and Bear (Thomas Stevens, ca. 1868). This song is a variant of the beloved Mormon event ballad “Green River Song,” also known as “Boys of Sanpete.” The song tells of the tragic drowning on June 25, 1868 of six young Mormon men attempting to cross the Green River in Wyoming. The men were on a “down and back” mission to assist emigrants journeying west to Utah on the Mormon Trail. An excellent account of this event can be found in Melvin L. Bashore’s article “Without Fear or Thought of Danger,” published in 2003 by the Mormon Historical Sites Foundation. Most of the large relief party, commanded by Bishop William S. Seeley, was from Sanpete County south of Salt Lake City. Contingents from other areas joined the effort. The assisting groups included men from the Cache and Bear Valleys of northern Utah and southeast Idaho led by Captain Simpson M. Molen of Hyde Park (north of Logan). “Boys of Sanpete,” written shortly after the event by a survivor, begins with the lyrics “We the boys of Sanpete County.” This song was sung widely across the vast Mormon west and is on a 1997 recording by the Beehive Band of Salt Lake City.
The version discussed here begins with “We the boys of the Cache and Bear,” indicating the role of Cache and Bear Valley people in the tragic event. Lyrics for this version are from Treasured Tidbits of Time – An Informal History of Mormon Conquest and Settlement of the Bear Lake Valley by J. Patrick Wilde(1977).The melody is given as that of the Civil War song “Oh Mother is the Battle Over?” According to the author’s widow, Wilde likely got the lyrics from his extensive oral history work in southeast Idaho.A rendition by Gary Eller appeared in the CD Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigrant Trails released in 2008 by the Idaho Songs Project. First lines of verse:
We the boys of the Cache and Bear, obedient to the call,
Started east with fifty wagons, to get the pilgrims in by fall.
A Bungalow in Idaho (Joseph B. Carey, 1921) In the lyrics from sheet music for this silly “harmony fox-trot ballad,” an Idaho cowboy pines about drifting off to the islands to find his “sweet Hawaiian maid.” Published by Buell Music Co., Pantages Theater Bldg., San Francisco. Last line in chorus:
Sweet Aloha Oe, come and eat your poi in the garden where the honeysuckles grow.
Sweet Aloha Oe, there’s a lonesome boy in a bungalow in Idaho.
Campaign Songs of 1896 (songwriters unknown, 1896) Four short campaign ditties during the Bryan-McKinley presidential campaign appear in the Idaho World newspaper on Aug. 14, 1896. The question of free coinage of silver, an important issue in silver-producing states such as Idaho, was front and center in these ditties. First lines of first ditty:
Oh, the Democrats so bold, kicked the belly off the gold!
And the silver men had all the say.
Captains Lewis and Clark Return Salute (Mrs. Lucas, 1806) One verse in French appears in Lewis and Clark– Partners in Discovery by John Bakeless (1947). An English translation is in Meriwether Lewis by Richard Dillon (1965). It was sung at a dinner for the Captains Lewis and Clark on the return of the Corps of Discovery from the West to St. Louis on Sept. 23, 1806. The song was attributed to “Mrs. Lucas… nee Anne Sebin,” and likely included a verse about Clark which has been lost to history.
Le Capitaine Louis pour combler sa gloire
Aux source du Missouri s’en est alle’ boire,
Du mont ou ce fleuve sort,
Il a pris sa course au nord.
Captain Lewis, his glory to crown
To the springs of the Missouri took himself to drink down.
From the mount where this river springs forth
He made his journey to the north.
Challis Girls (Clarence E. Eddy, 1902) Lyrics for this song were found in The Pinnacle of Parnassus , a book of poetry and songs published in 1902 by “Poet-Prospector” Clarence E. Eddy. The book was reprinted in 2005 by the Yankee Fork Interpretive Center in Challis. The melody is given as that of Last Rose of Summer, which in turn was taken from the Irish song “The Groves of Blarney.” A rendition by Chad Summervill and Joe Young of Boise appeared on the Idaho Songs Project The Pinnacle of Parnassus (2011). First lines of verse:
There’s a town that’s known as Challis in southern Idaho.
Beside the Salmon River with its ceaseless surging flow.
Class Song (Florence Corbett, 1896) This song of three verses and chorus appeared in the first commencement program for the University of Idaho. The songwriter was one of the two women and two men in this first graduating class. The song is a typical college Alma Mater song with no specific reference to Idaho.
Cold Springs Waltz (Carl J. Erickson and Minnie Erickson Parkins, ca. 1900) A handwritten melody for this instrumental was found at the Ilo-Volmer Historical Society (IVHS) in Cragmont, Idaho. Cold Springs is an area near Cragmont. The music was given to IVHS by a daughter of Karl Erickson, a logger and fiddler, who died in 1901. The music has the handwriting “donated by Major Parkins June 1996.” A piano/banjo rendition by Sean Rogers and Gary Eller appeared on the CD/booklet High Tone Music of Idaho issued by the Idaho Songs Project in 2010 and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month.
College of Idaho Alumni Song (Ruth Gipson Plowhead, date unknown) This College of Idaho song was published in College of Idaho Songs in 1938 or 1941. No songwriter or date was indicated, but it may have been written much earlier than 1938. First lines of verse:
All the while I’m thinking of our dear old C. of I.
All the while I’m dreaming of days long since gone by.
College of Idaho – C. of I. (Sarah Rankin, 1910s?) This College of Idaho song was published in College of Idaho Songs in 1938. However, it likely was written much earlier by Sarah Rankin, who taught Spanish and German at the college beginning in 1913. First lines of verse:
Out in the west where the soil is rich, and the sun is a blaze of glory,
They started the College of Idaho and the plucky school began to grow.
College of Idaho Fight Song (unknown songwriter and date) This College of Idaho song was published in College of Idaho Songs in 1938 or 1941. No songwriter or date was indicated, but it was part of a medley of songs “arranged for the 1922 Glees. First lines of verse:
Over hill, over dale, as they hit the scrimmage trail,
The Coyotes go fighting along.
College of Idaho – College Hymn (songwriter and date unknown) This College of Idaho song was published in College of Idaho Songs in 1938 or 1941. No songwriter or date was indicated, but it was part of a medley of songs “arranged for 1922 Glees.” First lines of verse:
With love and steadfast loyalty, as tho’ to scept’red royalty,
We yield our homage day by day to Alma Mater’s gracious sway.
College of Idaho – College Loyalty (Forrest Sower, ca. 1908) This College of Idaho song was published in College of Idaho Songs (publication date uncertain – perhaps 1938 or 1941.) No songwriter or date was indicated, but it was part of a medley of songs “arranged for 1922 Glees.” First lines of verse:
Hail our grand old Alma Mater, fostered in the fertile West,
With her colors gold and purple proudly waving o’er her crest.
College of Idaho – Mid Western Hills (Forrest Sower, date unknown) This College of Idaho alma mater song was published in College of Idaho Songs (1938 or 1941). It was the winner of the “Lowell Award” at the College of Idaho in 1927, so it may have been written in that year. First lines of verse:
‘Mid western hills there’s a college dearer than all the rest.
No time can e’er change our devotion.
College of Idaho - Oh College Song (songwriter unknown, early 1900s). This College of Idaho song was published in College of Idaho Songs in 1938 or 1941. No songwriter or date was indicated, but it was part of a medley of songs “arranged for 1922 Glees.” First lines of verse:
Way out here in Idaho, there was a man of brains,
So he thot (sic) he’d have a school and make it “Go.”
Colorado (C. P. McDonald and S. Wallenstein).Sheet music in digital form for this whimsical cowboy/cowgirl love song is viewable at the website for the Levy Sheet Music Collection at Johns Hopkins University. The only reationship to Idaho is the mention of the state in the first lines of verse:
Long ago in wild and wooly Idaho, when the full moon shone on hill and plains....
Come All Ye Toiling Millions (Hannibal F. "Seven Devils" Johnson, ca. 1895). This wonderful rant against the "old monoply and the gigantic trust" was published in 1895 by the colorful poet-prospector Johnson in his 100+ page book of poems and songs Poems of Idaho. The poem reflects his inclination to populist politics. First verse:
Come all ye toiling millions that labor for your life, to support yourselves and families-your children and your wife.
Come rally to our standard now in this gigantic strife, then we'll go marching to victory.
The Constabule (Clarence E. Eddy, late 1910s) This wonderfully funny song by “The Poet-Prospector of Idaho” is in the prospectus for his book of poems The Burro’s Bray in the Boise State University Special Collections. The song did not appear in the book when it was published around 1923. Eddy indicated the composition was "A song and dance specialty for expert vaudeville artists". “The Constabule” is about a self-important country law enforcement agent who takes it upon himself to rein in speeding motor car drivers. Who knows – perhaps Clarence Eddy himself ran in this constabule when he was driving his ford from Pocatello or Salt Lake City to the Yankee Fork region of Idaho. No melody was given, so Gary Eller adapted put it to the melody of “Twelfth Street Rag” which was a very popular vaudeville song in the early 1900s. His rendition can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
“To keep this world from Blewie Blue, oh that is my dominion.
To keep an eye on such as you, and your conduct and opinion.
Cowboy Square Dance - see discussion for Frozen Dog Quadrille.
Curly Joe from Idaho (songwriter and date unknown) This song in WOII is from the Stella Hendren collection. First lines of verse:
Let me tell you a tale of a gamblin’ man.
The roughest and toughest of all,
He was Curly Joe from Idaho
Dainty Flo from Idaho (Florence L. Burson and W. Harrison Barber, 1905) This light turn of the century love song is only nominally related to Idaho. Sheet music is in the University of Colorado Digital Sheet Music Collection. First lines of verse:
In the great northwest in Idaho lives a maid you may know.
With suitors by the score, with youth and beauty and friends galore.
Dear Old Idaho (J. Craig and Olive I. Thompson, 1905) Sheet music for this sentimental song about “dear old Rose” in “dear old Idaho” is in the Idaho State Historical Societyarchives. The music publisher was J. Craig Music Co. at 1106 Fort Street, Boise. Words were by Craig and music by Thompson. First lines of verse:
I want to wander once again in dear old Idaho,
‘Mid echoes of the woodland and the dell.
The Deserted Husband (Hannibal F. "Seven Devils" Johnson, ca. 1895). This song about a wandering wife was published by Johnson in 1895 in his 100+ book of poems and songs Poems of Idaho. Chorus:
Then Minnie, dear Minnie, come home with me now. The clock on the mantel strikes one.
There is no one at home now to milk the old cow, and I am forever undone.
Dig Me a Grave in the Owyhees (Bud Baltazor, late 1930s) This song was written by the legendary mustanger and jerk-line skinner Bud Baltazor of southwest Idaho. Lyrics are presented on page 168 of WOII and earlier in the book Last of the Mustangs and Jerkline Skinners, cowritten and published in 1976 by Bud and his grandson Jerry Baltazor of Shoshone. This is a delightful tongue-in-cheek song with lyrics in the classic range cowboy style. The song is a takeoff on the 1937 song Dig Me a Grave in Missouri and no doubt was for fun in the saddle or around the evening campfire. Despite the post-1923 date of the song, it is included in this collection because it is such a fine adaption of a cowboy song to Idaho. Gary Eller and the noted western singer Carolyn Larson (Patterson) of Grandview applied a plausible new melody and, with permission of Jerry Baltazor recorded the song for the CD Ballads of Owyhee Country, issued in April 2007 by the Owyhee County Historical Society. Chorus:
I’ll take my saddle mustangin’. Drink from my jug when I’m dry.
Well now its dig me a grave in the Owyhees, but don’t throw me in ‘til I die.
Discoveries of Captain Lewis (John Quincy Adams, 1806) When Meriwether Lewis returned to the East Coast in the fall of 1806 after the conclusion of the Corp of Discovery expedition, he was exuberantly feted. Skeptics, however, had doubts about that significance of Lewis’ accomplishments. A stingingly sarcastic poem by John Quincy Adams was immediately issued. Because pre-1910 songs related directly in any way to Lewis and Clarke are almost unknown and Adam’s poem is so illustrative of some thought at the time, Gary Eller set the verse to the melody of the Revolutionary War Song Yankee Doodle Dandy. First lines of verse:
Good people, listen to my tale, ‘tis nothing but what true is.
I’ll tell you of the mighty deeds achiev’d by Captain Lewis.
Dowdle Bill (song writer unknown, 1877) Two verses for this song are given in the book Vigilante Days and Ways by Nathaniel Pitt Langford (1890). Verses also appear in Six Decades Back by C. S. Walgamott (1936). The melody is given as that of the popular California mining song The Days of Forty Nine. The song was composed in the Rock Creek, Idaho area in 1877 by pall bearers carrying the body of Dowdle Bill. Bill had recently been released from prison for stealing horses and was seeking revenge on the man who had turned him in. Instead, he was shot dead after getting drunk, shooting up the town and killing a passerby. Marv Quinton’s acapella rendition appears in the CD Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigrant Trails issued in 2008 by the Idaho Songs Project. First lines of verse:
Old Dowdle Bill was a hard old case; he never would repent.
He never was known to miss a meal, or ever pay a cent.
Down in Idaho (A. H. Wimperis, 1899) This title was noted on the internet, but sheet music has not been located. The song is believed to be from the stage show “The Butterfly.”
Down Where the Lost Rivers Flow (Flora Mason Foster, 1917) We have found this wonderful cowboy/ranching song numerous places around Idaho, so it surely had quite a bit of popularity at one time. We consider it one of the finest true Idaho cowboy songs among the many we have seen. The song appeared in the Apr. 30, 1920 issue of the Arco Advertiser newspaper and later in the book Little Lost River Valley by Anna Kyle Sermon (2000) Sheet music is at the ISHS, among other places, but only as photocopies. The song was written around the start of World War I, inspired by Arco area boys marching off to war. Information on Flora Mason Foster was obtained from ISHS Ref. Series #882 and conversations with Reva Walker of Arco. Flora was born in 1879 in Strother, Missouri, educated at Christian College in Columbia and then came to Idaho. She taught at the University of Idaho-Southern Branch (now Idaho State University) and in public schools in Arco and Boise. In 1945, Flora was appointed by Governor Gossett to direct ISHS, serving two years while construction of the new museum at Julia Davis Park was begun. She died in 1972 in California. A rendition of the song by Sean Rogers and Gary Eller appeared in the CD High Tone Music of Idaho issued in 2010 by The Idaho Songs Project and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. Chorus:
Oh, Idaho is great – she is my state.
And I love her every mountain and stream and lake.
Driggs Railroad Song (B. W. Driggs and David E. Smith, 1912) This song celebrating the arrival of the Oregon Short Line railroad in Driggs, Idaho is from History of Teton Valley by D. W. Driggs (1926). Sheet music appeared earlier under the title "Song of the Teton" in the Sept. 19, 1912 issue of the Teton Valley News. A rendition by Hal Cannon, using his own melody, appeared on the CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho" and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
There is not in this world a valley so sweet,
As this vale of the Tetons in beauty complete.
Dynamite Queen (1890s? Mary Cleopatra Robinson) (see comments for Miner’s Child.)
Eagle Rock (songwriter and date unknown) Three verses of this sentimental tribute to the location known after 1891 as Idaho Falls, Idaho are contained in Vardis Fisher’s book Idaho Lore, WPA Federal Writers Project (1939). No melody is given. First lines of verse:
Millionaires grow in Chicago in mansions of marble and pride.
Homes grow in Eagle Rock, and friendships, true and tried.
Ed's Song (Edwin Harrington Trafton, 1898). East Idahoan Ed Trafton was most famous for singlehandedly holding up seventeen stagecoaches in one day in Yellowstone National Park in July, 1914. But his life was colorfully decorated with other nefarious clashes with the including conviction of horse thievery, jail break and taking a pistol from a deputy at the Fremont County jail in 1887. An article in the September 24, 1922 issue of the Idaho Statesman included this song about the 1887 incident that Trafton is said to have written and sung at dances in the Teton Basin between 1890 and 1895. First line of song: Kind friends of Bingham County, pause and listen to my song. It's of one Ed Harrington, I'll not detain you long.
Fair Idaho (Phineus Tempest, 1919) This Idaho tribute song was written by Eastern Idaho resident Phineus Tempest. Sheet music is at ISHS. The song was published by Delmar Music Co. of Chicago. A biography of English-born Phineus Tempest (1845-1931), a Mormon pioneer, newspaper man, inventor and farmer, can be found in History of Idaho: the Gem of the Mountains by James Henry Hawley (1920). Chorus:
Idaho is the land for me – ‘tis the fairest spot upon earth.
I’ll live and die ‘neath thy blue sky. “Tis the land – ‘tis the land for me.
Fair Time (songwriter and date unknown) Five verses and a chorus for this song were found in October 2007 in the book Pioneer Families of Cedar Creek Ridge by Anna Smith Mitchell in the Nez Perce County Historical Society. Similar lyrics and title variations can be found in collections from other states. The chorus consists of classic “nonsense” lyrics. First lines of verse:
When the golden hued October tells us we’ve time to spare,
We’ll yoke up Buck and Brindle and go haw-gee to the fair.
Fallen Leaf (songwriter unknown, late 1880s) Versions of this love song about a hunter and Indian maiden are found in many places, including recordings from the mid 1900s by country singers Chickie Williams, Texas Ruby and Nevada Slim. Even earlier recordings date to 1926 (L. K. Reeder) and 1930 (Paul Hamblin). A version from the U. S. Library of Congress American Memories Collection titled Falling Leaf attributes the song to Annie M Curtis and A. C. Farnham (1881). None of these variations mention any specific geographic region. Melody lines and lyrics for two versions specific to the Snake River region are found in WOII. The variants were obtained from the song collection of Stella Hendren of northern Idaho. The book indicates the lyrics were written by a Wyoming cowboy named Jim Stewart while riding into the Two Bar Seventy Ranch in 1887 or 1888. First lines of lyrics:
Far beyond the rolling prairie, where the old Snake River lies,
Dwelt the fairest Indian maiden ever seen by mortal eyes.
Farewell to Old Elm (unknown songwriter, 1860s?). This seven-stanza song in Vardis Fisher's book Idaho Lore (1939) speaks of rouble of a cowboy causing his departure for Idaho. The reference to Lige (Bivins), a Texas outlaw, ties the song to Elm, Texas in the Big Bend country of the Rio Grande. The phrase "now when this war is over and I return again" seems to peg the song to the Civil War era. First lines of lyrics:
Farewell to old Elm, I can no longer stay. Hard times and relations have driven me away.
Hard times and the rangers have cause me to roam. I am a southern cowboy and Elm is my home.
Fifty Thousand Lumberjacks (songwriter unknown, ca. 1917) This classic Wobblie-influence song wonderfully depicts the deplorable conditions endured by North Idaho lumberjacks in the early 1900s. Lyrics are set to the air of Portland Jail and can be found in numerous places, including Norm Cohen’s Folk Music: A Regional Exploration (2005). The song was collected in North Idaho in 1917. A recording by Joe Glazer is in the LP “Songs for Woodworkers” (1977). A rendition by life-long timber worker Earl Gleason of St. Maries, Idaho appears in the CD The Idaho Songbag issued in 2010 by the Idaho Humanities Council. A second variant also collected in north Idaho in 1917 was discussed in the California Folklore Quarterly in 1942. A rendition of this variant by Shayne Watkins of Deary and Greg Hodapp of Moscow appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet The Way We Worked in Idaho (2011). Both variants can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
Fifty thousand lumberjacks, fifty thousand packs.
Fifty thousand dirty rolls of blankets on their backs.
The Flag of the Free (Clarence E. Eddy, 1902) Lyrics for this patriotic song are found in Eddy's book of poems and songs The Pinnacle of Parnassus (1902). The Poet-Prospector gave the melody as that of the popular patriotic song Red, White and Blue, a melody also used in the songs Hail Brittania and Columbia Gem of the Ocean. While the verses do not specifically refer to Idaho, the prominence of the Poet-Prospector and the likelihood that it was written and performed in Idaho warrants its inclusion in this bibliography. First verse:
Hail flag of the free, all behold thee, loved emblem of sweet liberty.
To our hearts we would fainly enfold thee, sweet hallowed flag of the free.
For Some Little Girls (Hannibal F. "Seven Devils Johnson," ca. 1895). This sweet eleven-stanza composition, "composed and sung for some little girls", appeared in Johnson's 100+ page book of poems and songs Poems of Idaho, published in Weiser in 1895. First lines of verse:
One morning quite early, I felt rather surly. I rose from bed and walked out in the air.
The cattle were lowing, the chickens were crowing, all nature seemed beautiful, lovely and fair.
Fort Limhi Camp Song (Israel Justus Clark, 1855-1858) This rare Mormon-related and very early Idaho song was written by one of the original pioneers at the attempted Mormon colony near present day Salmon. Partial lyrics for this song are in the book Fort Limhi, The Mormon Adventure in Oregon Territory, 1855-1858 by David L. Bigler (2004) and in the special collections of Brigham Young University. The song also is referred to as the Indian Mission Song. A rendition by Marv Quinton appeared in the CD The Idaho Songbag issued in 2010 by the Idaho Humanities Council and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
Wake, o wake the camp from sleeping. Watchman, watchman what’s the hour?
Frozen Dog Quadrille (Col. Wm. C. Hunter, 1905) This song appeared in Frozen Dog Tales and Other Things, a book of parody poems and songs about life in the mythical town of Frozen Dog, Idaho, published in 1905 by Col. Wm. C. Hunter of Emmett. The melody is given as that of the well-known northeastern old time fiddle and dance tune Money Musk. The lyricist (likely not Wm. C. Hunter) and date are unknown. The song does not specifically refer to the Idaho but it appears to have been well known in the state since it appears in many other places under names including Cowboy's Dance and Idaho Cowboy's Dance, at least as early as the John A. Lomax book Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cowcamp (1919). The lyrics appeared in WOII, where Rosalie Sorrels states that she found it in a newspaper clipping under that title. This song also was performed in the stage production Light on the Mountains – The Idaho Pageant by Talbot Jennings (University of Idaho, 1923) where credit for the lyrics are given to James Barton Adams. Adams was a well known Denver newspaper man and writer of cowboy poetry in the late 1800s and published a poem of a similar name (later recorded both as a poem by Glenn Ohrlin on a Smithsonian Global Sound project and set to music later by Wylie and the Wild West), but with completely different lyrics. The exact origin of the "Frozen Dog" version therefore is in doubt. A rendition can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
Git yer little sage hens ready, trot ‘em out upon the floor.
Line up there, you cusses! Steady! Lively now! One couple more.
Hail to thee Idaho, Gem of the Mountains.
Won from the wastes and the wilderness far.
Get Out Yellowskins (songwriter unknown, late 1800’s) This song is an emotional diatribe about the murder of about thirty Chinese placer miners in Hells Canyon in 1887 for their gold. Also see the entry for Our Captain Old Blue in this bibliography. Seven cowboys were suspected to be responsible, but there were no convictions. A scholarly treatise on the event, Massacred for Gold - the Chines in Hells Canyon, was published in 2009 by Gregory Nokes. The song was collected in the summer of 1950 by Olive Woolley Burt in Lewiston from the reluctant “Old Cap” who said “there ain’t no use diggin’into those past troubles now.” A melody line and lyrics are given in Woolley Burt’s American Murder Murder Ballads. Songwriter and date of origin unknown, but the song probably was composed soon after the incident. This song is noteworthy for its racist tone, reflecting common sentiment of the time throughout the American West against Chinese. Verse:
The Yellowskins here in these hills, now know how it appears,
To have their gold by others stole, as we have suffered for years.
Girl I left Behind Me - Coming to Boise Song (Songwriter unknown songwriter, 1860s or 70s?) This rare song was found in Nathan Bender’s “cigar box” collection of hand written lyrics of songs sung from the late 1890s in the Myrtle area, now in the University of Idaho Special Collections. The melody and theme are based on the classic Irish song Girl I Left Behind Me. Notes after the handwritten lyrics describe extreme Boise weather swings during a single day, ranging from heat to snow. First lines of verse:
My parents raised me tenderly – they had no child but me.
And being bent on rambling, as you will shortly see.
Git Along Little Doggies (unknown songwriter, 1880s?) This well-known American cowboy song contains a reference to the great cattle drives from Texas to Idaho in the 1870s and 1880s. Last lines of last verse:
We’ll fill you up on prickly pear and cholla,
Then throw you on the trail to Idaho.
Golden Arrow (Harry Williams and Egbert Van Alstyne, 1909) Sheet music for this silly cowboy/Indian love song about winning the love of a beautiful Indian princess is at Duke University. A cylinder recording by Frank Stanley and Henry Burr can be heard at the website of the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project of the University of California-Santa Barbara. The only relationship of this song to Idaho is the line “eyes black as night, but as bright as the light of any sunset in Idaho”. First lines of refrain:
My little Golden Arrow I love you.
You’ve pierced my heart it’s true, pretty Sioux.
Golden Chest March and Two Step (Jeane Jacobs, 1900) Sheet music for this instrumental are in the Sprague Pole Museum in Murray. The sheet music indicates it was written in Murray and dedicated to the nearby Golden Chest mine. The cover shows a photo of the Golden Chest mill with the descriptor “Golden Chest Mill, Murray, Idaho” and the dedication “To My Friends of the Golden Chest Mine.” The song was published by J. Jacoby & Co., Spokane, Wash.
Gooding College Songs (dates unknown) Three short undated songs are in the 1930 issue of the Gooding College's yearbook Sagebrush Echo. Thanks go to Loren Evenson and the Bonner County Historical Museum for bringing these songs to our attention. The first two are fight songs from a contest, Standing by You (by Helen Aldrich, first prize) and We Want Victory (also by Helen Aldrich, second prize). They may have been written during the shool year. The third song by Mrs. Edith M. Roberts Gooding College, Alma Mater may have been written earlier. Gooding College operated from 1917 to 1938.
Gooding Sheep Song (unknown songwriter and date) Typewritten lyrics with no title are in the Special Collections of the Ketchum Community Library. The only marking is the handwritten “MS-379”. The song is a protest of tax policy that favored powerful interests, including the sheep empire of future governor Frank Gooding. The meter and lyrics suggest it was a sung to the melody of Mary Had a Little Lamb. A rendition by John Larsen appeared on the CD/Booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho" that was issued by The Idaho Songs Project in 2011. The track can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
Gooding had eight thousand sheep, their fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Gooding went, the sheep were sure to go.
Grand Idaho (songwriter unknown, early 1900s?) Lyrics for this song were published under the simpler title “Idaho” in the Twin Falls News newspaper on November 10, 1905 with the note “Tune: Beulah Land,” but no further information. This song also is found in the University of Idaho Special Collections and the title was mentioned in Jan Brunvand’s article Folksong Studies of Idaho in Louie Attebery’s Idaho Folklore (1985). The song was collected from Mrs. Bob Dawson of Caldwell, Idaho. First lines of chorus:
Oh, Idaho, Grand Idaho, it’s just the place for you to go,
With climate fair and sunny skies, where mountains rich in grand grandeur…
Grave of Lizzie King (Clarence E. Eddy, 1902)This song from POPis about one of the three individuals involved in a legendary love triangle that left all three dead by gunshot in 1878 and 1880 at the gold-mining town of Custer on the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River. The song also is notable because of its remarkably early element of environmental protest. It uses the despoliation of a virtuous woman (questionable as that premise might be in this case) as a metaphor for the ruination of the Yankee Fork, once one of the great salmon spawning tributaries of the Salmon River. The melody is taken from the song “Green Fields of Virginia,” which later became a Carter Family favorite. A rendition by Gary Eller and Marv Quinton appears in the CD The Idaho Songbag issued in 2010 by the Idaho Humanities Council. Marv's rendition can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
By a lonely western valley on the hill lies Lizzie King,
While the years with silent footsteps steal away.
She had fallen by the wayside, her of whom I now would sing,
But she died upon a long long vanished day.
Hail, Tute All-Glorious (songwriter unknown, early 1900s) This song is an anthem from the early days of the Intermountain Institute (1899-1933) in Weiser, Idaho. The song appeared in The Old Tute – A Catlog of Photographs in the Intermountain Cultural Center and Museum by Mary Bokides (1981). First lines of verse:
Hail, Tute all-glorious, unto thee we sing. Ever victorious, homage we bring.
Happy Ties (Ezra Christiansen and Edward Dewsnup, 1906). Three verses of this alma mater song for Ricks Academy (now BYU-Idaho) in Rexburg are in the book The Spirit of Ricks by David Lester Crowder (1997). Christiansen, the academy principal, wrote the lyrics and Dewsnup adapted the song to orchestra. Crowder's book states "The two-step could be danced to Music" and the song "filled the dancers with enthusiasm and they filled the hall with song while they danced to it." First verse:
Happy ties can ne'er by broken, formed by you and me. Far surpassing wealth unspoken, they'll forever be.
Harry Orchard Song (songwriter unknown, ca. 1907) This song relates to one of Idaho’s most important legal cases–the prosecution of Big Bill Haywood for the bombing assassination of former Idaho Governor Frank Steuenberg. Harry Orchard was the confessed trigger man for the bombing, but a sensational trial of Western Federation of Miners leaders Haywood and two other Western Federation of Miners union leaders, who were extradited under questional circumstances from Denver, captured the nation’s attention. The legendary Clarence Darrow served for the defense and Idaho’s two most legendary attorneys, James Hawley and William Borah, prosecuted in this momentous trial. Lyrics and melody line appear in WOII and earlier in Wooley Burt’s book American Murder Ballads and other Stories (1958). Acapella recordings of this song have been rendered by Utah Phillips on the CD The Long Memory (1996) and by John Larsen in Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigrant Trails issued in 2008 by the Idaho Songs Project.
Harry Orchard is in prison – the reason you all know.
He killed Frank Steunenberg, right here in Idyho.
Hasn't Done Anything Since (Carl Illum, date unknown) Three verses and a melody line are given in the Countryside Folklore collection compiled by Kenneth Larson, from songs he collected in the McCammon, Idaho area. One of the three verses of this lighthearted humorous song refers to the girls of Malad "stuck up for a show." A footnote states "Mr. Illum, then quite the country comedian, used to sing this song at the pioneer dances in St. John, and it is suspected that he himself wrote it." The song likely was written in the early 1900s. First lines of verse:
One fine day my brother he picked up a pin, and he hasn't doe anything since
Heigh Ho For Idaho (unknown songwriter, 1862). Lyrics (no melody given) for this song appear in A Journal of Travel, which consists of the writing of E. S. McComas, who traveled west from Iowa in 1862 for the Salmon River mines. Instead, he wound up in eastern Oregon where he spent his life as a miner, entrepreneur and (most significantly) an editor for the Mountain Sentinel in Union and the Grande Ronde newspapers. This song is exceptional in several aspects, aside from being one of the earliest known “Idaho” songs. It is equally rare as an early song pertaining directly to the Oregon Trail and as a song by men traveling west (rather than north and east from the Pacific Coast) to the Idaho mines. A rendition by Charley Simmons can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. Also see entry for “For Idaho” in this bibliography . First lines of verse:
Heigh-ho for Idaho. When the sun melts the winter snow,and the earliest April violets blow,
Then Jim and Bob an I and Joe, shall hitch up our wagons and teams & go, over the plains to Idaho.
Here We Have Idaho (Sallie Hume-Douglas, 1915) This song was adapted in 1931 by the Idaho state Legislature as the official song of Idaho and appears in many places. A copyrighted version of the music by Sallie Hume Douglas appeared in 1915. A 1931 copyrighted version with revisions by Bethel Packenham is the version that became the official state song. Interesting legal complications involving charges of plagiarism of a song from Hawaii are part of the history of this song and there is speculation that the melody itself may be from an old hymn! A folder at ISHS contains fascinating legal correspondence on the matter. First lines of chorus:
Here we have Idaho, winning her way to fame.
Silver and gold in the sunlight blaze, and romance lies in her name.
Hurrah for Old Gold Hill (unknown songwriter and date) This song appeared in Homesteaders and Early Settlers of the Cedar Creek Ridge Area, Latah County, Idaho by Anna Smith Mitchell (1878). First lines of chorus:
Then give a cheer for our school, Hurrah for old Gold Hill (repeat).
None other, north, east south or west is nearly half so fine.
Hymns Translated into the Nez Perce language. A number of Presbyterian and Catholic hymns were translated into Nez Perce prior to 1910. Many scores are in the archives of Washington State University and Gonzaga University.
I Could Live Forever in Copperfield with a Girl Like You (unknown songwriter, ca. 1915) Oregon’s most notorious mining camp, Copperfield on the Snake River in Hell’s Canyon, was closed by martial law by Governor Oswald West in 1914. In an internet posting in 1998 by Gary Dielman, Copperfield, Baker County, Oregon, reference is made to this song which is said to have been performed in Portland. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find any more information about this a song with this intriguing title. Inspired by the song title and history of Copperfield, Gary Eller wrote the song Copperfield Girl.
Ida from Idaho (John H. Flynn, 1901) This boy and girl song is yet another song that uses the play on words of Ida in Idaho. Chorus: Ida from Idaho, ho, ho. Lady from head to toe, toe, toe. She is beautiful and fair. No other can compare with my Ida from Ida ho, ho, ho.
Idaho (Frank French, 1864) This well-known song is a classic parody on how “easy” gold could be found in Idaho. The musicology of this song is particularly interesting. Sheet music and lyrics were first published in Chicago by Frank French in 1864 and are in from numerous library collections. The song is based on an earlier song extolling the virtues of the hot springs in Arkansas. It took little time for “Idaho” to get to the western mining camps and enter the folk music tradition, with many variants on melody and lyrics. Few in Idaho could have imagined that it originated as a commercial piece of music from the Midwest, written by someone who probably never visited Idaho. An interesting variation called Way Out in Idyho is in the book Singing Cowboy – a Book of Western Songs, collected and edited by Margaret Larkin (1931, 1963). Another variant, referred to as “Way Up in Idaho” and indicating the words are “traditional” and “ca. 1865,” appeared in the Old Time Cowboy Songbook by Will McCain Clauson (1996). The song is known variously as Way Out in Idaho, Oh Wait Idaho, and We’re Coming Idaho. A recorded version by Charley Cockey appears on the 1963 LP Sing We of Idaho and earlier by Frank Warren on the 1958 Elektra album Our Singing Heritage. A rendition by John Larsen and Gary Eller appeared on the CD Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigrant Trails issued in 2008 by the Idaho Songs Project. First lines of verse:
They say there is a land where crystal waters flow, through beds of quartz and purest gold, way out in Idaho.
Idaho (H. C. Thompson, 1886) H. C. ("Hank") Thompson was a noted fiddler in south-central Idaho in the late 1800s. This tribute to the Idaho Territory was published in the Idaho Semi Weekly World newspaper on April 13, 1886 and quickly became very popular in the region. Sheet music was published by the Idaho Pocahontas Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution Patriotic and Historic Society, with music transcription and arrangement provided by College of Idaho music professor Fleming Beale. Sheet music is in the collections at the Idaho State Historical Society and U. S. Library of Congress.This song also is in John Hailey’s History of Idaho (1910) and many subsequent publications. A rendition by Beth Wilson of Idaho City appeared in the CD The Idaho Songbag issued in 2010 by the Idaho Humanities Council. Her rendition can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
There’s a land whose glory we should tell, in love’s divinest melody of song.
In honest glory let our voices dwell to echo all the hills and vales among.
Idaho (1902, Edward W. Corliss, H. L. Heartz, D. K. Stevens and R. A. Barnet) This song title is listed in American Song - the Complete Musical Theatre Companion. 1877-1995 by Ken Bloom (1996). The song was part of the stage show “The Show Girl-or the Magic Cap.” The show ran from May 5 to June 28, 1902 (64 performances) at the Wallack Theatre on Broadway. Lyrics and music for this song have not been located.
Idaho (Bernard J. Tiemann, 1905) Sheet music for this Idaho tribute were found in State Songs - Idaho and Oregon in the University of Idaho Special Collections. The music was published by B. J. Tiemann, 253 W. 37th St., N. Y. First verse:
Unfurl your banner, high over all.
Idaho and honor, send out a call.
To gird on your armour and let all people know
That we belong to the U. S. A. and fear no foe.
Idaho (unknown songwriter, 1906) This six stanza tribute to the University of Idaho and state of Idaho was provided by Jill Nock and Diane Conroy of the historic White Springs Ranch and Museum near Genessee. First stanza:
Here's to the Gem of the Mountains! Here's to the Silver and Gold!
Aye drink of her sparkling fountains, and know of her freshness untold.
Idaho (Gaylord Sanford, ca. 1910) Sheet music for this song appears in Pioneer Songs, compiled by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers (1932). The lyrics tell of "Idaho, my Idaho, name to all so dear, where God's nature prospers, so deep blue lakes and clear rivers flow." According to Stories from My Childhood” by Richard Packham, Sanford was a Pocatello pianist and theater operator. First verse lines:
Idaho, my Idaho – name to all so dear.
Where God’s nature prospers so, deep blue lakes and clear rivers flow.”
Idaho (Harold and Helen Ballou, 1912) U. S. Library of Congress. First lines of verse:
Idaho (W. B. Strong 1918) This patriotic song relates to Idaho soldiers serving in World War I. Sheet music are in the Special Collections of the University of Idaho library. The sheet music indicates it was "presented to the State Council of Defense by D. T. Murphy of Dubois, Idaho".
Last verse from chorus:
All Hail! Our sons of toil. Break, break the Tyrant’s foil. Break the line for Idaho.
Idaho (A. J. Mills, Bennett Scott and Fred Godfrey, 1919) Sheet music was listed for sale on the internet at the U.K. Sheetmusic Warehouse. An image of the artist - Miss Flora Cromer – appears on the cover. The publisher was The Star Music Publishing Co., Ltd. The sheet music has not been acquired by us.
Idaho (Charlie and Harry Tobias and George J. Bennett, 1922) Sheet music for this song published by Fred Fisher Inc. of New York City tells of taking the train to Idaho where "you wake up in the morning hummin' a song". Chorus:
My Idaho, I’ve decided to be guided where I belong – in Idaho.
Where you wake up in the morning hummin’ a song, I’m gonna board a train to fields of golden grain,
And start my life again, never to roam.
Idaho Cowboy's Dance - see discussion for "Frozen Dog Quadrille".
Idaho -a Cowboy Love Song, (James O’Dea and Anna Caldwell, 1906) Original sheet music for this sentimental love song is at the U. S. Library of Congress. Jos. W. Stern and Co. held a British copyright to the song, with rights reserved by the English Theatre and Music Hall reserved, suggesting it was performed as part of a stage show in England. First lines of chorus:
Goodbye, my Ida, my sweet Idaho! Over the prairies wide, I soon must go.
For your own cowboy you will wait, I know.
Idaho-Cowboy Song (1906, Lee Orean Smith and J. S. Hiller) This song title is listed in American Song - the Complete Musical Theatre Companion. 1877-1995 by Ken Bloom (1996). According to the Internet Broadway Database, the song was part of the three-act musical comedy Around the Clock which played in the American Theatre in New York from Oct. 29-Nov. 3, 1906. The show also ran from June 6-11, 1908 in the American Theatre, but Idaho-Cowboy Song” does not appear in the database for this later show. The stage setting was a vaudeville hall in Philadelphia. Music for this song has not been located.
Idaho for Me (Dorothy Decker Hanson, date unknown). This Idaho tribute appears in Stories of Idaho by Lyda Hoffman Bruneau (1940). Since this book refers to the songwriter as “a rising Idaho writer,” this song may post-date 1923. First line of verse:
I’ve travelled round the world, over land and sea. A banner I’ve unfurled – it’s Idaho for me.
Idaho Foxtrot (1922, Charlie and Harry Tobias and George Bennett). Sheet music for this instrumental are in the collection of the Bonner County Historical Museum in Sandpoint. The songwriters were prominent Tin Pan Alley writers and it his a strong possibility that the song was part of a theater production. The sheet music was published by Fred Fisher, Inc. of New York City. Orchestration in the score was by Lee Terry.
Ida from Idaho (John H. Flynn) Sheet music for this song is in the digital collection of the New York Public Library.
Ida, from Idaho Typed lyrics with no songwriter or date indicated, are in the Hendren Collection at Utah State University's Special Collections. This may or may not be the same song as the preceding title. Chorus:
Idaho from Idaho. When she sings a western song, the cowboys sigh, Ida, from Idaho. She can play guitar and sing a lullabye.
Ida from Idaho (Flynn)
Idaho, The Gem of the Mountains (Florence Corbett Johnston, 1894) Lyrics for this very early tribute to the University of Idaho (doors opened in 1892) were set to the melody of Red, White and Blue (same melody for Columbia Gem of the Oceans and Hail Brittania). The songwriter likely was a student and thus one of the University’s first female students. The song was published to commemorate the first anniversary of the establishment of the University. First lines of verse:
Oh, Idaho, the gem of the mountains, we hail with delight thy proud name.
And with hearts that are full of thy praise, we will join in the sweetest refrain.
Idaho - Gem of the Mountains (A. W. Barnlund, 1911) Hand written sheet music for this Idaho tribute are at the U.S. Library of Congress. The identify of the songwriter is unknown. Last lines of first verse:
Idaho, lovely beyond compare. Skies of blue, hearts as true.
Home! Where I love to be - my sunny Idaho!
Idaho – Gem of the Mountains (unknown songwriter and date) This song appears in Pioneer Families of Cedar Creek by Anna Smith Mitchell and also in the Jan Brunvand collection at University of Idaho. First lines of verse.
Nestled ‘mong the lofty mountains numerous fair and fertile vales, overspread with verdant beauty, sheltered from the chilling gales.
Ida Ho (J. E. Defenbaugh and Prof. Rhyner) We have seen versions of this silly song published under various titles in numerous places, with the air sometimes given as that of O Tannebaum. As Sweet Ida Ho, with three full verses and three distinct choruses, it appeared in the Weiser Signal on Sept. 5, 1906. The song was published in the Mackay Miner newspaper on June 30, 1910 under the title The Girl Named Ida Ho. It appeared in the Idaho County Free Press on January 22, 1914 under the title Miss Ida Ho. The song later appeared in Vardis Fisher’s book Idaho Lore. Most common first verse:
For her I’d leave Virginia. I’d leave my Mary Land. I’d part with Mrs. Sippi, that widow fair and bland.
Ida Ho - the Cowboy Girl (1907, Professor Rivers) This song title is listed in American Song - the Complete Musical Theatre Companion. 1877-1995 by Ken Bloom (1996). The song was attributed to the stage show Happy Hooligan’s Trip Around the World, opening in New York in 1907. The Internet Broadway Database lists two shows (1903 and 1906) with Happy Hooligan in the title but “Ida Ho” song is listed. We have been unable to find any more information on this song.
Idaho Idaho Fruitful and Fair (W. R. Sprecher, 1908) Original sheet music for this tribute to turning the Idaho desert into productive farmland is at the U.S. Library of Congress. This song is unusual in terms of the formality of the music and lyrics, suggesting that Sprecher had classical musical training. A William R. Sprecher (William B. Sprecher shows up in some searches) is known to have died in the state psychiatric hospital in Blackfoot in 1954. We have found no further information about him. A rendition by Sean Rogers and Gary Eller appeard on the CD High Tone Music of Idaho issued in 2010 by the Idaho Songs Project. First two lines of verse:
Into the wide expanse I pass’d - no verdure caught the eye.
‘Twas desert waste and drifting sand – the earth was parched and dry.
Idaho - Indian Love Song (Louis Arden Schuch, 1904) Sheet music for this sappy tribute to Sacajawea is in the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music at Johns Hopkins University. The song was published by Schuch and Stevens of Auburn, N.Y. and was dedicated to “The Auburn Cyclers.” The tan cover bears bears a color sketch of an Indian maiden’s head. Chorus:
Ida Ida my Idaho, Wahoo loves you dearly a heap much so. Ida Ida my Idaho, Wahoo wants to marry his Idaho.
Idaho (unknown songwriter, 1906) This tribute to the University of Idaho and state of Idaho was provided by Diane Conroy and Jill Nock from the collection of the historic White Spring Ranch. The song is from the 1906 University of Idaho Annual Gem of the Mountains. First stanza:
Here's to the Gem of the Mountains! Here's to the Silver and Gold!
Aye drink of her clear sparkling fountains, and know of their freshness untold.
Ida-Ida-Idaho (Esther Bluemer, no date) Sheet music about the "land of the rocky desert with its sage of blue and gorgeous sunsets, skies of every hue" were obtained from the collection of Willetta Eller of Nez Perce. The sheet music is undated, but the lyrics are typical of sentimental songs at the turn of the last century so the song likely predates the radio era (1923). Chorus:
Ida Ida Idaho. Ida, Ida, Idaho.
Makes no diff’rence where I roam. I'll always come back to my Ida Ida Idaho!
Idaho Jack (Jack H. “Powder River” Lee). This song by the legendary cowboy poet/songwriter Jack Lee was published in Powder River Let’er Buck, Jack H. Lee (1930). It surely was written long before it was published. First lines of verse:
Idaho Jack from the Salmon buttes, grinned up at the buckaroos workin’ the chutes.
Idaho March (C. L. Barnhouse, unknown date) The remarkable C. L. Barnhouse (1865-1929) was born in West Virginia, toured nationally as a professional cornet player and in 1886 started a sheet music company in Iowa that still operates as one of the largest sheet music businesses in America. Barnhouse also was a prolific composer of band music, including Idaho March, which was recorded in 1970 as part of a two-CD project of circus band music by the New England Conservatory of Circus Bands, directed by the legendary circus band director Merle Evans. The Idaho March recording is spectacular, appearing as track 29.
Idaho Oh Idaho (Ernest O. Mills, early 1900s) This tribute to Idaho is found in John Hailey’s History of Idaho (1910), where it is attributed to Ernest O. Mills of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Lyrics for this early tribute to Idaho also are in John Hailey’s History of Idaho (1910). The melody is given as that of “Maryland, My Maryland.” The title also appeared later in Pioneer Families of Cedar Creek Ridge by Anna Smith Mitchell. First lines of verse:
A lovely mountain home is our Idaho, O Idaho.of winters mild and springtime showers, Idaho, O Idaho!
The Idaho Panhandle - March and Two-Step (Geo. C. Murphy, 1913) Sheet music for this instrumental song "composed and published by Geo. C. Murphy, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho" are at the Museum of North Idaho. The sheet music further states "as played by the Coeur d'Alene city band during the annual July regatta, at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho." The sheet music cover bears a photograph of a marching band - most likely the Coeur d’Alene city band.
Idaho State Song (Miss Abby F. Hull, 1890s) The melody for this Idaho tribute is given as that of the well-known gospel song Beulah Land. The song is in the Idaho State Historical Society sheet music collection and the Idaho Falls public library. The Idaho Falls contains the footnotes, signed by Mary R. Smith: "This was printed under Idaho State Saig (sic) and used to be sung in the late 90's and 1900's at Sunday School Conventions and C. E. Conventions in Idaho. I've heard it many times." First lines of chorus:
Gem of the Mountains, Idaho, Thy lofty ranges capped with snow.
This message bring from Heaven above; Go forth, win victories of love.
Idaho Two Step March (Emma M. Heckman, 1900) This lively instrumental is in the Idaho State Historical Society sheet music collection. Emma Heckman was a long-time resident and church pianist in Pocatello and Boise. A rendition by Sean Rogers (piano) and Gary Eller (banjo) appears on the CD Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails issued in 2008 by the Idaho Songs Project and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month.
Idaho Volunteer (name of songwriter illegible, 1898) This item sold in 1909 for $31 on ebay.com. Only the cover and the note “1898. Sp. Am. War” was shown. No other information is available for this rare song.
Idaho Waltz, (H. Schirner, 1864) Idaho Waltz by H. Schirner is one of the two earliest known pieces of sheet music know that pertain directly to Idaho. The other is “Idaho” by Frank French, also published in 1864. Schirner’s Idaho Waltz is a formal instrumental written in the classical tradition. At least six other songs with the same name are known, most written in the aftermath of the hit Tennessee Waltz in 1947. We have been unable to find any information about Schirner or “Miss Kate Yarndley of Detroit”, to whom he dedicated the music. The music was published by the H. M. Higgins company, a major music publishing house that was very active in Chicago from the 1850s on. The only sheet music music known for this song is in the Sam deVincent Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. A rendition by Sean Rogers (piano) and Gary Eller (banjo) appears on the CD High Tone Music of Idaho issued by the Idaho Songs Project in 2010 and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month.
I Idolize Ida (Richard Carle, 1907). Sheet music for this whimsical song are viewable in digital form at the Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection at Johns Hopkins University. The only reference to Idaho is the first line of verse:
I Idolize Ida, the girl from Idaho. She's the swellest dancer who ever shook a toe.
I Don't Know Where I'm Goin', but I'm On My Way (Joe Bren, 1905). Sheet music for this song is viewable in digital form in Francis G. Spencer Collection of American Sheet Music at Baylor University. The song is subtitled "A Coon Oddity" and contains offensive racist lyrics. No doubt was performed in blackface. First lines of verse:
She went to Idaho and joined a darky show, but that was where she met her Waterloo.
I'm Going Back to Idaho (Dave M. Allan and Bob Allan, 1917) This "going back home song" was published as sheet music. The publisher was the Vandersloot Music Pub. Co. of Williamsport, Penna. Last verses of chorus:
And my Prairie Rose will meet me there, and so, that’s why my heart’ aglow.
I want the world to know, I’ll go back to my home in Idaho.
Imnaha March and Two Step (Anna Baumeister Williams, 1902) Sheet music for this instrumental is at the Wallowa County Historical Museum, Oregon. The music was published by Anna B. Williams, Asotin, Washington. The price was listed as 50cents and the song was dedicated to Bessie Volmer Clarke, New York.
I’m Off to Boise City (songwriter unknown, 1863) The lyrics and music for this song are given in Rosalie Sorrels' book Way Out in Idaho. The song was collected in the 1960s or 1970s by Barre Toelken, who conjectured that the song was related to the Emancipation Proclamation and was brought to Idaho by blacks working silver and gold mines in central Idaho. Toelken recorded the song in the early 1970s as Hey Jerusalem on the LP A Garland of American Folk Songs, Prestige International Records PR-INT-13023. His rendition can be heard at Early Songs of Early Idaho. First lines of verse:
Come gather ‘round me miners, I got something for to tell.
Make you bust your eyelid and cause your bosom to swell.
In Good Old Idaho (writer unknown, 1905) Lyrics for this tribute to Idaho, and the New Meadows area in particular, are in Ballads of Idaho – Its Scenes and Citizen by Orianna Hubbard Martin of Weiser (1952). The book noted the song was “written in 1905 and sung since at many school, club and pioneer programs”. No melody is given. First line of verse:
In the splendid Northwest is a state we love best – Good Old Idaho!
With its days of clear weather stretching long months together.
In Nineteen Hundred Ninety Nine (Clarence E. Eddy, 1910). Verses under this title by the Poet-Prospector of Idaho and Nevada appeared in The Mackay Miner newspaper on October 20, 1910. It is a playful look into the future by “the great prophetic muse,” including humorous commentary on local and national politics. A few months later the Poet-Prospector published letters to the editor in The Mackay Miner and the Challis Silver Messenger with humorous complaints about the song having been stolen and performed to wild acclaim in New York City. Most likely the newspaper items were part of a practical joke on local readers, playing off Eddy’s visit earlier in the year to New York. First lines of verse:
I sought the great prophetic muse, some burning questions to divine.
Says I “O Muse, what are your views for nineteen hundred and ninety nine?”
Intermountain Institute Alma Mater (Faye Frazier, early 1900s). Lyrics for this alma mater for the Intermountain Institute in Weiser, Idaho appear in The Old Tute – A Catalogue of Photographs in the Intermountain Cultural Center and Museum. The Institue operated from 1898 to 1933. Chorus:
’Tis the Institute we honor; long may her praises sound. Intermountain, Alma Mater, to thee our hearts are bound.
Iowa-Idaho (unknown songwriter and date ) Typed lyrics for this song which plays on the eternal confusion between the states of Idaho and Iowa are in the Idaho sheet music collection at the Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS). The page of lyrics has the handwritten date “August 18 – 1929”, but this likely is the date the song was received by ISHS. The song likely was written earlier. First lines of last verse:
Such is our wondrous mountain home, Idaho, O Idaho. And far away we ne’er would roam, Idaho, O Idaho.
It Was a Long Way from Bonners Ferry (unknown songwriter, 1915) This wonderful local take off on the popular 1910s song It’s a Long Way to Tipperary appeared in the Jan. 29, 1915 issue of the Bonners Herald newspaper. The song was composed and performed at a noisy public street event in Bonners Ferry celebrating the signing by Governor Alexander of legislation establishing Boundary County on January 23, 1915. With their own county and closer county seat, citizen’s of the “Idaho chimney” would no longer have to travel to Sandpoint to perform official business. First lines of verse:
It’s a long, long way down to Sandpoint. It’s a long, long way to go.
When the winter winds are blowing, and trains are blocked with snow.
I Want to Go to Idaho (Mellor, Lawrance and Gifford, 1908) Original sheet music for this fun song are in the National Library of Australia. The music was part of William Anderson’s pantomime stage production of Babes in the Wood, staged by G. Keppel-Stephenson. The music was issued by the Francis, Day and Hunter company, a major London and New York music publisher and appeared as “ No. 97. Sixpenny Successes,” in “Mullen’s Popular 6th Edition”. Theatrical and musical rights were Performers were listed as Miss Lilian Lea & Mssrs. J. Forman and Peter Fannan. Forman and Fannan were noted theatre performers of the time. The composers Mellor, Lawrance and Gifford were prolific songwriters who collaborated on numerous songs. A rendition of the song by Sean Rogers and Gary Eller appears on the CD High Tone Music of Idaho issued in 2010 by the Idaho Songs Project and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
Come, boys, let’s saddle the mare! The sun’s shining everywhere.
And in my heart ‘tis shining too, ‘case I’ve heard from Idaho and Lindy Loo.
I Want to See My Ida Hoe in Idaho (Alex Sullivan and Bert Rule, 1918) Original sheet music for this patriotic World War I era song are at the Idaho State Historical Society and the UCLA sheet music collection. The songwriters were prolific Tin Pan Alley commercial songwriters. The lyrics tells how "the pet of the chorus" dancer went to Idaho to become a "farmerette" to support the war effort. Two different cover sheets are known. One cover (presumably from the World War I years) shows a a doughboy waving at the lovely farmer girl hoeing potatoes. The cover also shows potatoes with faces popping out of the ground and stereotypical hillbilly images (presumably of Idaho). A second (presumably later) cover indicates the song was part of the musical extravaganza Tip Top and shows a photo of the leading man, Fred Stone, who started his acting in circus and minstrels and went on to star in vaudeville, Broadway shows and Hollywood films. The Internet Broadway Database states that the show ran at the Globe Theatre in New York from Oct. 5, 1920 to May 7, 1921, several years after the song was copyrighted and the end of World War I. The second cover also bears the phrase “as sung by the Duncan Sisters,” Rosetta and Vivian, a musical team that performed together for many years. The director Charles Dillingham started as a reviewer for the New York Evening Post and then became a director and manager for actors.
I want to see my Ida hoe in Idaho – I love her so. Out on the farm, away from harm.
John Harty (songwriter and date unknown) This song is a local adaptation of the well-known West Virginia folk ballad John Hardy. The lyrics and melody line are given in American Ballads and Folk Songs by John A. Lomax and Allen Lomax (1934). The book stated that the song was given to J. A. Lomax by J. H. Strickland of Idaho, who got it from Jeff Hamilton of Virginia in 1909. First lines of verse:
John Harty was a desperate man. He carried a gun and razor every day.
He killed a man in Challis town. You ought to seen poor Johnny get away.
Kamiah Springs (unknown songwriter, 1910s?) Lyrics for this ballad about a shootout with Indians near the Clearwater River in the late 1870s appear in Vardis Fisher’s Idaho Lore (1939). From the lyrics, the song appears to have been written in the 1910s from the perspective of an aging participant of the fight. Whether the song is based on an actual event is unknown. Likewise, the precise location of Kamiah Springs is unknown. Shayne Watkins of Deary set it to music and a recording of his rendition was made in his living room. First lines of verse:
’Twas the summer of 1879, as a young man in my prime, I drove my stock to Washington, across the Oregon line.
Ketchum Squedunk Song (songwriter and date unknown) This drinking song from Ketchum, Idaho was referenced in For Wood River or Bust – Idaho’s Silver Boom of the 1880s by Clark C. Spence (1999) and first appeared in the Wood River Times newspaper on July 6, 1881. First line of verse:
Lovers of liberty and beer, we welcome you from far and near.
Know and Grow with Idaho (Marguerte Whetsle, early 1900s?) Handwritten sheet music for this undated tribute to Idaho is in the University of Idaho Special Collections. First lines of verse:
Know and grow with Idaho, the state of the great Northwest, where the sunrise lights the valley and the pine trees reach the crest.
Lewis and Clark Centennial March (E. A. Barnes, 1902) This instrumental in the John Phillips Sousa march style for martial band is the earliest known composition and recording pertaining to Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery Expedition. Sheet music is available through the American sheet music consortium and a recording is in the collection of the Cylinder Preservation Project at the University of California-Santa Barbara. The music was published in 1902 and was made available as a disc record at the Lewis and Clarke Centennial Exposition in Portland in October, 1905. A downloadable recording is available at www.tinfoil.com, an internet site devoted to pre-vinyl recordings.
Lewis and Clark Centennial March and Two Step (Claude Herbert Marshall, 1905) Sheet music for this instrumental composition was for the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland. The music was published by the songwriter in Vancouver, Wash. The price is listed as 25 cents and the cover is light purple with blue print.
Lewis and Clark Exposition (A. C. Rampendahl, 1905) This tribute song likely was a contribution for the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland in 1905. Sheet music with a black and white cover is in the U.S. Library of Congress. The sheet music was published self-published in St. Helena, California.
Lewis and Clark Exposition March (Elya Croom, 1905) This is another tribute song from the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial celebration in Portland. Sheet music is in the Special Collections of the California State University-Fresno library.
Lewis and Clark Exposition March (Ottis Williams, 1905) Sheet music for this instrumental composition for the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland in 1905 are in the U.S. Library of Congress. The light tan cover has flowery green print and a photo of a young man, presumably the songwriter. The music was published by Carl Fischer, London/New/Leipzig.
Lewis and Clark Exposition Songs not Specifically about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In addition to the entries in this bibliography specifically relatied to Lewis and Clark or Sacajawea, sheet music for a number of other songs dedicated to the 1905 Exposition in Portland are in the University or Oregon library. Some of the sheet music items bear the official logo of the Exposition and/or sketches of buildings and activities at the event.
Lewis and Clark Exposition Waltz (Frieda Pauline Cohen, 1905) Sheet music for this instrumental tribute to the Lewis and Clark expedition is in the Special Collections of California State University-Fresno. The song may have been a contribution for the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland in 1905.
Lewis and Clark’s Trail (Robert Vaughn, 1905) Sheet music for this twelve-verse tribute to Sacajawea is in the U.S. Library of Congress. The song is mentioned in Meriwether Lewis – a Biography by Richard Dillon (1965) and may have been a contribution for the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland in 1905. The cover shows a painting of the Corps of Expedition meeting with Indians at a camp on the bank of a river. The song was self-published in Great Falls, Montana. First lines of first verse:
Captain Clark and Captain Lewis left the city of St. Louis with their gallant expedition for the far Pacific Ocean.
Long and wild was the trail. Long and wild was the trail.
Lewis and Clark Indian Guide (F. S. Buxton, 1905) Sheet music for this tribute to Sacajawea is in the U.S. Library of Congress. The song was self-published in Okeene, Oklahoma and may have been a contribution for the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland in 1905. ATan cover with flowery green print with Indian symbol sketches and a photo of an Indian maiden labeled “Scajawea”. Three verses. First lines of first verse:
Queen of the Shoshone Valley – idol of all her tribe, captured by Minatareces. Snatched from her mother’s side.
Lewiston Two Step (Sisters of the Visitation, 1902) Sheet music for this delightul two step instrumental was found at the Ilo Vollmer Historical Society in Cragmont, Idaho. There was no cover for the music. Also, the final page of music was missing, so Sean composed a plausible substitute. The Sister s of the Visitation was an order of Catholic nuns who established the Visitation Academy for girls in Lewiston, Idaho around 1902. Since the sheet music is marked “Op. 43”, they must have had a very active music program. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find any additional information about the Sisters in Lewiston or find any other music by them.
Little Bear Song (songwriter and date unknown) One verse of this song about the residents of the Little Bear area near Troy, Oregon is given in the book Little Bear Revisited by David Sandquist (1986?). Troy is a small town on the Grande Ronde River, which enters the Snake River in Hells Canyon. First lines of verse line:
There is a certain ridge near Troy they call the Little Bear and on it are some people, the same as anywhere.
Little Dolly Daydream - Pride of Idaho (Leslie Stuart, 1897) Sheet music for this song is in the National Library of Australia in Melbourne and the Bonner County (Idaho) Historical Museum. The music and lyrics were written by Thomas Augustine Barrett, a popular British performer who used the stage name Stuart Leslie. The song was performed in black-face stage productions with banjo and piano accompaniment. Several early theatre-style recordings are available. First lines of chorus:
Little Dolly Daydream, Pride of Idaho. So now you know and when ye go.
Little Miss Ida of Idaho (Arthur Trevelyan, 1898) Original sheet music for this “novelty song and refrain” is in the New York Public Library. The song’s lyrics and melody have all the hallmarks of a stage production song. The publisher of the song, M. Witmark & Sons was established in 1886 and was a leading Tin Pan Alley music publisher in New York. The company was notable in facilitating the publication of British music in the U.S. and vice versa. The company was acquired by Warner Brothers. First lines of refrain:
Little Miss Ida, though she’s not tall, all girls beside her look very small.
Little Pal Pinto (unknown songwriter and date) Typewritten lyrics for this song (without melody) are in the Jan Brunvand collection in the University of Idaho Special Collections. The lyrics tell of a cowboys life in eastern Idaho. The style of the song suggests a late 1800s or early 1900s vintage. First lines of verse:
Give me back my pinto pony and the range of Idaho, where the quakin’ asps and cedars and the service berries grow.
Lolo Pass Jingle (unknown songwriter and date) This short ditty is from The Clearwater Story –History of the Clearwater National Forest by Ralph S. Space (1964). Spence was an early ranger in the upper Clearwater River region of Idaho. A real automobile road to Missoula was not completed across Lolo Pass in the Bitterroots until 1935, but it is possible that motor vehicles were using the historical Indian trail before then. In any case, the song is included here because songs of any date about this region of Idaho are very rare. Verse:
This road is winding, crooked and rough. But you can make it if you are tough.
God help your tire. Gold help your load. God bless the man who built this road.
Long Line Skinner (Idaho Jack, ca. 1927) Lyrics for this song, written in Round Valley near Casacade, Idaho appeared in Rosalie Sorrels' book Way Out in Idaho. The meter and lyrics strongly suggest the air of the famous train song Wreck of the ‘97,written about an event in 1903. Long Line Skinner is a classic event ballad about a runaway horse-drawn freighter on on the steep grade of Wildcat Hill. It is unknown if the song is about specific event, but runaways were certainly a constant concern of early day freighters in the mountains of Idaho. A rendition by John Blakley appears on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho." First lines of verse:
One June morning in the early sixties, when the western states were new,
All freight was hauled by a long line skinner, ere the big iron horse came through.
Lost River Desert (songwriter and date unknown) Six verses of this song about the Lost River region of Idaho are found in the Fife Collection (1969) at Utah State University. The song also was collected by one of Professor Jan Brunvand’s students at the University of Idaho in the 1960s from Maud Hensley of Spencer, Idaho. The structure, lyrics and song style suggest that it was composed prior to 1910, as a takeoff on Red River Valley. A rendition by John Larsen of Givens Hot Springs, Idaho appeared on The Idaho Songbag issued in 2010 by the Idaho Humanities Council. First lines of verse:
From this desert I know you are leaving. I have read the sad news in your eyes.
There’s no beauty for you in these prairies, and you’re blind to the blues of the skies.
Love-Lorn Lament (Clarence E. Eddy, ca. 1898) This light hearted song expresses the sentiment of the stay-at-home young men at the University of Idaho during the Spanish-American and Phillipine Wars of 1898, when a returning cadet was kissed by forty girls. The Poet-Prospector was in the Moscow area when the veterans returned and likely wrote the song at that time. Lyrics are found in his book of poems and songs Pinnacle of Parnassus. Eddy suggested the melody as that of Sweet Jenny Dear. First lines of verse:
Now Hobsonization is all the sensation. It really has grown to a craze.
Just think of the kisses our cultured young misses so freely bedstowed upon Kays.
A Lover, Bashful (Frank S. Gray, 1885) This song was inspired by a hunting trip around Lake Pend d’Oreille in 1885. This region at the time comprised some of the last vestiges of the American frontier. The hunting trip and song involved a love affair! Lyrics and melody line are in For Love and Bears – a Description of a Recent Hunting Trip with a Romantic Finale – A True Story by “James Daly” (pseudonym). An original copy of the book, published in 1886 by the Northern Pacific as an advertising ploy to get hunters to ride their trains, is at the Bonner County Historical Museum. The book was reprinted as a paperback in 1998 by Great Northern Pacific Publications. Refrain:
And her lily white hands fly over the strings. Plunkety, plunkety, plunk, plunk, plunk.
Lovisa's Waltz (Minnie Lovisa Erickson Parkins, ca. 1920?). Hand-written sheet music for this lovely instrumental are in the collection of the Ilo-Vollmer Historical Society. The songwriter grew up in a musical family near Cragmont, Idaho.
Lydia Southard’s Famous Apple Pie (unknown songwriter, ca. 1921) This song is about Lyda Southard, the infamous “Lady Blackbeard” of Idaho who poisoned at least four husbands with her apple pies laced with arsenic. Her sensational murder trial in Twin Falls, Idaho was in 1921. The song likely dates to that year. Lyrics appeared in Rosalie Sorrels' book Way out in Idaho with the note “Folksong sung to the tune of Annie Laurie.” First lines of verse:
Oh, Twin Falls farms are bonnie in the middle of July, and ‘twas there that Lyda Southard baked her famous apple pie.
Mabel Gone Away (Clarence E. Eddy, 1902) This short, mournful lost-love song appeard in Poet-Prospector Eddy's book of poems and songs Pinnacle of Parnassus (1902). Mabel is the middle name of Eddy's second wife who he married in 1909, long after the publication of his book and after his first marriage failed in 1907. Perhaps he had met Mabel much earlier than 1909? Or did the Poet-Prosector know another Mable when he was a young man? Or is this another composition he wrote under contract? We shall never know. Eddy gave the melody as that of the beloved Civil War era song Lorena. A rendition by Gary Eller appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Pinnacle of Parnassus" (2011).
All the days seem dark and dreary, since dear Mabel went away.
Longing, sighing I am weary, since sweet Mabel went away.
March of the Suffragettes (Edmund Braham, 1912). Sheet music for this instrumental song can be viewed in digital form at the Spencer Collection of Popular American Sheet Music at Baylor University. The connection to Idaho is provided by the cover which shows a woman holding a banner "Where There is Right there is Might" with the state seals of Idaho, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. These states were among the first to afford women the right to vote.
May Arkwright Hutton ditty (by political supporters of Mrs. Hutton, 1912) This excellent short political ditty from Liberated Woman – a Life of May Arkwright Hutton by James W. Montgomery (1974) relates to the amazing Mrs. Hutton, who made her fortune in the Coeur d’Alene mining district and fought for women’s suffrage. The song was written when she to Baltimore in 1912 as the first woman delegate to a Democratic national convention. The song is takeoff on a campaign for Tammay Hall candidate Champ “Hound Dog” Smith. The melody is unknown. Verse:
The people all o’ this her town, they gotta quit kickin’ our gal aroun’.
We don’t care if she isn’t thin. The suffrage fight she sure did win!
McDonald’s Song of Orofino People (Judge McDonald, 1904) Lyrics for this song were published in The Orofino Optimist (Idaho) newspaper on Feb. 12, 1904. No melody was suggested. This song of four verses and chorus pokes fun at elements of day to day life in Orofino in the early 1900s, including bootleg booze, poker and justice of the peace Lester who “talks with his mouth but thinks with his feet.” The editor notes: “We have some hesitancy in giving credence ….that the judge is the author as ….seldom…he gives vents to so many words without calling attention to something that happened “while I was on the bench in Whitman county”.” A week later in the next issue of The Optimist, an unnamed songster responded by publishing A Parody on McDonald’s Song (see next entry). First verse:
Come all you new comers and I’ll give you a point - to live in Orofino, you must run a joint,
Learn to play solo, poker and sell lots of boot-leg booze.
McDonald’s Song of Orofino People – Parody (unknown songwriter, 1904) Lyrics for this reprise to McDonald’s Song of Orofino People (see previous entry) were published in the Orofino Optimist on Feb. 19, 1904. The parody stated that the Judge “will never play poker unless he has a “cinch” “ and “when there’s a chance to get a drink, McDonald is always there.” First lines of verse:
Come all ye Orofinoites around the council fire,
And we’ll put up the oldest hat to fee the biggest liar.
We’ll let McDonald have a trial, the truth he’s bound to tell,
If any other will compete, he must tell his story well.
Mid the Hills of Idaho (William H. Seekins, 1908) Sheet music and lyrics are available at the American sheet music consortium for this sentimental “homesick” song that mentions the Salmon River.The music was published by the songwriter. The cover shows a sketch of a bucolic cabin scene in the mountains. Last lines of refrain:
Back to the dear old forests – to them I would gladly goBack to my dear old cabin home, ‘mid the hills of Idaho.
Mike Devine (unknown songwriter, 1899) Lyrics for “Mike Devine” complain bitterly about an older miner who perished in the infamous “Bull Pen” set up to incarcerate miners during labor strife in the Coeur d’Alenes in 1899. Likely this poem was set to a popular air such as John Brown’s Body seems to fit the meter and tone of the poetry, but many other melodies of course would work. Lyrics are in the University of Idaho Special Collections and in The Story of the Bull Pen at Wardner, Idaho by Thomas A. Hickey (1900). A rendition by John Larsen appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho" (2011). Last lines of first verse:
John Brown cried “Death to Slavery.” Now we hear the words “don’t sign.”
We answer back class-conscious : “You’re our Baptist, Mike Devine.”
Miner’s Child (Mary Cleopatra Robinson, late 1890s?) This title is mentioned in sheet music for another song by Mary Cleopatra Robinson, “Poetess Laureate of the Coeur d’Alenes, lately of Gem Idaho (as of 1907)”. The song very likely is from the 1880s or 1890s and about mining in the Silver Valley, but unfortunately no more information has been found for this song. Mrs. Robinson also claims authorship of The Famous Bull-Pen Song, which would have been about the incarceration of miners in the make-shift jails during labor strife in the 1890s in the Coeur d’Alene region of Idaho.
Miners and Muckers Together (songwriter and date unknown) This light hearted drinking/mining song was collected by Rosalie Sorrels from Maidell Clemets of Osburn, Idaho and published in her book Way Out in Idaho. The song was sung to the melody of Sidewalks of New York, which was written in the 1890s. The song probably was written not long afterwards. The reference to “Cousin Jack” is to the practice of Cornish miners bringing their relatives from the old country to Idaho to start a new life. A rendition by Johnny Thomsen appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho" (2011). First lines of verse:
Miners and muckers together-Swedes, Norwegians, and Jews.
And old Cousin Jack with a hump on his back – a drink he would never refuse.
Missionary's Farewell (Samuel F. Smith, 1832) This song is said to have been sung by Narcissa Whitman in her Angelica, New York church in 1836 as she and her new husband Marcus (a medical doctor) and Presbyterian missionary Henry Spalding and his wife Eliza were about to travel west to establish missions near present-day Walla Walla in eastern Washington and along the Clearwater River of present day Idaho. Because of the significance of the Whitmans to the history Idaho and the entire westward movement in the mid 1800s, it is included in this compilation even though it does not directly speak to their experiences in Idaho. Samuel F. Smith, the composer of Missionary's Farewell, was a Baptist preacher. In 1835, in response to the missionary fervor sweeping the American northeast, this song was published in both the popular Protestant hymnal "Southern Harmony" and the first Mormon hymnal. The first line of verse is:
Yes, my native land I love thee. All thy scenes, I love them well.
Friends, connections, happy country – can I bid you well and farewell?
The Monument (Lloyd G. Knight, ca. 1910) This song by an Intermountain Institute (Weiser, Idaho) student is found in The Old Tute – A Catlog of Photographs in the Intermountain Cultural Center and Museum by Marcy Mokider (ca. 1981). It is a attribute to the founding president of the Institute, E. A. Paddock, who in 1910 had a huge granite boulder moved onto the Institute grounds as a dedication monument. First lines of verse:
Out of the East, the cultured East, the pious East he came.
He climbed the steep, rough frontier trials, then smoothed and widened the same.
Moonlight on the Waters of the Coeur d'Alene (Seymour Winans Purdy, 1910s?) Sheet music for this tribute to Lake Coeur d'Alene are in the Spokane Public Library. No copyright or date is indicated on the music. Our best guess is that it is from the 1910s. The songwriter died in Bonner County in 1931 but we have found no other information on him. First lines of verse:
Sunset has faded into the west, gloaming has followed in its flight. Day is reclining. Evening stars are shining. Dusk is deepening into night.
The Mormon Bums (unknown songwriter, 1885) Typewritten lyrics for this extremely rare song written at the time of widespread anti-Mormon sentiment in Idaho, including the infamous Idaho "loyalty oath" disavowing polygamy and groups that supported the practice, were provided by Hal Cannon from his collection. The song (nine verses with choruses) appeared in a circular published on Sept. 19,1885 at Eagle Rock (Idaho Falls). The song is from the desk of of George Reynolds (1842-1909), a prominent LDS leader known for taking the test case on polygamy to the U. S. Supreme Court. First line of first verse:
Come all ye jovial travellers and listen to my song, a story I'll relate to you about the Mormon Bums.
My Girl in Idaho - Fox Trot (Gladys G. Dennis and Harry H. Williams, 1917) This song is about a boy returning to the "sweetest little girl in Idaho.” Sheet music is in the collections of the Mississippi State University library, the Middle Tennessee State University Center for Popular Music and the Bonner County (Idaho) Historical Museum. The publisher was the Majestic Music Pub. Co. of Providence, R. I. Last lines of chorus:
We’ll ride o’er the prairies, while winds are softly, gently blowing to and fro, when I get back there, to my girl in Idaho.
My Idaho (Bernard J. Tiemann, ca. 1910) Undated typewritten lyrics for this tribute to Idahosong at ISHS. First lines of first verse:
With pick and the shovel, with brain and beauty too, to make it all a fairy land, my Idaho!
My Idaho (Margaret L. Watts, P.P., I.A.R.A., date unknown) One page of handwritten sheet music for this short two-verse tribute to Idaho was found in a thrift store in Gooding. The identity of the songwriter is unknown. The identity of the composer is unknown. The song is similar in nature to many Idaho tribute songs from the early 1900s. (Need to add lyrics)
My Idaho Home (Alice M. Conners, © 1906) Sheet music with lyrics is available for this sentimental song about Idaho were published by the Success Music Co. of Chicago. (Need additional information.)
My Idaho Land (William E. Irons, date unknown) This song from the ISHS sheet music collection was written by a resident of the Soldiers Home, which opened in Boise in 1895. The song uses the melody of the old spiritual Beulah Land. Mr. Irons was born on Nov. 20, 1864 and died in Boise on Apr. 19, 1939. First lines of verse:
I’ve found the land long sought in vain, where sunshine always follows rain.
Here shines undimmed one blissful day, for all my cares have passed away.
My Idaho, My Idaho (unknown songwriter, 1914 or earlier?) This song in the University of Idaho archives was mentioned in Jan Brunvand’s article Folk Song Studies of Idaho. (Need to add lyrics.)
My Indian Queen - Sacajawea (H. W. Hayes and Fred Brownold, 1904) This song is a good example of the romanticized depiction of the American Indian in turn of the last century sheet music. The cover suggests that this piece may have been part of a larger production "Louisiana", perhaps in connection with the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland in 1905. This connection also is suggested by the logo on the music pages and the following sentence: "The story of this song pertains to "Sacajawea, the Indian girl, who showed Lewis and Clark the way to the Pacific Coast in the year 1805." Sheet music is available electronically from the Frances G. Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music, Crouch Fine Arts Library, Baylor University. First lines of refrain:
I’ve come for you, my dusky Indian Queen, w won’t you come to me love?
My Journey O’er the Plains (E. S. McComas, 1862). As is the case for the song Heigh Ho For Idaho discussed earlier, this song is found in A Journal of Travel. This book consists of writings by E. S. McComas, who traveled west from Iowa in 1862 on the Oregon Trail in an attempt to make his fortune in the Salmon River mining area. Instead, he spent the rest of his life in eastern Oregon as a miner, entrepreneur and newspaper editor in the towns of Union and Grande Ronde. As is the case for Heigh Ho for Idaho, My Journey O’er the Plains is unusual in several aspects. It is one of the earliest songs directly related to Idaho and the Oregon Trail. It is the only known song about prospective miners headed west rather than north and east to the early Idaho mines. And the song is rare in mentioning the Civil War in conjunction with traveling to the Idaho mines. Without question, many men went to Idaho during the initial gold rush as much to avoid fighting in the great war as to find their fortune in gold. McComas credits himself for writing this song, probably during or shortly after his travel west from Iowa in 1862. Unfortunately, no melody is suggested but the format is that of a standard “Oh Come Ye” ballad. First lines of verse:
Come ye jolly miners. Come listen to my song. 'Tis about my journey o’er the plains – twill not take you long.
My Mollyo from Idaho (Chas. A. Meyers, 1912) This is romanticized cowboy/cowgirl song was published by the songwriter in Chicago. The cover of this ”Great Western Song” has a sketch of Molly waving at her cowboy fast approaching on a horse and a photo of “Prince Lei Lani, Famous Hawaiian Tenor.” First lines of verse:
My pretty Mollyo way out in Idaho. I’ve come to tell you I love you so.
No girl that’s just so sweet I’ve ever chanced to meet – you’ve got me at your feet.
My Old Gal From Alabam (Olive L. Friels and Harry L. Newman, 1913). Sheet music for this whimsical song found in the Auburn University library was published by the Sunlight Opera House of Chicago. The song tells of meeting sweet girls all over the United States including "sweet gals from Idaho." First line of refrain: "My old gal from Alabam, she's the sweetest gal what am, just as sweet as sugar cane..."
Native American Songs. As stated earlier, the scope of this compilation is restricted to English-language songs. A large body of Idaho-related songs in other languages, of course, exists. In particular, many historically-based songs are to be found in Native American tongues. Indeed, the earliest known “Idaho” recordings are of some Nez Perce songs. As an example, the Nez Perce Song for Yutsinmaligkin, which mentions the Sabbath Book and therefore is connected with the early Presbyterian missions in the Clearwater region, is reported in Rosalie Sorrels' book Way Out in Idaho.
Nevada, Our Home (Clarence E. Eddy and Paul Valtinke, 1910). Sheet music for this song are in the March 13, 1920 issue of the Manhattan Magnet newspaper (California). It apparently was written much earlier, with one known set of lyrics marked “Rev. 1910”. The sheet music indicates words are by “Clarence E. Eddy, the “Poet-Prospector” of Nevada” of Tonopah, Nevada.” “Prof. Paul Valtinke of Paris, Rome and Reno” is listed as having provided the music. The song is claimed as the state anthem, although it never was officially adopted by the state of Nevada. Although nominally related to Nevada rather than Idaho, it is included in this compiliation because of the significance of the Poet-Prospector to Idaho. First lines of verse:
Hail to Thee, Our Home, Nevada. Hail fair hills and plains,Golden land of Eldorado.
Where bright Freedom reigns, where the starry flag enrolled Thee.
Nez Perce Square Dance (ca. 1921) This fiddle dance song with calls is found on the two-CD project Nez Perce Music Archive – The Sam Morris Collection. The CD notes that the box containing the set of cylinder recordings with this song had written on it: “1921, giving by three Chemewa students at E. Hines, S.D.C.B. E. Hines, J. Morris, C. Parris.” The song was identified as the old Irish fiddle tune “Haste to the Wedding.” It is fascinating that the first known fiddle recording (by more than three decades) made in Idaho was by Native Americans at one of their square dances!
Noah Kellogg’s Jackass song (1880s? Songwriter and date unknown) Lyrics for this ditty appear in Gems of Thought and History of Shoshone County, compiled and edited by George C. Hobson (1940).This song also appears in miner’s reunion booklets from the 1940s at the Staff House Museum in Kellogg. The song celebrates the great silver lode discovery in 1985, allegedly by Noah Kellogg’s jackass, that led to the famous Bunker Hill mine in the Coeur d’Alene mining region. The song likely was written much than 1940 and updated through the years. The song obviously was popular in the area at one time. First lines of verse:
This thriving town of Kellogg ‘bout sixty years ago, was just a wide space in the road with none to come and go.
Oh Idaho You Sunny Fascination (Jane Redfield Hoover and Jessie Merrill Tukey, 1916) Original sheet music for this light hearted boy-meets-girl song are in the Special Collections of Idaho State University. Photocopies are in the ISHS archives and the Twin Falls Public Library. By using an Idaho peach orchard as the setting for falling in love, the song celebrates Idaho’s burgeoning fruit industry and rapid population growth in the first part of the 20th century. Whether the song is pure lighthearted fantasy or relates to personal acquaintances is unknown. According to information from the Idaho Encyclopedia and obituary in the Idaho Daily Statesman on Sept. 17, 1942, Jane Redfield Hoover was born in Minnesota on Sept. 26, 1873 and died in Boise on Sept. 17, 1942. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1898 with a degree in drama. She married E. M. Hoover in 1899 and moved to Boise in 1904, where her husband was general manager of the Payette Lumber and Manufacturing. Jane Redfield Hoover was very active as a writer and in the arena of arts and civic organizations in Boise, including the Association of University Women, YWCA and Boise Gallery of Art. No other songs from thepen of Jane Redfield Hoover are known. The identity of cowriter Jessie Merrill Tukey is unknown. A rendition by Sean Rogers and Gary Eller appears on the CD High Tone Music of Idaho issued by the Idaho Songs Project in 2010. First lines of chorus:
O Idaho you sunny fascination. ‘Tis the land where I would go!
Inclination, destination, occupation – you’ll find in Idaho.
The Old Bull Pen (Mrs. Mary Cleopatra Robinson? Auntie Rhodes? 1899) Lyrics for this song were found in the University of Idaho Ph.D. thesis by Stanley Stewart Phipps (1983). Most likely this is the song of this name that is mentioned in an aside in Rosalie Sorrels' book Way Out in Idaho. In other places, there is a suggestion that it was written by Mrs. Mary Cleopatra Robinson, “the nearly blind poetess-laureate of the Couer d’Alenes.” A melody has not been found, but a plausible air is the classic Irish protest song “Wearing of the Green”. First lines of verse:
The old bull pen is empty now. There are prisoners no more.
The miners are all turned out, and the warden has closed the door.
Old Deserted Claim (Clarence E. Eddy, ca. 1900) This plaintive song from "Poet-Prospector" Eddy's book of poems and songs Pinnacle of Parnassus (1902) is about the old deserted Charles Dickens mining claim near Bonanza. Eddy suggested the melody of Sunny Tennessee for the song. A rendition by Jenny Willison and Charley Burry appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Pinnacle of Parnassus" (2011). First lines of verse:
By the old deserted claim, still the landscape is the same, though all about is strangely still and lone.
Old Judge Duffy (Songwriter and date unknown) This song tells the story heard numerous places around Idaho about an unfortunateChinese man who was hung as a surrogate for the only blacksmith in town (white, of course). The melody line and lyrics are found in WOII, together with some background on the song by folklorist Barre Toelken of Utah State University. The lyrics were reported earlier in Jan Brunvand’s article Folk Song Studies in Idaho in the journal Western Folklore, Volume 24, pages 2321-248 (1965). Toelken indicated that he got the song from retired logger Henry Tams of Moscow and that, whether or not the event actually happened, the song illustrates attitudes towards Chinese in the 1800s. A rendition by Johnny Thomsen of the Idaho City area appeared on the CD The Idaho Songbag issued in 2010 by the Idaho Humanities Council and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
Old John Martin Duffy was a judge in a court ,in a small mining town in the West.
Although he knew nothing about rules of the law, for judge he was one of the best.
Old Prospector’s Crime (songwriter and date unknown) This song is found in Olive Woolley Burt’s book American Murder Ballads and Their Stories (1958), where she reported that the song was collected in Moore, Idaho from E. H. Hardy. The song is an event ballad about a prospector who murdered his partner and blamed it on a bear, and then spent the rest of his life in remorse. Nothing specifically ties this song to Idaho except for the general flavor of the song and the place where it was located. Woolley Burt suggests a date of the late 1800s for the song. A rendition by Johnny Thomsen of the Idaho City area appears on the CD Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails issued in 2008 by the Idaho Songs Project. First lines of verse:
Gather round me people, while I speak this one last word. I am on the gallows and I’ll ne’er again be heard.
On the Trail to Idaho (pre 1900?) This song is about driving herds of cattle to Idaho and thus likely dates to the period between the late 1860s and early 1880s when the completion of the Oregon Shortline ended major cattle drives in Idaho. The song also was collected by Rosalie Sorrels from the Stella Hendren collection and reported in WOII. No melody is known for this song. A version appears in Cowboy Songs and other Frontier Ballads by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax (1938). John Lomax originally got the song in 1912 from Texan J. M. Grigsby. First lines of verse…to be added.
Onward Idaho (Geo. C. Murphy, 1913) Sheet music for this early University of Idaho fight song is at the Museum of North Idaho in Coeur d'Alene in a set with the sheet music for Idaho Panhandle March. First lines of verse:
Onward Idaho, march on to victory, to thine own, heed naught of yesterday.
Yon mount’s tall tower, symbols thy power, Hail! Glorious land of promise, Idaho!
Oregon Trail Zeke (songwriter and date unknown) This rare song about the portion of the Oregon Trail in Idaho is found in Charles O’Brien Kennedy’s songbook A Treasury of American Ballads (1954). This humorous song is about “Zeke” and his family life in the “Wahee Mountains” (Owyhee Mountains), and probably postdates 1860 since little settlement of the Owyhees occurred before then. No melody is known, but the song was recorded by John Larsen and Gary Eller for the CD Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails issued by the Idaho Songs Project in 2008. The rendition used the melody of Turkey in the Straw, a popular song of the mid 1800’s. First lines of verse:
Away down yonder in the Wahee Mountains. Folks don’t know ‘bout books or countins.
There lived Zeke – an old galoot. And all he knew was how to shoot.
Otto Hussa ditty (Mrs. Higbee? 1910s?) This short humorous short ditty is about the confrontation on Latour Creek between the Finn farmer Otto Hussa, who had a log jam flooding his property, and the logger Old Man Higbee who was wrongly accused by Hussa of owning the logs. A rendition by Jeannie Eddins and Charley Simmons appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho". Lyrics:
Old Otto Hussa cam a steppin’ on the air.
He says “Old Man Higbee, get your logs right out of there.”
Says Higbee to the Finn man, “I do not give a damn!
If you’d build your bridges higher, there wouldn’t a’been a jam.”
Our Captain Old Blue (Unknown songwriter, late 1880s?) Partial lyrics without melody for this rare song about the massacre of 32 Chinese placer miners in Hells Canyon in the mid 1880s are in the Ph.D. thesis of Louis Attebery. Attebery obtained the song from Blaine Stubblefield, who got it from his father. The song was attributed to Ike Bear, “an old cowboy around the Imnaha River” in the Hells Canyon country. A complete variation was obtained from David Wahl of Genessee, Idaho, who sang the melody which was that of the well-known Dreary Black Days. Mr. Wahl also provided much information on the background of this historically important song. A similar version was found by R. Gregory Nokes during his comprehensivel research of the massacre, culminating in his authoritative book Massacred for Gold - The Chinese in Hells Canyon. Also see the entry in this bibliography for Get Out Yellowskins. A rendition by Gary Eller can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
’Tis not long since I’ve learned, by the laws of our land,
Our law-abiding citizens have taken in hand.
Our Darling Idaho , or The Miner’s Love-letter (Mrs. Mary Cleopatra Robinson, 1909) Sheet music for this sentimental song by "the mother of the Coeur d'Alenes", who was identified as being “Late of Gem, Idaho,” is in the U.S. Library of Congress sheet music collection. The sheet music also refers to “The nearly blind poetess lauriate of the Coeur D’Alene.” The price is shown on the cover as 50 cents and the publisher is listed as “Mrs. Mary Cleopatra Robinson, Seattle and Tacoma”. First lines of chorus:
Thy mountain spires our souls desires, and thy sun-kissed hills of snow,
Thy brooks and fens, thy shady glens, our own darling Idaho.
Our Idaho (arr. by Alice Bessee, early 1900s?)Sheet music are in Silver and Gold – 37, a set of University of Idaho songs. First lines of verse:
A pioneer state built a college to share its youth and its rigorous life,
That flourished and grew from year to year, beset by political strife.
Our Own Home State (singer and songwriter unknown)This song is in the Jan Brunvand collection in the University of Idaho Special Collections. First lines of chorus:
Sing we then a song of Idaho, our own home state of Idaho. Land of mighty hills and valleys, living waters flowing free.
Our Sunny Idaho (A. W. Barnlund, 1912) Sheet music for this Idaho tribute are in the U. S. Library of Congress. The song was published in Boise. The sheet music states “Single Copy 10c. 3 or more copies 5c. Postpaid.” Barnlund also wrote Idaho, Gem of the Mountains. The song was “dedicated to the Youth of the Idaho Schools by the Author.” Chorus:
Idaho! Idaho! “Gem of the mountains,” loved and true. Idaho! Idaho! Yes, we love our sunny Idaho!
Overland Stage Driver (Nat Stein, 1865) This wonderful song, written by a driver for the legendary Ben Holloday who owned the early Pony Express which led to the Wells Fargo Company, was published in the Montana Post newspaper on April 8, 1865. It tells of the joys and tribulations of a stage coach driver making the run on Holloday’s stagecoach line between the Montana mines and Salt Lake City, passing through the difficult country of eastern Idaho. The song no doubt was sung by drivers while they were making the run to pass the time and amuse riders. The air is given as that of High Salary Driver on the Denver City Line which in turn, in all likelihood, was derived from the earlier song Knickerbocker Line about driving coaches in New York City. An excellent rendition of Knickerbocker Line was recorded by Pete Seeger on Time Records LP L1001 in 1961. A rendition of Overland Stage Driver by Gary Eller and Scott Knickerbocker can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
I sing to everybody in the country and the town,
a song about a subject that is worthy of renown.
Owyhee Miner's Lament (Pay Rock, 1876) This fun miner's song by “Pay Rock” was published in the Jan. 29, 1876 issue of the Idaho Weekly Avalanche newspaper. The song tells the woes of the misfortune of an investors in gold mines and mentions many actual mines in the Silver City mining district. A rendition by John Larsen and Gary eller appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigrant Trails" and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
Good-bye old Owyhee, I’m going to the states.
Your mining operations have got to emigrate.
Pal Pinto and Idaho (Bob Spritzer, unknown date) Lyrics for this excellent cowboy song are in the Jan Brunvand collection at the University of Idaho. No melody line or date was given – the only notation being “by Bob Spritzer.” Bob Spritzer was a rancher and musician in the Bone area of southeast Idaho. A rendition by Mindi Reid Smith, Vince Crofts and Rick McCracken appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho" and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
Give me back my pinto pony and the range of Idaho,
Where the quaken asps and cedars and the service berries grow.
Pay Streak that Went off into the Wall (H. C. Thompson, 1886) This song was found by Rob McIntyre during his masters thesis research (University of Idaho, 1993). The humorous song is a miner's take off on the popular song The Picture That is Turned to the Wall that appeared in the February 25, 1898 issue of the Idaho World newspaper. Thompson was a noted fiddler and songwriter of the Boise Basin mining camps and his lyrics spoke about the all-too-common experience of seeing a vein of gold peter out into the surrounding rock. The Bradley-Martin Ball was a famous lavish ball thrown in New York City by Mrs. Bradley-Martin with the hope of stimulating New York’s economy. It was both lauded and severely criticized for its grandiosity and has been cited as a last gross example of gilded-age excess. First lines of verse:
Far away beyond the glamor of the city and its strife,
There was once a little quartz mine rich and free.
Peter Beemer Instrumentals (various composers, 1860s-1880s) The Special Collections at Boise State University has a rare book of handwritten instrumental scores from the 1860s-1880s that were collected and played in Idaho mining camps. This collection sometimes is referred to as the “Peter Beemer” collection. One hundred twenty four scores were written down by the musician/miner Peter Beemer and others in the 1860s, 70s and 80s in Idaho mining camps. Other songs were collected in the following two decades. A University of Idaho masters theses (1990) by RobMcIntyre's discussed these scores and Vivian Williams book The Peter Beemer Manuscripts (2008) provided much addition detail on these fascinating scores. Examples of songs from this historically significant set of scores that are particularly pertinent to the present project are the following:
Pierce City Schottisch (Charles E. Jones, 1874)
Sanburn Schottisch (Charles E. Jones, 1874)
Polka from Charles Bernard (Peter Beemer, 1864)
Waltz from John Kelly (Edward Maloy, 1883)
Dixie (Peter Beemer, 1864)
Schottisch from J. Strangberg (Peter Beemer, 1864)
Camp Washington , Idaho -Warren Diggings
Pioneer Song (songwriter and date unknown) One verse of this song is given in Vardis Fisher’s book Idaho Lore (1939), together with the note “This verse is from a song which used to be popular in pioneer times in southwestern Idaho. First lines of verse:
My mother and father were very poor people;
They lived by a church which had a high steeple. They raised apples but sold them so low they made no fortune in Idaho.
Pioneer Song (Thomas B. Steunenberg, ca. 1927). This wonderful and once beloved tribute to the College of Idaho by the nephew of assassinated Idaho ex-governer Steunenberg once was popularly known as "The Rattlesnake Song" because of the lyrical reference to "Cowboys, Indians, and Rattlesnakes." Alas, the song was forgotten, replaced by much duller but more socially correct college pep songs. Sheet music for the song is at the College of Idaho library's special collection. First line of verse: There's a school in the dusty west - College of Idaho. Pioneer on a golden quest - College of Idaho.
Pleasant Plains School Song (unknown songwriter, early 1900s) This early elementary school song from the Jerome area is in the Prof. Jan Brunvand collection at the University of Idaho. The song was collected in the spring of 1964 from the scrapbook of Mrs. Francis Wilson Hoskins, who attended the Pleasant Plains grade school in the 1920s in Jerome, Idaho. The song is accompanied by the note “This song was sung by Mrs. Hoskins when she attended the Pleasant Plains grade school in the 1920’s in Jerome, Idaho. First lines of verse:
A large and lonely school is ours. Pleasant Plains, Oh, Pleasant Plains.
Of good behavior in Golden Stars. Pleasant Plains, Oh, Pleasant Plains.
Pocatello (words by Dr. W. F. Howard and music by Weldon Lawrence) One page of handwritten sheet music with three verses of lyrics paying tribute to Pocatello are in the Marshall Public Library in Pocatello. No copyright or date are indicated on the music, but the song is typical of Idaho tribute songs from the early 1900s. W. F. Howard (1868-1948) and his wife Minnie (1872-1961) were medical doctors who came to Pocatello in 1902 and practiced medicine until they retired. Both were very active in Pocatello civic affairs and Minnie became a noted historian on Fort Hall. The identity of Weldon Lawrence is unknown. Need to add fiirst words of verse.
Prospector’s Song (songwriter and date unknown) See entry for Salmon River Diggins’.
The Raging Plains (Amasa Coggeshall, 1864). This very rare piece of sheet music, published in Stockton, California, was found in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. The song describes the trip up the river "Columbie" and up the Snake to "the Boss" (Boise), and then to Salmon Falls to seek lumps of gold so large that are too big for one man to raise from the ground. This song places gold mining around Salmon Falls many years earlier than previously believed. The meaning of the the title ("raging plains") is unknown, but could be related to conflict with Native Americans in southern Idaho in the early 1860s. First lines of verse:
Now listen unto me, my friends, and I will tell you plain,the wonders that I saw myself upon the raging plains;
Red Warrior City (unknown songwriters, 1866 or earlier) Several verses of this early song about mining in the Atlanta, Idaho area appear in Sketches of Travel in Oregon and Idaho with Map of South Boise by C. Aburey Angelo. (First lines of verse…to be added.)Route of the Great Big Baked Potato (N. R. Streeter, H. Caldwell and Olver George, 1913?) Original sheet music for this wonderfully shameless infomercial for the dining car of the Northern Pacific Railway (NPR) is at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The photos are consistent with the penciled marking “1913” on the sheet music. The NPR run between St. Paul and Seattle was known as “The Route of the Great Big Baked Potato”. The sheet music states “Additional copies can be had on application to Superintendent Dining Car Department, Northern Pacific Railway Co., St. Paul, Minn. The NPR was commissioned by Congress in 1864 to create a railway across the northern U.S. The mainline NPR road was completed on Sept. 8, 1883, going north on the east side of the Bitterroot Mountains in Montana and then west along the Clark Fork River to north Idaho. A later line connected the Coeur A'lene mining district through the Bitterroot Mountains to Montana. A rendition by Sean Rogers and Gary Eller appeared on the CD High Tone Music of Idaho issued in 2010 by the Idaho Songs Project and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of chorus:
Sacajawea (George A. Perley, 1905) This song is a sentimental tribute to Sacajawea prepared in connection with the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland in 1905. Sheet music is in the Meriwether Lewis collection at the Tennessee State Library and the Tennessee State Archives in Nashville. First lines of verse….to be added.
Sacajawea Intermezzo (Rollin Bond, early 1900s) Sheet music for this instrumental song is on microfilm in the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University. The sheet music cover has the handwriting “Special Arrangement for Sousa’s Band.”
Sacajawea Lullaby (Ziporah Harris, 1903) This tribute to Sacajawea was dedicated to Major William Hancock Clark. Sheet music is in the digital collection of the University of Oregon. First lines of verse:
Shu shu shu shu, little papoose go to sleep.
Shu shu shu shu, Sacajawea sings to you.
Sacajawea March and Two Step (Laura A. Warner, ca. 1905) This song is in the Multnomah County (Oregon) Public Library in Portland. The song very likely was prepared for the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland in 1905.
Sacajawea's Papoose (Carrie McKee, 1905) This instrumental tribute to Sacajawea's baby "Pomp" was dedicated to the President of the Lewis and Clark Centennia exposition in Portland held in 1905. Sheet music is in the University of Oregon digital sheet music collection. A rendition by Sean Rogers can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month.
Salmon River Diggins (Max Irwin, 1862) This song, also known as Trip to Salmon, is one of the earliest known songs about Idaho. While part of the song was collected by Jan Brunvand in the1960s, special thanks go to Herm Ronnenberg for finding the full set of lyrics for Trip to Salmon in the Yreka Semi-Weekly Journal (California) newspaper on April 4, 1862. The lyrics were accompanied by a note that said it was composed and sung by Max Irwin to the tune of the popular gospel tune Jordan (better known as Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel) in a “band of negro minstrels in Portland.” This classic song tells of the adventures of travelers headed north and west from California and Oregon to make their fortunes in the early Idaho gold rush, and contains perhaps the first documented complaint of Oregonians towards Californians! A rendition by Gary Eller and Scott Knickerbocker appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho." First lines of verse:
I looked to the North and I looked to the South,
And I saw the Californians coming.
Salmon River Dixie (traditional) This song was collected by Rob McIntyre during research for his University of Idaho master’s thesis on 1860’s Idaho mining songs. McIntyre found Salmon River in an edition of the Lewiston Golden Age newspaper of 1862, making its one of the earliest known surviving songs of the region. Subsequently, Herman Ronnenberg found that additional verses had been published earlier in May, 1862 in the Red Bluff (California) Independent Semi Weekly Journal and in the Yreka (California) newspapers. The song is a classic working/drinking style song that humorously speaks of the many problems that miners of that era faced every day. The song was performed to the tune of Dixie. First lines of verse:
Away up north where runs the Salmon,
There’s lots of gold – ‘tis no darned gammon.
Get away! Get away! Way up north to Salmon.
Salmon River Savage (Ione Love Thielke and Mary Edmonson (sp?), lyrics date unknown )This song, found on a recording in a private collection in Blackfoot, Idaho is one of the earliest known records known to have been made in Idaho. The singer is Ione Love Thielke, who identified herself as “The Musical Poem Recorder of Cascade, Idaho.” Thielke was a traveling musician who lived in Idaho and Oregon and set regional poems to music. The identity of the lyricist Mary Edmonson (spelling uncertain) and the date she composed the poem is unknown. It is likely that the poem was written about an actual Native American somewhere along the Salmon River, but we have been unable to verify this as fact. Mrs. Cathy Furniss, the Blackfoot song collector, and Ione Love Theilke’s son in law graciously donated their Poem Recorder materials to the Boise State University Special Collections. First lines of verse:
He’s a silent sort of fellow and he has a ready grin, w hen he tells a story that’s a little tall.
Salmon River Song (A. C. Edmunds, 1862) This song is found in Rob McIntyre’s University of Idaho master’s thesis on 1860’s Idaho mining songs. It originally was published on February 13, 1862 in the Portland Oregonian newspaper. The melody is given as that of Oh Susannah, a popular song of the time. This early song of Idaho tells of the trials and tribulations of miners in a variety of gold mining camps in the American West and British Columbia, with the final line “the first that curses “Salmon” – kick him to the devil.” A rendition by Rob McIntyre can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. Chorus:
I am a jolly – my heart is light and free.
A hardy forty-niner with washpan on my knee.
Sawtooth Mountains Ditty (unknown songwriter, 1880s or 1890s?) Two lines for this dance call from the mining camps of the upper Salmon River country appear in Stanley Sawtooth Country by Esther Yarber; Edna R McGown (1976). Dances were social highlights in these camps and two-steps, polkas, waltzes, quadrilles and Virginia reels were danced deep into the night. First line of verse:
Oh…chase the possum. Chase the squirrel. Chase that pretty girl ‘round the world.
Scheffler’s Army (songwriter unknown, ca. 1894). In April of 1894, during a severe economic depression, hundreds of unemployed Seattle and Tacoma workers formed the “Northwest Industrial Army.” The men headed east by several routes to join Jacob Sechler Coxey’s “Commonweal Army” from Massillon, Ohio and many other groups from around the United States for a mass protest march on Washington D.C. The experiences in Idaho of the northwest army led by “General” Scheffler are displayed in the lyrics of this song – in a sarcastic and unsympathetic way. After leaving Caldwell on a commandeered Oregon Short Line train, Scheffler’s army was detained and dispersed in Pocatello. American newspapers of the day, including the Idaho Statesman, published daily front-page articles on the travails of the various arms of Coxey’s Army in their attempt to reach Washington. Examples are shown on the next page. The lyrics appeared in The Idaho Stories and Far West Illustrations of Mary Hallock Foote (1988), but first were in the Atlantic Monthly in December 1894. Foote was well known for her wonderful writings and illustrations about the American West, which she made while traveling with her mining engineer husband in the late 1800s. Foote indicated that the melody is that of the gospel song “Pharaoh’s Army.” A rendition by Gary Eller is on the CD Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails issued by the Idaho Songs Project in 2008. First line of verse:
The Coxeyites they gathered. They Coxeyites they gathered.
And stole a train of freight-cars in the morn.
Seven Devils Song (Hannibal F. Johnson, early 1890s) This song, also known as "Seven Devils Mine," was written by the colorful Hannibal F. “Seven Devils” Johnson, who lived in Idaho’s Hells Canyon region between the early 1890s and mid 1910s. In 1895, Johnson published the lyrics to this song and numerous other songs and poems in his book of poems and songs Poems of Idaho. “Seven Devils Song” can be found many other publications, including Johnny Carey’s book Salmon River Poetry and Prose and WOII. The Seven Devil’s Song is a classic miner’s folk song, with light hearted complaints about a miner’s life at that time. The melody is given as that of Oh Susanna. A rendition by the Hokum Hi Flyers appeared on the Idaho Songs Project The Way We Worked in Idaho and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. Chorus:
Then dig boys dig, let us the rich ore find.
And open up in handsome style, the Seven Devils mines.
Snake River Massacre (Nicholas Lee, ca 1854) This classic event ballad tells about the August 1854 massacre when several hundred native Americans attacked the Alexander Ward wagon train of twenty one Missourians near present day Middleton, Idaho. Lyrics are presented in Olive Woolley Burt’s book American Murder Ballads and Other Stories (1958), where she states it was collected by David C. Duniway, Oregon State archivist, from the November 28, 1954 issue of the Oregon Statesman. This is the earliest known song of Idaho. Authorship is attributed to Nicholas Lee, Pole County, Oregon Territory. A melody is not known for this song, but it could very plausibly have been sung as a dirge. (Note: a subsequent search of that newspaper issue failed to find the song.) A recitation by Johnny Thomsen appeared on the CD Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails issued in 2008 by the Idaho Songs Project. First lines of verse:
A cruel massacre took place of late upon the plains.
‘Tis hard to describe the place – it was upon Ward’s train.
Song of Benewah Valley (Miss Madge D. Ice, 1911) This tribute to Benewah Valley is in The Driscoll Family History at Museum of North Idaho in Coeur d’Alene. The melody is given as that of Maryland, My Maryland (Oh Tannenbaum). First lines of verse:
Pleasant valley, here we’ve found - Benewah, O Benewah.
Where nature’s lovely charms abound – Benewah, O Benewah.
Song of the Miner (E. T. Cooke and Bert Simms, early 1900s?) Rosalie Sorrels got this song from folklorist George Venn of Eastern Oregon College at La Grande and published it in WOII. Venn collected it from Mrs. Margaret Christian of Wallace, who indicated “the song was written by local men and was quite a hit fifty years ago.” First lines of verse:
We’re just a bunch of hard rock men. We labor in the mines,
Down in the dark earth’s rocky heart where the sunlight never shines.
Song of Idaho (Rev. W. E. Ruddock) This four stanza song with chorus is from the A. E. Olsen and N. E. Ruddock papers (1905-1909) at the Idaho State Historical Society. The song is a tribute to the rich farmland around Nampa, made arable by irrigation from canals completed in the early 1900s. First lines of verse:
Kind Providence our lot may cast, and yet we have to chooses at last.
Are you inquiring where to go? Come down to southern Idaho.
Song of the Teton (B. W. Smith and David E. Smith, 1912 ) According to History of Teton Valley, Idaho by B. W. Driggs (1926), on Sept. 9, 1912 an impromptu celebration was held at the terminus of the Oregon Short Line Railroad. The song celebrates both the beauty of the Teton Valley and the arrival of the railroad. Also see Driggs Railroad Song. A rendition by Hal Cannon, using his own melody, is on the Idaho Songs Project "The Way We Worked in Idaho" and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
There is not in this world a valley so sweet, as this vale of the Tetons in beauty complete.
Now we’re united by strong bands of steel. We’ll all pull together in one common weal.
Spirit of Idaho - March and Two Step (E. J. Carey, 1913) Sheet music for this instrumental "dedicated to the University of Idaho" are in the University of Idaho Special Collections. The sheet music cover shows a photo of a marching band musician above "E. J. Carey.” The cover also stated “Published for Band and Orchestra by E. J. Carey – Music House – Moscow, Idaho.”
Squaw Colleen (Joe McCarthy and Harry De Costa, 1910). Sheet music for this song found in the Oakland, California public library was published by the Head Music Publishing Co. of New York. The silly story line tells of an Irish cowboy singing Wearing of the Green to "a litle Indian maiden." First line of chorus: "Squaw Colleen, my little Squaw Colleen, sure I've got a little hut and everything I wish for..."
Star Valley Rose (unknown songwriter, late 1800s?) Lyrics but no melody for this ballad were collected by Rosalie Sorrels from Julie Glenn in Rexburg and published in WOII. The song is about Rose Morgan, who unwittingly married a member of the Butch Cassidy Gang when outlaws hid out one winter in Star Valley on the Idaho/Wyoming border. The melody sung for Gary Eller by Julie Glenn in October, 2009 was similar to that of “Philadelphia Lawyer” by Woody Guthrie. First lines of verse:
Way out in old Star Valley, ‘twas many years ago.
Dwelt a lovely Rose Morgan, the sweetest girl I know.
Stump Rancher Blues (unknown songwriter, 1910s?) Lyrics for this song are in the working papers of Jan Brunvand in the University of Idaho Special Collections. The song is a humorous retrospective commentary by a North Idaho about what he would do differently throughout his life on his hardscrabble, stump-laden property, properties still known as a “stump ranches” because it appeared that stumps were being grown. Basically, the old timer would simply "sit me down and whittle." A rendition by Bonnie Bliss, a true stump rancher descendent, and Stan Hall appeared on the CD The Idaho Songbag issued in 2010 by the Idaho Humanities Council and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
The stumps could stay ‘til they rotted away. I’d never plant and I’d never make hay.
I wouldn’t farm, ‘cause it just don’t pay. So I’d sit right there and I’d whittle.
Tad Pole Lake (unknown songwriter, early 1900s?) This rare song about sheepherding is in the University of Idaho Special Collections. Tad Pole Lake is a small lake between Mountain Home and Swan Falls, Idaho. The song likely is from the late 1800s or early 1900s when there were large herd of sheep in the area. A rendition by Gary Eller appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho" (2011). First lines of verse:
There’s a pretty spot near Boise, where the sage and saltgrass grow.
On the bank of old Snake River in the state of Idaho.
Tammany School Song (Lucille Farrell Noble,date unknown) Sheet music for this song are in Past Days of the Tammany-Waho Area by Betty Thiesen Meloy (1982). First set of lyrics:
For we are loyal to Tammany School. We ever try not to break the rules.
We always fight to win each game – in every sport it’s just the same.
Teton Ditchdiggers Song (songwriter unknown, ca. 1890) Six lines of lyrics of a work song by laborers digging the Teton Canyon Creek irrigation ditch are found in the book Pioneer Irrigation - Upper Snake River Valley by Kate B. Carter and Clara B. Steele (1955). A rendition by E. Bruce Stanger appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho" and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. Verse:
There is a John Bond (who) drives a horse and mule;
Old Smith sits around like toad on a stool,
He shoots off his orders on a green mossy bank,
He’s just like a music box turned with a crank.
Hurrah! Hurrah! Your boots you may bet
That if you stick it, you’ll sure starve to death.
Teton Peaks (George Smith, ca. 1932) This song uses the melody of Here We Have Idaho, which had been adopted in 1931 by the Idaho Legislature as the official state song, to humorously portray ever-day life in eastern Idaho. President Driggs was the founder of the town named after him and a senior Mormon leader. Mike Yokel was a well-known wrestler from Jackson, Wyoming just across the Teton Range from Driggs. Although the song post-dates 1923, it is included in this bibliography because it is such a wonderful parody on the state song and life in the Teton Basin of Idaho. The identity of George Smith is unknown. Lyrics are in Ballads and Songs from Utah by Lester A. Hubbard (1961).
That's Good (Egbert Van Alstyne and Harry William, 1910) This song with politically incorrect lyrics is about a gambler playing poker out in Idaho. Sheet music is in the University of California - Los Angeles library. First verse lines:
Still Bill played a game of poker out in Idaho, an’ pretty soon dat lucky coon, he caught four aces.
They've Got His Goat in Gotham (Clarence E. Eddy, ca. 1910) An undated typewritten version of this song by Idaho's "Poet-Prospector" was found in his personal scrapbook. The song is a rant against the alleged theft of his song In Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Nine (see song entry in this song bibliography) by Broadway songwriters. Accordingly, Eddy dedicate the song "To the New York Bragartists Who Stole The "1999." No melody line was suggested. First line of song:
A Westerner had worked and worked for many a weary year upon a great inention and he thought success was near.
Thunder Mountain Melody (Clarence E. Eddy, 1902) Lyrics for this fascinating song are given in Eddy's book of poems and songs Pinnacle of Parnassus (1902). The song’s subtitle states “Apropos of a mining boom. Music: Kipling’s Absent minded Beggar. The Absent Minded Beggar reference is to an 1899 poem that Rudyard Kipling wrote and the noted fellow Englishman Arthur Sullivan set to music, to raise money for dependents of soldiers of the second Boer War (1899-1902). The song (copyrighted in 1899) is a complicated, stiff composition typical of British music of the Victorian era. Somehow, the song found its way from the British Isles to the most remote mining camp in Idaho, in time for a local variation to be composed and published in Salt Lake City in a book within a few years. Lyrics about dynamite blasts, braying mules and drunken miners in a wild Idaho mining camp set to a formal Victorian song add a wonderful element of absurdity to the song. A rendition by Gary Eller appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet The Pinnacle of Parnassus and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
I’m a goin’ to Thunder Mountain, where the golden nuggets grow,
When the miner’s big perceshun gits in swing.
A Toast to Idaho (songwriter not identified, mid or late 1890s) This tribute – one of the earliest known – to the University of Idaho (established in 1894) appears in Songs of all the Colleges by David B. Chamberlain and Karl Pomeroy Harrington (1900). No songwriter or date is indicated, but since the University opened in 1892, the song must have been written in the mid or late 1890s. This book and its later editions are found in numerous libraries. First lines of verse:
“A health! Let none the toast decline, toast decline!”
To Be a Buckaroo (unknown songwriter, late 1800s?) Lyrics (but no melody) for this song about a bucking horse and cowboy rider around Victor and Pine Creek Canyon of Eastern Idaho was published in the University of Idaho masters thesis (1936) by Thomas Cheney. Cheney later became a noted folklore professor at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. Cheney obtained the song from Cornelius Campbell of Swan Valley. First lines of verse:
To be a buckaroo I left Victor town. I camped in Pine Creek Canyon. They called me hand me down.
Trail to Idaho (unknown songwriter, 1880s?) Lyrics (but no melody) for this song about driving a herd of cattle in 1883 to Idaho, likely from Texas, are found in Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads by John A. and Alan Lomax (1938), who collected it from J. M. Grigsby of Comanche, Texas in 1912. The song also appeared in Carl Sandburg’s American Songbag (1927) and Vardis Fisher’s Idaho Lore (1939). An authoritative article by John Harrington Cox discusses the etiology of this very early American folksong. A rendition by Gary Eller and Michelle Graves appeared in the CD Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails issued in 2008 by the Idaho Songs Project. First lines of verse:
I met the boss. He wanted me to go help drive his herd to Idaho.
I told the boss it was out of my range, but if he had the price I was about to change.
Trip to Rapid River (Hannibal F. Johnson, early 1890s) This song appears in Poems of Idaho, the remarkable book of poems and songs that Hannibal F. “Seven Devils” Johnson of Idaho’s Hells Canyon region published in 1895. The song appeared in several later publications. Johnson was a colorful character who prospected, wrote, preached and politicked for many years in the Seven Devils region. Trip to Rapid River waxes poetically about travel around the Little Salmon River region in west-central Idaho. First lines of verse:
It was on the twenty-fifth of March, eighteen hundred and ninety-two.
There met in Council Valley a jolly mining crew.
Twin Falls Home Song (songwriter unknown, 1905) This song is referenced in the book Tales of the Tract: the Beginnings of Twin Falls, Idaho and the Magic Valley by James F. Varley (2004). Lyrics were published in The Twin Falls News on Feb. 1, 1907. The melody clearly is that of “Home on the Range.” A rendition by Harry Strange appeared in the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho" (2011) and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
I want to be a farmer and with the farmers stand.
A pitchfork on my shoulder and a shovel in my hand.
Unfurl Your Banners (Bernard J. Tiemann, 1910) Sheet music for this song are at ISHS. The identity of the songwriter is unknown. First lines of verse:
Unfurl your banners high over all. Idaho and honor, send out a call.
Gird on your armour and let all people know – that we belong to the U. S. A. and fear no foe.
Union Pacific Road Song (unknown songwriter unknown, 1880s?) A verse and chorus of this song appear in the memoirs of C. S. Walgamott in Six Decades Back (1936). Walgamott arrived in Rock Creek, Idaho on Aug. 8, 1975. A rendition by Wayne Nelson appeared in the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Way We Worked in Idaho."
Chorus: Hurrah, hurrah for the U. P. Road and a rover over the rolling plain;
We are going out to Idaho and intend there to remain.
Verse: And if the Indians capture you, you will be luckyi to save your head.
They have a habit of taking your scalp unless your hair is red.
University of Idaho Class Song (Florence Corbett and I. J. Cogswell, 1896). Three verses and a chorus (no music given) for this tribute to the University of Idaho are in the Class of 1896 Commencement Program. Florence Corbett was one of four students (two men and two women) in the first graduating class of the University. First lines of verse:
Now the veil of time is closing round our happy Senior year, and the hour has come for leaving School and friends to us so dear.
Up in Idaho (John Huckins, unknown date) Lyrics for this song (without melody) appeared in WOII. First lines of verse:
There’s a Big Wood River. There’s a Silver Creek. There’s a Copper Basin wide and deep.
Up in Idyho (date and songwriter unknown) This song was found on a recording by Nevada slim in the archives of the Country Music Hall of Fame museum in Nashville. Nevada Slim was a western singer who was active in approximately the late 1940s or early 1950s, but the song likely is much older. The song is a takeoff on the prior song Up in Arkansaw. First lines of verse:
Well once I bought a settin’ hen. Up in Idyho. I loaned her to my brother Ben. Up in Idyho.
Utah Northern Ditty (songwriter unknown, early 1880’s) Two verses for this humorous ditty about the Utah and Northern railroad are in The History of Idaho by Merrill D. Beal and Merle W. Wells (1959). The U&N was completed from Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls in the 1870s and extended to Butte by the close of 1881. The reference to “Grand Trunk” may be to the major railroad in the eastern U.S. and Canada, which may have been involved in funding the latter part of the Utah Northern construction. Later in the chapter, two verses similar in form and tone are found, and perhaps they are part of the same song. While the melody is not given, the lyrics and meter strongly suggest the air of Wabash Cannonball (traceable to sheet music in 1882). Lyrics are identical to those appearing in Cracker-Barrel Railroads where the Central Vermont Railroad is discussed. First lines of verse:
We’ve got a little railroad and it isn’t very wide. We put in twenty thousand a quite a lot beside.
Wallowa Pioneer Ditty (Wallowa pioneers, 1873) One verse of this ditty survives from the May 31, 1873 issue of the Mountain Sentinel newspaper of La Grande, Oregon, as reported in The Nez Perce Indians – and the Opening of the Northwest by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. (1965, with a 1997 edition). This song, highly politically incorrect by today’s standards, is said to have been sung as seven to eight wagons hurriedly left Wallowa with men, families, stock, dogs and cats for safety in Grande Ronde, fearing raids by old Chief Joseph’s band. Verse:
“Run Nigger run, run Nigger run and try to get away. For it is high time, for it is almost day.
Come along, get out of the Wallowas, before Old Joseph kicks up a row.”
Waves of Coeur d’Alene (Miss Irena Whitney, 1903) Sheet music for this “reverie for the pianoforte” instrumental tribute to Lake Coeur d’Alene is at the Museum of North Idaho.The song was published by The Royal Music Publishing Co., Omaha, Nebr. The price was listed on the cover as 50 cents.
Way Out in Idaho (songwriter unknown, early 1880’s) This song well known song – one of Idaho ’s greatest folk song - is notable in many regards. In 1938, Alan Lomax at the U. S. Library of Congress recorded eight verses sung by Hells Canyon native Blaine Stubblefield, accompanied by his guitar (AFS 1634 B1). This is the earliest known English-language recording of an Idaho-specific song by an Idahoan (some Nez Perce recordings predate the Stubblefield recording). Stubblefield was the son of a Hell’s Canyon fiddler and founder of the famous Weiser fiddle contest in 1952. Way Out in Idaho lightheartedly tells of the trials and tribulations of laborers pushing the Oregon Short Line railroad from Pocatello, Idaho to Ontario, Oregon in 1882. Stubblefield’s track originally was released in the series Folk Music of the United States, Library of Congress Recording Laboratory, AFS L6, 1968. The track also is found on the 1997 Rounder CD Railroad Songs and Ballads, from the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Culture. A recording by Rosalie Sorrels also has been issued. A more recent recording by Gary Eller, Rue Frisbee and Marv Quinton appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "Early Songs of Souther Idaho and the Emigrant Trails" (2008). Most versions use a melody similar to that of the well known cowboy ballad Sam Bass. Lyrics and melody lines for various versions have been published in many places. The variation in Westward to Paradise by Charles J. Munson (1978) is in The Idaho Songbag issued in 2010 by the Idaho Humanities Council. First lines of this version are:
Come all you jolly railroad me - I’ll sing you if I can.
Of the trials and troubles of a guileless railroad man.
Way Out in Idaho (unknown songwriter, 1900s or 1910s) This song about a young students experiences at the Intermountain Institute in Weiser appears in The Old Tute – A Catlog of Photographs in the Intermountain Cultural Center and Museum by Marcy Mokider (ca. 1981). The implication is that the melody is that of “Oberlin Song.” First lines of verse:
When I was but a bashful lad, just turned a fresh fourteen,
My father said to me one day, “tis plainly to be seen…”
Weiser Cowboy’s Song (Charlie Barbour, ca. 1891) Nine verses plus a chorus for this song are in Indian Valley and Surrounding Hills by Geneva Bibbs Barry and Jewell Moore Woods (1990). This book extracted the song from the April 3, 1891 issue of the Weiser Leader newspaper. The song is a takeoff on the well known cowboy song The Girl I Left Behind Me, which in turn is an American adaptation of the classic Irish song of the same name. The lyrics are not specifically adapted to Idaho but the song is included because it was published in the Weiser paper and the Barbours were early ranchers in Indian Valley. A rendition by Gary Eller, Rue Frisbee and Marv Quinton appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Idaho Songbag" (2010) and can be heard at Early Idaho Songs of the Month. First lines of verse:
We will swing the whip and dash the spur, and be a gallant rover.
For a cowboy’s life is a wild life sir, and we’ll ride the wild plains over.
Western Federation of Miners (John F. McDonnell, 1900) This union song is in American Labor Songs of the Nineteenth Century by Philip S. Foner (1975). Foner found it in a set of ballads published in Miners Magazine, the official organ of the radical Western Federation of Miners union in the March, April and July, 1900 issues. First lines of verse:
The miners have a Federation, the grandest ever known, and it gives emancipation to slaves the rich men own.
West of the Rockies Waltz (Otis Howard, early 1900s) This beautiful waltz was written by old time Idaho fiddler Otis Howard, who came to Idaho in 1899 from Colorado by wagon train. No written music is known for this piece. This song and several dozen others recorded in 1963 at a home in Emmett, Idaho were issued on the CD Idaho Old Time Fiddling by the Idaho Songs Project in 2009.
What Happened on That Wednesday Night (Ota Ellis, 1905) This light-hearted song tells the story of an Idaho man's unsuccessful attempt to woo a Crestline, Kansas girl. Sheet music is in the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music at Johns Hopkins University. First lines of verse:
A young man came down from old Idaho to Crestline a month for to spend.
To visit among his old comrades and to see his lady friend.
What’s the Matter with Old Lake Pend O’Reille (Mira H. Persons and Osie R. Young, 1912) Photocopies of this sheet music are at ISHS and the Bonner County (Idaho) Historical Museum. The song is in a set with When Syringas Bloom Again on Pend d’Oreille. An article in the Pend d’Oreille Review on Sept. 13, 1912 contained the lyrics. The article stated that the cover “was printed at the Review office and depicts in grouped half tone cuts the sports, resorts, and industries on the lake.” The article also states “Mrs. Persons of Hope has lived for a number of years on the shores of Lake Pend d’Oreille and has long seen its beauties. During her years of residence in view of the lake, she has seen its many changing moods…...has noted the varied hues of its thousand beautiful sunsets and has given to the public in verse and song what she thinks of the grand old lake.” Mira Persons died in Sandpoint on April 27, 1943. The identity of Osie R. Young, who wrote the musical score, is unknown. A rendition by Sean Rogers and Gary Eller appeared on the CD High Tone Music of Idaho issued by the Idaho Songs Project in 2010. Refrain:
Ponderay! Ponderay! What’s the use of shoutin’ right away?
Ponderay! Ponderay! What’s the matter with ole lake Ponderay?
When the Mill Went Up the Spout (Arthur Sargent, ca. 1899) This song in WOII is about the dynamiting of the Bunker Hill mine near Wallace during the labor unrest in the Coeur d’Alene mining region in 1899. Rosalie Sorrels collected the song from Maidell Clemets of Wallace, who said he got it from the songwriter, a mining engineer. The story is told from the perspective of the laborers who were rounded up and placed in the infamous “bullpens.” This event resulted in conviction and imprisonment of some union leaders, and eventually the assassination of ex-Governor Frank Steunenberg in 1906. But, this song rails against Western Federation of Miners president Ed Boyce, who slipped into Montana and (according to this song) was living “high on the hog” while underlings languished in the bullpen or in prison. The melody is given as that of the Irish protest song The Wearing of the Green. A rendition by Gary Eller appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Idaho Songbag." First lines of chorus:
He sent us up the spout, boys, he sent us up the spout, in April of ’99 he sent us up the sprout.
When the Sweet Syringas Blossum Out in Dear Old Idaho (Charles C. Ovebury, 1916) Lyrics but no melody for this song appeared in the Idaho Daily Statesman on March 6, 1914. This sentimental song praises the virtue of the Boise area. Portion of the chorus: When the sweet syringas blossum out in dear old Idaho, I'll be coming, dear, to claim you.
When Syringas Bloom Again on Pend d'Oreille (Mira H. Persons, 1912) Sheet music for this sentimental love song and tribute to Lake Pend O'Reille are in the ISHS archives and the Bonner County Historical Museum. Chorus:
Where the sunsets ruddy glow floods again the crests of snow,
Where the lake reflects the crimson in the bay,
‘Neath that towering mountain pine I shall claim you sweetheart mine,when syringas bloom again on Pend d’Oreille.
While the Apple Blossoms Grow in Idaho (Einar Dahl and Jean Buckley, 1914). This sentimental love song is set among the apple blossoms "way out west in Idaho." Sheet music was found at the Bonner County Historical Society. The lyricist, Einar Dahl, was a prominent Minnesota artist. The identity of Jean Buckley is unknown. First line of chorus:
While the apple blossoms grow in Idaho, in Idaho.
Come dreamy memories of buzzing honey bees, among the apple trees.
Whoa, Ida-Ho, Whoa (Andrew B. Sterling and Harry von Tilzer, ©1906) Sheet music and lyrics for this fun “boy and girl” song are in numerous university and museum sheet music archives. A cylinder recording was made at the Edison Recording Studios in New Jersey in 1907 by Billy Murray and the Edison Male Quartette. This recording is on the CD The Idaho Songbag issued in 2010 by the Idaho Humanities Council. First lines of chorus:
Ida – Ho! Whoa! Whoa! Don’t go so fast dear.
My horse won’t last dear. So please go slow.
Who’s Who in Nevada (Clarence E. Eddy, ca. 1907 ) Lyrics for this song appeared in Eddy's book The Burro’s Bray (ca. 1923), although it is very likely that he wrote the song around 1907 when he was actively prospecting in Death Valley. Eddy gave the melody as that of Do They Miss Me at Home, a song published in the 1850s. The song skewers inflated egos, by satirizing the book Who’s Who in Nevada published by Bessie Beatty in 1907. Although the song isn’t about Idaho, it is included in this compilation because of the significance of Clarence E. Eddy as an Idaho songwriter and prospector. A rendition by Gary Eller appeared on the Idaho Songs Project CD/booklet "The Burro's Bray" (2011). First lines of verse:
I have just read a book that is quite weighty. It really should be all the rage.
It was written by Miss Bessie Beatty, for the price of one hundred per page.
Wilds of Idaho ( J. M. McCray and Harold E. Strong, 1918) Sheet music published in Seattle for this tribute to the "lumberjacks of the great northwest" was provided to us by the Bonner County Historical Museum in Sandpoint. The lyrics include many references to towns in the mining and lumbering areas of the northwest. First lines of chorus:
To the wilds of Idaho, to the wilds of Idaho. I'm a "lumbjerjack" and I'm goin' back to dear old Idaho.
Woman’s Rights (unknown songwriter, ca. 1896) This humorous song about women’s suffrage was found in the University of Idaho Special Collections. It is not known to be specifically tied to Idaho, except perhaps through the noted Coeur d’Alene region suffragette May Arkwright Hutton and the fact that Idaho was the fourth state to give women the right to vote (in 1896). We have been unable to find the song elsewhere. First lines of verse:
Hurrah! For the day that is coming when the ladies shall work like the men.
Oh won’t the polls be a bloomin with feathers and crinoline!
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This page was updated on March 9, 2014