Ward Party Massacre. This classic event ballad is about the masssacre at noon on August 20, 1854, when Shoshonis attacked the Alexander Ward wagon train of Missourians on the south side of the Boise River near present day Middleton, Idaho. Eighteen of the party were killed and only two Ward boys (shown at left in old age) escaped. This is the earliest known song that is directly related to an event in Idaho. Lyrics are from Olive Woolley Burt's book "Ameridan Murder Ballads and Other Stories". A melody is not known so the song was performed as a dirge, as suggested in Rosalie Sorrels' book "Way Out in Idaho". Burt's book attributes the song to Nicholas Lee of Pole County, Oregon Territory. Burt obtained the lyrics from Dave C. Dunaway, Oregon State Archivist, who found the ballad in the Novermber 28, 1854 issue of the Oregon Statesman newspaper. The rendition here of this previously unrecorded song is by Johnny Thomsen (recitation and recorder) and Rick Ardinger (button accordian). Photo credit: Canyon County Historical Society.

No instrumental posted for September, 2008


© Slim Chance Music 2010. This page was last updated on February 21, 2010.