These songs were heard in the first three seasons of Pioneer History in Song and Story. All were popular in America between 1840 and 1880, and the arrangements and lyrics heard in the series are based on the original sheet music.

The words, harmonies, and even the tunes are occasionally a bit different from the versions we know today—the surprises are fascinating and add 19th-Century color and charm to the songs.

Songs are shown below in the year when they were first published or documented in print, and a few historic events are included for context.


The Last Rose of Summer(Thomas Moore/traditional tune)



Home! Sweet Home! (Payne & Bishop)


U.S. population reaches 17 million.


A few dozen wagons travel west on the Oregon Trail.


Western emigration begins in earnest; 1000s head west.

The Boatmen Dance (Daniel Decatur Emmett)

Long, Long Ago (Thomas Haynes Bayly)

O We Won't Go Home Until Morning (William Clifton)


Samuel F.B. Morse sends the first telegraph message.

The Blue Juniata (Marion Sullivan)


Open Thy Lattice, Love (Stephen Foster)


O Susanna (Stephen Foster)

The Spider and the Fly (Jesse Hutchinson)

  1841—1848, c.17,000 emigrants traveled overland to Oregon, California, & Utah.


The US wins the war with Mexico and acquires the western territories.

Gold is discovered in California. In 1848 most miners were already living in California.


California Gold Rush begins. In one year, 80,000 travel to California, overland or by ship.

O California (Jonathan Nichols. To the tune of O Susanna)

Nelly was a Lady (Stephen Foster)


U.S. population: 23 million    •    California becomes the 31st state

Disastrous year on the Oregon Trail. Thousands die of cholera and dysentery

Levi Strauss “bibless overalls” (blue jeans) introduced in San Francisco

New York Times begins publication    •    Singer Sewing Machine is patented

Seeing the Elephant (John A. Stone. To the tune of The Boatmen Dance)

What was your name in the States? (trad.)

Kentucky Home

Ah! may the Red Rose Live Alway (Stephen Foster)

Twenty Years Ago (Smith & Willing)


Gold rush in Northern California in Siskiyou County


Wait for the Wagon (R. B. Buckley)


Old Folks at Home (Swanee River) (Stephen Foster)


Gold rush in Southern Oregon around Jacksonville

Wells, Fargo, & Co. is founded

Elisha Otis invents the safety elevator

Uncle Tom's Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe)

The Miner’s Farewell (James L. Pierpont)

My Old Kentucky Home (Stephen Foster)

Do They Miss Me at Home? (Mason & Grannis)

The Old Log Hut (R. M. Sinclair) ("Row, Row, Row Your Boat")

Lilly Dale (H. S. Thompson)


The first U.S. World's Fair takes place in New York

Commodore Perry and a U.S. Naval fleet arrive in Japan to establish diplomatic contact


Hard Times (Charles Dickens)


Hard Times, Come Again No More (Stephen Foster)


End of the California Gold Rush. Gold becomes harder to find and more expensive to extract.

Leaves of Grass (Walt Whitman)

Listen to the Mockingbird (Milburn & Winner)

Over the Summer Sea (anon. arrangement of "La donna e mobile" from Verdi's Rigoletto)

Miner’s Lament (John A. Stone. Tune: Lilly Dale)

Love's Old Sweet Song

The Ship That Never Returned (Henry C. Work)

Some Folks (Stephen Foster)


Western Union Company founded

Sweet Betsy from Pike (John A. Stone)

Gentle Annie (Stephen Foster)


The Miner’s Song (Swett & Kemp)


The California Stage Company (John A. Stone)

Champagne Charlie (Alfred Lee)

Billy’s Back Room (Rob Roy)


On the Origin of Species (Charles Darwin)

Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)


U.S. population reaches 31 million.

In the Days of 49 (Charles Bensell)

I’ll Twine ’Mid the Ringlets ("Wildwood Flower") (Joseph Philbrick Webster and Maud Irving)


Civil War hostilities begin at Ft. Sumter.

Western Uniion completes the Transcontinental telegraph line

James Lingenfelter of Jacksonville becomes the first Oregonian killed in combat in the Civil War

Roughing It by Mark Twain, describing his journey from the midwest to San Francisco.


People Will Talk (S. M Grannis)

Bonnie Blue Flag (Harry McCarthy) plus several Union versions.

If You've Only Got a Moustache (Stephen Foster)


All Quiet Along the Potomac To-night (Fontaine and Hewitt)

We're Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground (Walter Kittredge)

When Johnny Comes Marching Home (Patrick Gilmore, as Louis Lambert)


Salvation Army is founded

Beautiful Dreamer (Stephen Foster)

Battle Cry of Freedom (George Frederick Root) plus the Confederate version.


The Civil War ends

Song of the Overland Stage Driver (Nat Stein)

Marching Through Georgia (Henry Clay Work)

Love on the Brain (Mrs. E. A. Parkhurst)


Eating Goober Peas (anon)


Don’t Marry a Man if He Drinks (Kidder and Parkhurst)


First professional Baseball Club: The Cincinnati Red Stockings

The Man on the Flying Trapeze (Richard Leybourne)


First transcontinental railroad is completed


Hurrah For Our National Game (Walter Neville)


U.S. population reaches 38 million.


First intercollegiate football game: Rutgers–Princeton

Campbell Soup Co. and H. J. Heinz Co. are established

Song of the Sewing Machine (Will Hays)

Up in a Balloon (Harry Birch)

The Flying Velocipede (Brio)


The Wonderful Musician (Greenaway and Davies)


A Second Wave of the anti-alchohol Temperance Movement begins

The Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America is founded

Courting in the Rain (Vincent Davies)


The Women's Christian Temperance Union is founded

Lips That Touch Liquor Shall Never Touch Mine (Booth & Evans)

The Base Ball Song (W. J. Bullock)


Ulysses Grant becomes president


Oh Papa, Don’t Drink Any More (French & Blake)

Oh Barney, Take Me Home Again (George W. Brown)


I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen(T. P. Westendorf)

My Grandfather’s Clock (Henry Clay Work)

Have Courage, My Boy, to Say No(Penrose & Keens)


The Wondrous Telephone (Thomas Paine Westendorf)

Charlie the Telegraph Clerk (T. Brigham Bishop)

In the Gloaming (Annie Fortescue Harrison)


The Electric Light Waltz (Hazelton & Spencer)


WCTU membership reaches 12,000

I’m a Western Union Telegraph Boy (Herbert Spencer)


Rock-A-Bye Baby (Effie Crocket)



The Water is Wide

On the E-RI-E Canal

O Shenandoah

One More River to Cross

I am a Roving Gambler

Jack o' Diamonds / Rye Whiskey

The Girl I Left Behind Me

Begone, Dull Care





Love's Old Sweet Song (1884)

Take Me Up With You, Dearie (1906)

Two Brothers (1951)


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