“Buffalo Gals” is a traditional American song from almost 200 years ago. In 1844, it was published by a minstrel performer named John Hodges. Originally, the song was about Buffalo, NY, during the construction of the Erie Canal ending in 1825. At that time, before steam engines were commonly used, barges carrying cargo for trade and distribution were pulled by mules through the Canal.
From Book I of the O'Connor Method.