Friday, July 15, 2011

Sweet Betsy from Pike

“Sweet Betsy from Pike” is a song about two young “forty-niners” traveling
from Pike County, Missouri, to the gold fields of California. In 1849, word traveled across the country that there was a fortune to be found in California's Sierra Mountains. Thousands of people left their homes and endured tremendous hardships journeying west to look for gold. The lyrics to this song describe many of the troubles typically encountered by the “forty-niners.” The song's author is unknown, but the lyrics may have been written by John A. Stone. Stone, also known as “Old Put,” was a San Francisco entertainer who wrote, adapted and collected songs about the gold miners of that time.

The melody is most likely a variation of a tune originally from Ireland. The hard times described in the song become especially poignant when, after all of their trials and tribulations during their journey west, Betsy and Ike do not end up together as a couple.

Read more about what there is to learn about "Sweet Besty from Pike" here!

From Book I of the O'Connor Method.

1 comment:

  1. This story of sweet Betsy and that picture of the hardships during the gold rush,reminded me of a story that is well entrenched in Afrikaner culture,in SA, with a number of streets and schools named after her.During 1843 Rachel de beer was part of the Great trek from the Orange Free State to the South-Eastern Transvaal.During one of their nightly stop overs,the members of the trek realised that a calf named "frikkie' was missing.At dusk,a search party set out, taking Rachel and her six year old brother with them.The two of them got separated and lost and as night progressed,it got very cold.It started snowing and Rachel realised that they were in danger, managed to find an anthill that had been hollowed out by an Aardvark (Anteater).She took off her clothes and put them on her brother and commanded him to get into the anthill.She lay in front of the opening,to keep out the cold.The next morning, a search party went looking for Rachel and her brother.They found her still in front of the anthill.She was dead,but her brother had survived.This story/fable was not well documented at that time,but it is heartfelt and still continues today.......