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Hand-Made Union Patriotic and Religious Song Book
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This hand-sewn booklet contains eight songs popular during the Civil War era, with music and lyrics in calligraphy. Songs include “On a Green Grassy Noll” by J. D. Canning, with music by Ira Odell; “The Old Mountain Tree” by James G. Clark; “Harmonian Waltz”; “Year of Jubilee, or Kingdom has Come!”; “Squire Jones’s Daughter”; “The Sweet Birds Are Singing”; “Lament of the Irish Emigrant”; and “Soon and For Ever,” by J. B. Monsell. The last page of the booklet is dated February 21, 1864.

[CIVIL WAR]. Manuscript Pen and Ink Folk Art Song Book, ca. 1864. 24 pp., 6⅝ x 8 in.

Inventory #24826       Price: $4,500

Partial Transcript

Year of Jubilee or Kingdom has Come!

I come up Norf on a little bender,

     Left Missus at home wid no one to tend her,

Ole Massa’s gone, I dun-no what to;

     Sambo pretty sure he don’t much care to.


Den sound de horn, beat de drum,

     Sound de horn and beat de drum,

De year ob jubilee am come,

     Sound de horn and beat de drum,

De year ob jubilee am come.

Met genral Bloaregard, on my way here,

     He told me dat I had better stay dere,

He said, up Norf, dey would skin and eat me,

     Dat was a yarn dat a little heat me.

He said he had just whipp’d Gen-ral Bu-el

     Grant and Wallace, All three in a duel.

I axed him den, why he was running away?

     Sam-bo, says he, dat question aint fair play.

Oh, times down Soth am getting quite rotten

     He’s so berry scarce, they have to burn cotton

I left dat land ob oppression and gas,

     And roam de free Norf without nary pass.

Molasses Junction was a big scarecrow,

     Nigh its wooden guns nobody didn’t dare go;

But when McClellan got a good ready

     De Southern Gentry seemed quite unsteady.

Abraham Lincoln and Emancipation,

     De two tallest tings in dis tall nation;

Hurrah den boys, let us still be merry,

     Kingdom has come, boys, we’ve good times, berry.

Historical Background

Music played a prominent role in the American Civil War. On the battlefield and in the camps, it boosted morale and released tensions. On the homefront, it helped individuals and families express political sentiments, grief, and longing. Music entertained and often carried political, religious, and social messages.

“The Year of Jubilee, or Kingdom has Come!” was written by “Sambo” and first published in 1862 by H. M. Higgins in Chicago.

“Squire Jones’s Daughter” tells of the virtues of “The prettiest girl in the State of Maine” and was copyrighted by New York publisher Henry De Marsan in 1860.

“The Sweet Birds Are Singing” is a cheerful pastoral duet about springtime that dates to at least 1836. “On a Green Grassy Noll” by J. D. Canning was first published in Boston in 1852, and is an elegy for a nameless old farmer who has “ploughed his last furrow.”

“The Old Mountain Tree” is a ballad in the form of a quartet by James G. Clark, first published in 1854. It expresses longing for an old homestead. Clark (1829-1897) enlisted in the 35th New York as a 1st lieutenant and was detailed to remain in the recruiting service. He used music in his efforts to enlist soldiers in the cause and was dubbed “The People’s Poet.”

“Lament of the Irish Emigrant” is a ballad by Helen Blackwood (1807-1867), with music by William R. Dempster (1808-1871), first published in Boston around 1840. It tells the story of an Irish emigrant who has buried his wife Mary and their child. Blackwood, Baronness Dufferin and Claneboye, was a British songwriter, composer, poet, and author. Dempster, a Scottish singer, was very popular in the United States.

“Soon and For Ever” is a sentimental hymn by J. B. Monsell about the Christian’s union with Christ in Heaven. Rev. James Samuel Bewley Monsell (1811-1875) was an Irish Anglican clergyman and poet. He wrote the poem in 1853 or earlier.


Very minor soiling, else near fine.

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