NEW YORK FOLKLORE QUARTERLY
Vol. XXIV, No. 1, March 1968
NOTES FOR A PIONEER
Arthur F. Schrader
WHEN Harold W. Thompson, assisted by Edith E. Cutting,
edited A Pioneer Songster (Ithaca, 1958) from
the Stevens-Douglass manuscripts of songs sung in
Western New York from 1841 to 1856, he made many of us his
debtors. What he earlier had called the “Treasure of Arcade” is
also a treasure of New England. Members of the Stevens family
had followed a familiar New England pattern of the westward
trek: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut to New
York (and then, later, on to Kansas). Artemas Stevens, the migrant
to Wyoming County, thus became a Yorker by adoption,
but his roots were in New England, and in New England it has
been possible to find some of the tunes missing from his manuscript
During the last few years a pleasant part of my work at Old
Sturbridge Village has been comparing the 89 songs in A Pioneer
Songster with other collections written or published before 1824
when Artemas Stevens, then in Massachusetts, “...had made a
record of a few favorite songs...” These collections were not
accessible to Dr. Thompson and Miss Cutting when they were
doing their editing and annotating, so—standing on their shoulders
—I now can add a few notes for three songs which they did
not identify in A Pioneer Songster: “The Country Clown,” “The
Sweeper,” and “Lady Washington.” All three appear in New
England sources before 1820, the first two with music and text
together, and the third easily re-united with its probable original
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