Friday, October 8, 2010

Home On The Range

In 1947 the Kansas State Legislature adopted "Home On The Range" as the official state song of Kansas. Known around the world the song had become popular as a "cowboy ballad" promoting a simpler life in the American West. Its mention of Kansas place names, Beaver Creek and the Solomon River Valley, made it a good choice as music representing the Sunflower State.

The words, written by Dr. Brewster Higley in 1872 as a poem titled "My Western Home," described a land of blue skies and natural beauty set out on the banks of Beaver Creek in Smith County, Kansas, where Higley was living at the time. The poem had been set to music by Higley's neighbor, Dan Kelley, and within several years become popular in the West. The words had often been changed to reflect the locale wherein the song was sung but retained their original intent of a peaceful life where "the sky is not clouded all day."

There had been some controversy over the song's origins in the 1930s but the text, discovered in an 1876 issue of The Kirwin (Kansas) Chief determined that the words were Higley's. Though the words, home on the range, never appeared in Higley's original poem that title stuck and has remained as the song's official name.

Below are resources on "Home on the Range" including links to different audio versions of the song and the official words of the Kansas state version.


Home on the Range
(Provided by National Public Radio, this web page offers a short history of the song and different audio versions. Some broken links)

Roam Is Where The Heart Is
(From Kansas History Online)

Home On The Range
(KTWU public television Sunflower Journeys program transcript)

An Anthem
(Provided by Discovering Lewis & Clark)

The History of the State Song
(Kansas State Historical Society)

"State Song of Kansas..."
(A short article appearing on the Kansas State University's Media Relations website)

The Off-Key Story of a Song
(The controversy continues for some on the origins of the song)


Tales Out of School
(Center for Great Plains Studies)

Read Kansas! - Fourth Grade
(Provided by the Kansas State Historical Society's Read Kansas! Program. This lesson teaches the history of the state song, “Home on the Range,” through expository text and a time line)


Brewster Higley VI
(Wikipedia article)

Brewster Higley Historical Marker, Rutland, Ohio

Historical Background of “Home on the Range”
(Written by Russell K. Hickman. Contains a lot of biographical information on Brewster Higley)

Brewster Higley's Gravesite
(Provided at Find A Grave)

Daniel E. Kelley

(Wikipedia article)


The Official Kansas State Song
(Quoted from the 1947 Session Law)

Home on the Range: Classic Cowboy Poetry
(The original poem, the first version of the song and Lomax versions)

Three versions of the text on Wikipedia
(Higley, Goodwin and Lomax)


Nomination Form for "Home On The Range" cabin
(Kansas State Historical Society)

Kansas US Hwy 281
(General information on Smith County which is also the location of the center of the 48 contiguous states)

Smith County KSGenweb
(Provided by the Kansas Genweb Project)

Smith County at Blue Skways
(Provided by the State Library of Kansas)

YouTube Video

View a YouTube audio of "Home on the Range" featuring versions by Roy Rogers and Gene Autry:

Article by: Bill Sowers
Please use the "Comments" link/box below for questions and comments.

No comments:

Post a Comment