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Sweet Betsy From Pike

November 5, 2019

I was thinking about mom tonight and thought this was worth reblogging. Enjoy!


Sweet Betsy From Pike is an American ballad about the trials of a pioneer named Betsy and her lover Ike who migrate from Pike County, Missouri to California. This Gold Rush-era song, with lyrics written by John A. Stone before 1858, was collected and published in Carl Sandburg’s 1927 American Songbag. It has been recorded by Burl Ives, Johnny Cash and many others. The melody is of English extraction and is also that of the ballad “Villikins and his Dinah”.

I have always liked this song as my mother’s family was from Louisiana, Pike County, Missouri. It was the departure point for many people who went west during the Gold Rush, including many from my mother’s family. I used the opening lines from this song for the opening lines in my book, The Horse Whisperers from Anaconda. Here are the complete lyrics:

Sweet Betsy From Pike

Did you ever…

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