Friday, September 2, 2011

Listening in on our pioneer past

Pioneer Songs

By clicking on the link above you will be treated to several songs sung by the pioneers as they carved civilization out of the West, as sung by their descendants in 1947, when they were recorded for the Library of Congress's Archive of Folk Culture.  These examples were recorded in 1946 and 1947 by Austin Fife and his wife Alta as they gethered songs passed on in the folk tradition—either learned firsthand from the writer or passed down in families and communities.

Of particular interest to the Laws family is a song written about the railroad. William Hart Laws, who was in his 20s, was present at the laying of the last rail at Promontory, Utah. He wrote that he was near the back, not close enough to see the actual driving of the spikes. Directly after the Transcontinental Railroad was finished, he worked on the Utah Central Railway from Ogden to Salt Lake.