Folksongs

Sweet Betsy from Pike

Did you ever hear tell of sweet Betsy from Pike, who crossed the wide prairies with her husband Ike.
With two yoke of oxen and one spotted hog, a tall Shanghai rooster and an old yeller dog.

Chorus:
Hoo-dle dang fol-di dye-do, hoo-dle dang fol-di day,
hoo-dle dang fol-di dye-do, hoo-dle dang fol-di day.

One evening quite early they camped on the Platte, ‘twas near by the road on a green shady flat.
Where Betsy quite tired lay down to repose, while with wonder Ike gazed on his Pike County rose.

Chorus

They swam the wide rivers and crossed the tall peaks, and camped on the prairie for weeks upon weeks.
Starvation and cholera, nearly drowned in a stream, but to reach California was their only dream.

Chorus

They soon reached the desert where Betsy gave out, and down in the sand she lay rolling about.
While Ike in great terror looked on in surprise, saying "Get up now Betsy, you’ll get sand in your eyes."

Chorus

The alkali desert was burning and hot, and Ike he decided to leave on the spot,
"Dear old Pike County, I’ll go back to you." Said Betsy, "You’ll go back alone if you do."

Chorus

The Shanghai ran off and the oxen all died, the last piece of bacon that morning was fried.
Poor Ike got discouraged, and Betsy got mad, the dog wagged his tail and looked wonderfully sad.

Chorus

One morning they climbed up a very high hill, and with wonder looked down into old Placerville!
Ike shouted and said as he cast his eyes down, "Sweet Betsy, my darling, we’ve got to Hangtown!"

Chorus

Polly Wolly Doodle

Oh I went down South, for to see my Sal, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.
My Sal she am, a spunky gal. Sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.

Chorus:
Fare thee well, fare thee well,
Fare thee well my fairy fay.
I’m goin’ to Lou’siana, to see my Susyanna,
Sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.

My Sal she am, a maiden fair, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.
With curly eyes, and laughing hair, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.

Chorus

Behind the barn, down on my knees, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.
I thought I heard, a chicken sneeze, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.

Chorus

He sneezed so hard, with the whooping cough, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.
He sneezed his head, and tail right off, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.

Chorus

Oh a grasshopper sittin’, on a railroad track, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.
A-pickin’ his teeth, with a carpet tack, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.

Chorus

Oh I went to bed, but it weren’t no use, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.
My feet stuck out, like a chicken roost, sing Polly wolly doodle all the day.

Chorus

(This is a great song to let kids make up their own silly verse to. You could have your own class song using some of the favorites. Also a neat thing to have the kids share during a pioneer parent night program!)

Oh Susanna

Oh I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.
An’ I’m goin’ to Lou’siana my true love for to see.
Oh Susanna, oh don’t you cry for me,
‘Cause I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.

Oh it rained all night, the day I left, the weather it was dry.
The sun so hot, I froze to death, Susanna don’t you cry.
Oh Susanna, oh don’t you cry for me,
‘Cause I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.

Yankee Doodle

Father and I went down to camp, along with Captain Good-in.
And there we saw the men and boys as thick as hasty puddin’.
Yankee Doodle keep it up, Oh Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Mind the music and the steps, and with the girls be handy.

And there was Captain Washington, upon a slapping stallion.
Giving orders to his men, I guess there were a million.
Yankee Doodle keep it up, Oh Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Mind the music and the steps, and with the girls be handy.

Square Dancing

This can be a fun way to incorporate physical education into your pioneer activities. Invite a local square dance group to demonstrate some simple steps to the class, or find out if your P. E. teacher has any experience in teaching dance steps (you’d be surprised!). Many schools that we’ve been to with our Single Grade program have incorporated square dancing into a Family Night program. One way to schedule this is to have half of the students demonstrate pioneer square dancing (and maybe some folk songs!) to their families in one area while the other half participate in our Family Night program in another area. Half way through your Family Night the two groups can switch. This is even more fun if the students dress up as pioneers!

© 2002 Journey Back In Time