“Lone Star Ballads”—A Rare Compilation of Confederate & Texas Songs

With an Important Texas Ranger Protest Ballad

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4. ALLAN, Francis D. (compiler). Allan’s Lone Star Ballads. A Collection of Southern Patriotic Songs Made during Confederate Times, “Let me write the Ballads of a Nation and I care not who makes the Laws.”—Montesquieu. Compiled and Revised by Francis D. Allan. Galveston: J.D. Sawyer, Publisher, 1874. [i-iii] iv, [5] 6-222 [2, ads] pp. 16mo (15 x 11.5 cm), original gilt-decorated green cloth with gilt star and title on upper cover. Spine lightly chipped at extremities, lower cover moderately bubbled, general light wear to binding, endpapers browned, front endpaper with tear (no losses), overall a good copy of a very scarce book. Red ink stamp of Thos. Goggan & Bros., Galveston, on title.

     First collected edition, with many previously unpublished songs added (e.g. “The Rebel Prisoner” and “The Frontier Ranger”). Allan originally published a much shorter form (62 pp.?, see below) at Galveston-Houston in 1863 under title Allen’s [sic] Lone Star Ballads, No. 1. The 1863 Confederate imprint appeared in very fragile pamphlet form and is excessively rare. A few of the songs were published separately, such as “Songs of the Texas Rangers” and Magruder’s “God Bless Our Southern Land.” References to the 1863 edition: Parrish, Civil War Texana 1. Parrish & Willingham 6615. Winkler 506. References to present edition: Dykes, Western High Spots (“Ranger Reading”), p. 119: “Includes several [ballads] about the Ranger leaders and companies from Texas in War Between the States.” Eberstadt 123:3 (quoting Dobie): “A very good collection of patriotic verse of early-day Texas and the Confederacy.” Eberstadt, Texas 162:12. Leonidas Warren Payne, Jr., A Survey of Texas Literature, New York, etc.: Rand, McNally & Company [ca. 1928], pp. 42-43. Raines, p. 6. Winkler 3336.

     About two hundred songs are documented, including “The Soldiers’ Song of Pass Cavallo” by C.G. Forshey, C.S. Engineers; “Bombardment and Battles of Galveston (From June 1, 1862, to January 1, 1863)” by S.R. Ezzell, of Capt. Daly’s Company; “The Texas Ranger” by Englishman William Kennedy, Consul at Galveston in 1836; “Southrons! Hear Your Country Call You” by General A.G. Pike of Arkansas; “The Texas Soldier Boy, by a Lad of Fifteen Years Old, of the Arizona Brigade”; “Song of the Texas Ranger” by Mrs. J.D. Young to be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”; “The Horse Marines at Galveston”; “Baylor’s Partisan Rangers” by Mary Ann Wilson, San Antonio; “Ben M’Culloch—He Fell at His Post” by Ned Bracken; “The Texas Ranger” by R.R. Carpenter, of DeBray’s Regiment; “Terry’s Texas Rangers” by Captain Estelle; “Hood’s Old Brigade” by Miss Mollie E. Moore; etc. The songs are sometimes accompanied by historical notes, such as the note to the first song in the book “Hood’s Texas Brigade,” which states: “Capt. Riley commanded a Battery of Irishmen, from North Caroline, and was nearly always attached to Hood’s Brigade. The ‘swarthy old hounds’ refer to his Napoleon guns.”

     The songs include not only those relating to Texas, but from all parts of the Confederacy. In addition to Confederate songs, there are songs on early Texas, and a few on the Texas Rangers. “The Frontier Ranger” with words by M.B. Smith of the Second Texas Cavalry (pp. 92-93) is the earliest appearance in a book of a truly Texas Ranger song. Guy Logsdon in The Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing and Other Songs Cowboys Sing (University of Illinois Press, 1989, pp. 55-56) explores variants of the song known to Lomax in Cowboy Songs and Haley in his biography of Charles Goodnight. Logsdon objects to Haley characterizing “The Frontier Ranger” as “doggerel,” stating that the song is, in fact: “A protest ballad from a people who seldom resorted to protest songs. It is a statement protesting the lack of appreciation from politicians and citizenry. The Rangers received little financial reward, a limited food supply, and no moral support at all except when they were needed.... [It] is a genuine frontier protest song. The first printing appeared under the title ‘The Frontier Ranger’ in Allan’s Lone Star Ballads (1874).... The song refers to ‘going home to the States,’ which implies the song was composed before statehood in 1845.” Logsdon goes on to give the musical score for the ballad. It has been suggested that the earliest published version of this ballad was in the Lone Star and Texas Ranger, a newspaper printed by Joseph Lancaster, located in Brenham, Texas during the 1850s. We have not attempted to verify that claim.

     In his introduction, Allan provides a concise statement of his method and purposes in publishing this work:

During the War the Compiler of this little volume published a small pamphlet of Southern War Songs under the title of Allan’s Lone Star Ballads, No. 1, also a number in sheets, with the promise that some day he would issue them, with many never before in print, in a more durable form, for preservation. Until now he has been prevented from making good this promise, through heavy losses, the legitimate result of the war, and which was followed by the wanton burning of all his property by Major G.W. Smith and the Federal Soldiers under his command, at the city of Brenham, in Texas, on the night of the seventh of September, 1866, long after the war was supposed to be over, and from the effects of which he has never recovered. Many of the songs in hand at that time were also destroyed, and for the past eight years he has been engaged in re-gathering them, with many that he did not have before. For these he has to return his heartfelt thanks to many kind friends, some of them personally unknown to him....

And now, at last, he has the pleasure of offering his little book to the kind regards of all who may think worthy of consideration and preservation the songs so often “sung around the camp-fires” by companions-in-arms who have “fought their last battle” and “passed over the river” from their sight forever.

     The twenty-two pages of ads, some of which are pictorial, are useful for Galveston local history studies and certainly give testament to “Cotton was King” and the booming depot of commerce Galveston was at that time. Advertisers include W.L. Cushing & Moore Eagle Cotton Gin and Machinery Depot, Mendez & Morales Havana Cigars, J.D. Sawyer Lightning News and Book Dealer (publisher of this book), Anderson & Bennett Photographic Artists, Memphis Cotton and Hay Press, Madame L’Etondal French Dress Maker, J.V. Chaplin Saddle & Harness Maker, Shattuck’s Non-Explosive Solar Oil and Portable Gas Light Depot, The Railroad Ticket Office, etc. Most interesting is the final ad (2 pp.) by author Allan as a subscription book agency, who declares: “No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them by Books....”


Sold. Hammer: $250.00; Price Realized: $306.25.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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