ON THE GO 2018 July thru December  

This site was last  updated 10/08/18

Amy "Tiger" Kullgren at Rockledge CC in West Hartford, CT ...  Late July 2018

Stray Black Cat in VT

Look back and see this black cat with Eric and Alexei on 6/5/18. Again we see it in early September 2018 going under our porch in VT.  Who owns this lovely cat?

Pilleated Woodpecker by Gazebo near Phil Rollman's at Beebe Pond.



In 1813, the United States gets its nickname, Uncle Sam.  The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812. Wilson (1766-1854) stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to the grub as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.

In the late 1860s and 1870s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) began popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today. The German-born Nast was also credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus as well as coming up with the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic Party and the elephant as a symbol for the Republicans. Nast also famously lampooned the corruption of New York City’s  Tammany Hall in his editorial cartoons and was, in part, responsible for the downfall of Tammany leader William Tweed.

Perhaps the most famous image of Uncle Sam was created by artist James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960). In Flagg’s version, Uncle Sam wears a tall top hat and blue jacket and is pointing straight ahead at the viewer. During World War I, this portrait of Sam with the words “I Want You For The U.S. Army” was used as a recruiting poster. The image, which became immensely popular, was first used on the cover of Leslie’s Weekly in July 1916 with the title “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?” The poster was widely distributed and has subsequently been re-used numerous times with different captions.

In September 1961, the U.S. Congress recognized Samuel Wilson as “the progenitor of America’s national symbol of Uncle Sam.” Wilson died at age 88 in 1854, and was buried next to his wife Betsey Mann in the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York, the town that calls itself “The Home of Uncle Sam.”

Uncle Sam   J. M. Flagg's 1917 poster was based of three years earlier. It was used to recruit soldiers for both World War I and World War II. Flagg used a modified version of his own face for Uncle Sam, and veteran Walter Botts on the original British Lord  Kitchener poster provided the pose.

Uncle Sam (initials U.S.) is a common national personification of the American government or the United States in general that, according to legend, came into use during the War of 1812 and was supposedly named for Samuel Wilson. The actual origin is by a legend.[3] Since the early 19th century, Uncle Sam has been a popular symbol of the US government in American culture and a manifestation of patriotic emotion.  While the figure of Uncle Sam represents specifically the government, Columbia represents the United States as a nation.

The first reference to Uncle Sam in formal literature (as distinct from newspapers) was in the 1816 allegorical book The Adventures of Uncle Sam, in Search After His Lost Honor by Frederick Augustus Fidfaddy, Esq.  Other possible references date to the American Revolutionary War: an Uncle Sam is mentioned as early as 1775, in the original lyrics of "Yankee Doodle", though it is not clear whether this reference is to Uncle Sam as a metaphor for the United States, or to an actual person named Sam. The lyrics as a whole celebrate the military efforts of the young nation in besieging the British at Boston.

The 13th stanza is:

Old Uncle Sam come there to change
Some pancakes and some onions,
For 'lasses cakes, to carry home
To give his wife and young ones.



The earliest known personification of the United States was as a woman named Columbia, who first appeared in 1738 (pre-USA) and sometimes was associated with another female personification, Lady Liberty. With the American Revolutionary War came Brother Jonathan, a male personification, and Uncle Sam finally appeared after the War of 1812.8]Columbia appeared with either Brother Jonathan or Uncle Sam, but her use declined as a national personification in favor of Liberty, and she was effectively abandoned once she became the mascot of Columbia Pictures in the 1920s.

According to an article in the 1893 The Lutheran Witness, Uncle Sam was simply another name for Brother Jonathan:

When we meet him in politics we call him Uncle Sam; when we meet him in society we call him Brother Jonathan. Here of late Uncle Sam alias Brother Jonathan has been doing a powerful lot of complaining, hardly doing anything else. [sic][9]

A March 24, 1810 journal entry by Isaac Mayo states:

weighed anchor stood down the harbour, passed Sandy Hook, where there are two light-houses, and put to sea, first and second day out most deadly seasick, oh could I have got on shore in the hight [sic] of it, I swear that uncle Sam, as they call him, would certainly forever have lost the services of at least one sailor.[10]

Evolution of Uncle Sam

Samuel Wilson Memorial in Arlington, Massachusetts


Photograph of Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York


.Uncle Sam and Columbia in an 1869 cartoon by Thomas Nast


Uncle Sam often personified the United States in political cartoons, such as this one in 1897 about the U.S. annexation of Hawaii


Poster by the United States Fuel Administration during World War One: "Uncle Sam needs that extra shovelful"

The precise origin of the Uncle Sam character is unclear, but a popular legend is that the name "Uncle Sam" was derived from Samuel Wilson, a meatpacker from Troy, New York who supplied rations for American soldiers during the War of 1812. There was a requirement at the time for contractors to stamp their name and where the rations came from onto the food they were sending. Wilson's packages were labeled "E.A – US." When someone asked what that stood for, a co-worker jokingly said, "Elbert Anderson [the contractor] and Uncle Sam," referring to Wilson, though the "US" actually stood for United States.[11] Doubts have been raised as to the authenticity of this story, as the claim did not appear in print until 1842.[12] Additionally, the earliest known mention definitely referring to the metaphorical Uncle Sam is from 1810, predating Wilson's contract with the government.[10] As early as 1835, Brother Jonathan made a reference to Uncle Sam, implying that they symbolized different things: Brother Jonathan was the country itself, while Uncle Sam was the government and its power.

By the 1850s, the names Brother Jonathan and Uncle Sam were being used nearly interchangeably, to the point that images of what had previously been called "Brother Jonathan" were being called "Uncle Sam". Similarly, the appearance of both personifications varied wildly. For example, one depiction of Uncle Sam in 1860 showed him looking like Benjamin Franklin,  while a contemporaneous depiction of Brother Jonathan looks more like the modern version of Uncle Sam, though without a goatee.

Uncle Sam did not get a standard appearance, even with the effective abandonment of Brother Jonathan near the end of the American Civil War, until the well-known "recruitment" image of Uncle Sam was first created by James Montgomery Flagg during World War I. The image was inspired by a British recruitment poster showing Lord Kitchener in a similar pose. It is this image more than any other that has influenced the modern appearance of Uncle Sam: an elderly white man with white hair and a goatee, wearing a white top hat with white stars on a blue band, a blue tail coat, and red-and-white-striped trousers.

Flagg's depiction of Uncle Sam was shown publicly for the first time, according to some, on the cover of the magazine Leslie's Weekly on July 6, 1916, with the caption "What Are You Doing for Preparedness?"[1][16] More than four million copies of this image were printed between 1917 and 1918. Flagg's image was also used extensively during World War II, during which the U.S. was codenamed "Samland" by the German intelligence agency Abwehr.[17] The term was central in the song "The Yankee Doodle Boy", which was featured in 1942 in the musical Yankee Doodle Dandy.

There are two memorials to Uncle Sam, both of which commemorate the life of Samuel Wilson: the Uncle Sam Memorial Statue in Arlington, Massachusetts, his birthplace; and a memorial near his long-term residence in Riverfront Park, Troy, New York. Wilson's boyhood home can still be visited in Mason, New Hampshire. Samuel Wilson died on July 31, 1854, aged 87, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, New York.

In 1989, "Uncle Sam Day" became official. A Congressional joint resolution[18] designated September 13, 1989 as "Uncle Sam Day", the birthday of Samuel Wilson. In 2015, the family history company MyHeritage researched Uncle Sam's family tree and claims to have tracked down his living relatives.]

Samuel Wilson  (Uncle Sam)

 Samuel Wilson

Samuel wilson portrait.jpg.

'Portrait of Wilson.



September 13, 1766
Menotomy, Province of Massachusetts Bay


July 31, 1854 (aged 87)
Troy, New York,
United States






Betsey Mann
(m. 1797; his death 1854)



Samuel Wilson (September 13, 1766– July 31, 1854) was a meat packer from Troy, New York whose name is purportedly the source of the personification of the United States known as "Uncle Sam".

Samuel was born in the historic town of Arlington, Massachusetts to parents Edward and Lucy Wilson. Samuel Wilson is a descendant of one of the oldest families of Boston, Massachusetts. Through direct heritance of his grandfather, Robert Wilson, originally from Greenock, Scotland, he was Scottish with a Massachusetts background. As a boy, he moved with his family to Mason, New Hampshire.[4] In 1789, at the age of 22, Samuel and his older brother Ebeneezer, age 27, relocated, by foot, to Troy, New York.

 The Wilson brothers were amongst the first pioneer settlers of the community. Troy, New York was attractive to earlier settlers for its proximity to the Hudson River. Samuel and his brother Ebeneezer partnered together and built several successful businesses. Both were employees of the city as well as successful entrepreneurs.

Samuel returned to Mason, New Hampshire in 1797, to marry Betsey Mann, daughter of Captain Benjamin Mann.  Samuel and Betsey were parents to four children, Polly (1797-1805), Samuel (1800–07), Benjamin (1802–59), and Albert (1805–66).

Benjamin Wilson was the only child to have children. He married Mary Wood, and together they were parents to Sarah, Elizabeth, Emma, and Marion. Albert married Amanda but they had no children.

While living in Mason, New Hampshire, at the young age of fourteen, Samuel joined the Revolutionary Army on March 2, 1781. His duties while enlisted consisted of guarding and caring for cattle, and mending fences, as well as slaughtering and packaging meat. Guarding meat was a priority during the war. It was not uncommon for enemies to tamper with and poison food sources. Samuel’s service to the Revolutionary Army most likely came to an end around October 19, 1781 with the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown

After his relocation to Troy, New York, Samuel drew upon his prosperous location. He purchased property on Mount Ida (now Prospect Park), closely located to the Hudson River. The combination of natural elements produced exceptional clay, ideal for brick making. This began a new business venture for Samuel Wilson. His bricks were the first native bricks of Troy. Many historical buildings in Troy include bricks made by Wilson. This was revolutionary during the 18th century. Many bricks during this period were imported from the Netherlands.

On March 8, 1793, Samuel and his brother Ebeneezer leased the western half of lot 112, now 43 Ferry St., from Jacob Vanderhyden for 30 shillings a year. This was the year the Wilson brothers began E & S Wilson, which was the Wilson brothers’ introduction to the profitable meat business. Their slaughterhouse was located between Adams (now Congress) Street and Jefferson Street. The brothers took advantage of their prime location and built a dock at the foot of what is now Ferry Street. Having such access to the Hudson River enabled E & S Wilson to prosper.

Sam Wilson not only was a pioneer of Troy, he was active in the community, as well as an employee of the city. On April 12, 1808, he took an oath as Office Assessor. Four days later he took an Oath of Office as Path Master (now more commonly known as road commissioner).

War of 1812

Samuel Wilson’s career role during the War of 1812 is what he is most noted for today. The demand for a supply of meat for the troops had significantly increased. E & S Wilson’s location and dock made the business ready and ideal. Secretary of War William Eustis made a contract with Elbert Anderson Jr. of New York City to supply and issue all rations necessary for the United States forces in New York and New Jersey for one year. Anderson ran an advertisement on October 6, 13, and 20 looking to fill the contract. E & S Wilson secured the contract for 2,000 barrels of pork and 3,000 barrels of beef for one year. The business held a staff of 200 men during this period. Samuel Wilson was appointed meat inspector for the Northern Army. His duties included checking the freshness of meat and assuring that it was properly packaged and that the barrels were according to specification. Each barrel was required to be labeled. Each barrel was marked “E.A.-U.S.” This marking indicated Elbert Anderson, United States. The great majority of E & S Wilson’s meat was shipped close by to a camp of 6,000 soldiers in Greenbush, New York. Many soldiers stationed in Greenbush were locals of Troy. They knew of or were acquainted with Sam Wilson and his nickname Uncle Sam, as well as his meat packing business. These soldiers recognized the barrels being from Troy and made an association between the "U.S." stamp and Uncle Sam. Over time, it is believed, anything marked with the same initials, as much Army property was, also became linked with his name.

Historical legacy

Samuel Wilson died July 31, 1854 at the age of 87. He was originally buried in Mt. Ida Cemetery, but later transferred to Oakwood Cemetery in Troy. Monuments mark his birthplace in Arlington, Massachusetts, and site of burial in Troy, New York. Another sign marks "The boyhood home of Sam" outside his second home in Mason, N.H. The first use of the term in literature is seen in an 1816 allegorical book, The Adventures of Uncle Sam in Search After His Lost Honor by Frederick Augustus Fidfaddy, Esq., also in reference to the aforementioned Samuel Wilson.[citation needed] The 87th United States Congress adopted the following resolution on September 15, 1961: "Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives that the Congress salutes Uncle Sam Wilson of Troy, New York, as the progenitor of America's National symbol of Uncle Sam."

However, an Uncle Sam is mentioned as early as 1775 in the original "Yankee Doodle" lyrics of the Revolutionary War.  It is not clear whether this reference is to Uncle Sam as a metaphor for the United States. The lyrics as a whole clearly deride the military efforts of the young nation, besieging the British at Boston. This is the 13th stanza:

Old Uncle Sam come then to change / Some pancakes and some onions, / For 'lasses cakes, to carry home / To give his wife and young ones.

Yankee Doodle

"Yankee Doodle"

Yankee Doodle.JPG

The first verse and refrain of Yankee Doodle, engraved on the footpath in a park.




36 Yankee Doodle.png

 Yankee Doodle Variations  Performed by Carrie Rehkopf    Choral version by United States Army Chorus

"Yankee Doodle" is a well-known American song, the early versions of which date to before the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution (1775–83). It is often sung patriotically in the United States today and is the state anthem of Connecticut. Its Roud Folk Song Index number is 4501. The melody is thought to be much older than both the lyrics and the subject, going back to folk songs of Medieval Europe.

Origin  The tune of Yankee Doodle is thought to be much older than the lyrics, being well known across western Europe, including England, France, Holland, Hungary, and Spain.[3] The earliest words of "Yankee Doodle" came from a Middle Dutch harvest song which is thought to have followed the same tune, possibly dating back as far as 15th-century Holland.[5][6] It contained mostly nonsensical words in English and Dutch: "Yanker, didel, doodle down, Diddle, dudel, lanther, Yanke viver, voover vown, Botermilk und tanther." Farm laborers in Holland were paid "as much buttermilk (Botermilk) as they could drink, and a tenth (tanther) of the grain".

The term Doodle first appeared in English in the early seventeenth century and is thought to be derived from the Low German dudel, meaning "playing music badly", or Dödel, meaning "fool" or "simpleton". The Macaroni wig was an extreme fashion in the 1770s and became slang for being a fop Dandies were men who placed particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisure hobbies. A self-made dandy was a British middle-class man who impersonated an aristocratic lifestyle. They notably wore silk strip cloth, stuck feathers in their hats, and carried two pocket watches with chains—"one to tell what time it was and the other to tell what time it was not".

"The Macaroni. A real Character at the late Masquerade", mezzotint by Philip Dawe, 1773

The macaroni wig was an example of such Rococo dandy fashion, popular in elite circles in Western Europe and much mocked in the London press. The term macaroni was used to describe a fashionable man who dressed and spoke in an outlandishly affected and effeminate manner. The term pejoratively referred to a man who "exceeded the ordinary bounds of fashion" in terms of clothes, fastidious eating, and gambling.

In British conversation, the term "Yankee doodle dandy" implied unsophisticated misappropriation of high-class fashion, as though simply sticking a feather in one's cap would make one to be noble.  Peter McNeil, professor of fashion studies, claims that the British were insinuating that the colonists were low-class men lacking masculinity, emphasizing that the American men were womanly.

Early versions

Tradition places its origin in a pre-Revolutionary War song originally sung by British military officers to mock the disheveled, disorganized colonial "Yankees" with whom they served in the French and Indian War. It was apparently written around 1755 by British Army surgeon Dr. Richard Shuckburgh while campaigning in upper New York,[13] and the British troops sang it to make fun of their stereotype of the American soldier as a Yankee simpleton who thought that he was stylish if he simply stuck a feather in his cap.

It was also popular among the Americans as a song of defiance, and they added additional verses to that mocked the British troops and hailed George Washington as the Commander of the Continental army. By 1781, Yankee Doodle had turned from being an insult to being a song of national pride.

One version of the Yankee Doodle lyrics is generally attributed to Dr. Shuckburgh.  According to one story, he wrote the song after seeing the appearance of Colonial troops under Colonel Thomas Fitch, the son of Connecticut Governor Thomas Fitch.  According to Etymology Online, "The current version seems to have been written in 1776 by Edward Bangs, a Harvard sophomore who also was a Minuteman."[17]

A bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on July 25, 1999  recognizing Billerica, Massachusetts as "America's Yankee Doodle Town". After the Battle of Lexington and Concord, a Boston newspaper reported:

Upon their return to Boston [pursued by the Minutemen], one [Briton] asked his brother officer how he liked the tune now, — "Dang them", returned he, "they made us dance it till we were tired" — since which Yankee Doodle sounds less sweet to their ears.

The earliest known version of the lyrics comes from 1755 or 1758, as the date of origin is disputed:

Brother Ephraim sold his Cow
bought him a Commission;
And then he went to Canada
To fight for the Nation;

But when E
phraim he came home
He proved an arrant Coward,
He wouldn't fight the Frenchmen there
For fear of being devoured.

The sheet music which accompanies these lyrics reads, "The Words to be Sung through the Nose, & in the West Country drawl & dialect." The tune also appeared in 1762 in one of America's first comic operas The Disappointment, with bawdy lyrics about the search for Blackbeard's buried treasure by a team from Philadelphia.  An alternate verse that the British are said to have marched to is attributed to an incident involving Thomas Ditson of Billerica, Massachusetts.  British soldiers tarred and feathered Ditson because he attempted to buy a musket in Boston in March 1775; he evidently secured one eventually, because he fought at Concord. For this reason, the town of Billerica is called the home of Yankee Doodle:

Yankee Doodle came to town,
For to buy a firelock,
We will tar and feather him,
And so we will
John Hancock.

Another pro-British set of lyrics believed to have used the tune was published in June 1775 following the Battle of Bunker Hill:

The seventeen of June, at Break of Day,
The Rebels they supriz'd us,
With their strong Works, which they'd thrown up,
To burn the Town and drive us.

There is another version attributed to Edward Bangs, a student at Harvard College who wrote a ballad with 15 verses which circulated in Boston and surrounding towns in 1775 or 1776.  Yankee Doodle was also played at the British surrender at Saratoga in 1777.

A variant is preserved in the 1810 edition of Gammer Gurton's Garland: Or, The Nursery Parnassus, collected by Francis Douce:

Yankey Doodle came to town,
How do you think they serv'd him?
One took his bag, another his scrip,
The quicker for to starve him.

Full version

The Spirit of '76 (aka Yankee Doodle)

Sprit of '76.2.jpeg


Archibald MacNeal Willard


circa 1875




61 cm × 45 cm (24 in × 18 in)


United States Department of State

The full version of the song, as it is known today, goes:

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it


Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

Father and I went down to camp,
Along with Captain Gooding,
And there we saw the men and boys
As thick as
hasty pudding.


And there we saw a thousand men
As rich as Squire David,
And what they wasted every day,
I wish it could be savèd.


'lasses they eat every day,
Would keep a house a winter;
They have so much, that I'll be bound,
They eat it when they've a mind to.


And there I see a swamping gun
Large as a log of maple,
Upon a deuced little cart,
A load for father's cattle.


And every time they shoot it off,
It takes a horn of powder,
And makes a noise like father's gun,
Only a nation louder.


I went as nigh to one myself
As 'Siah's underpinning;
And father went as nigh again,
I thought the deuce was in him.


Cousin Simon grew so bold,
I thought he would have cocked it;
It scared me so I shrinked it off
And hung by father's pocket.


And Cap'n Davis had a gun,
He kind of clapt his hand on't
And stuck a crooked stabbing iron
Upon the little end on't


And there I see a pumpkin shell
As big as mother's basin,
And every time they touched it off
They scampered like the nation.


I see a little barrel too,
The heads were made of leather;
They knocked on it with little clubs
And called the folks together.


And there was Cap'n
And gentle folks about him;
They say he's grown so 'tarnal proud
He will not ride without 'em.


He got him on his meeting clothes,
Upon a slapping stallion;
He sat the world along in rows,
In hundreds and in millions.


The flaming ribbons in his hat,
They looked so tearing fine, ah,
I wanted dreadfully to get
To give to my Jemima.


I see another snarl of men
A-digging graves, they told me,
So 'tarnal long, so 'tarnal deep,
They 'tended they should hold me.


It scared me so, I hooked it off,
Nor stopped, as I remember,
Nor turned about till I got home,
Locked up in mother's chamber.


See also

bullet Yankee Doodle Dandy
bullet The Yankee Doodle Boy

Popular culture

bullet President John F. Kennedy bought a pony for his daughter Caroline while he was in the White House. The family named it "Macaroni" after the song "Yankee Doodle," although the song applies the name to the feathered cap rather than the pony.
bulletThe Voice of America begins and ends all broadcasts with the interval signal of "Yankee Doodle".

Voice of America Radio signs off with Yankee Doodle   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3d3BDF1phE.  The Voice of America begins and ends its broadcasts with the interval signal of Yankee Doodle. Yankee Doodle is a song of American pride and patriotism to be sung as such, but considering its history, with a little tongue in cheek in the tune.

"Mind the Music and the Step-"-Yankee Doodle Sings History

by Kathy Warnes

Yankee Doodle, keep it up,

Yankee Doodle, Dandy…”

 The story of how Yankee Doodle has “kept it up” for centures and gained a musical foothold in American music history has as many versions as the song itself. Some accounts say that Yankee Doodle originates in the English Civil Wars, and other accounts say that it started its historic journey in Irish, Dutch, Hessian, Hungarian, and Pyrenean folk tunes.

Yankee Doodle Encounters the French

Yankee Doodle crossed the Atlantic Ocean lodged in the minds, hearts, and musical memories of immigrants to the New World and propelled by human nature, it reincarnated as a satirical war song during the Seven Years’ War. One version of the Yankee Doodle story originated in the early part of June 1755, when British and Colonial American forces were gathering at Albany, New York, under Governor William Shirley preparing to attack the French forces at Fort Niagara and Fort Frontenac. 

The well dressed, well drilled, and to many military minds, overly red coated British forces looked askance down their well prepared noses at the free spirited American soldiers who gathered at the left wing of the British Army to help them fight the French. Americans preferred individual preferences instead of regulation uniforms, their choices ranging from flowing wigs to close cropped hair and clothing in similar disarray. This how the original Yankee Doodle might have been sung:

" Brother Ephraim sold his Cow
And bought him a Commission;
And then he went to Canada
To fight for the Nation;

But when Ephraim he came home
He proved an arrant Coward,
He wouldn't fight the Frenchmen there
For fear of being devour'd."

Yankee Doodle as a British Joke
A British surgeon and musician named Richard Schackburg decided to play a joke on the rag tag Americans. He told them that he had written the words to accompany a respected tune that the British Army had traditionally used. He introduced them to Yankee Doodle and even though Yankee Doodle may have been intended as a joke at their expense, the rag tag Americans seriously adopted the tune and words as their own.

Dr. Schackburg’s first verse:
“Yankee Doodle came to town,
A riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it Macroni…”

The good doctor’s words were meant to make fun of the Americans. The British called the Americans Yankees as their insulting name for New Englanders and later expanded to all English colonists, and doodle meant a ‘foolish person.”  Sticking a feather in a Yankee hat and calling it macaroni meant that Americans improvised and thought feathers could replace the English wig or hairstyle called macaroni. Another version of the story has it that macaroni meant a fancy or dandy style of Italian dress popular in England at the time. When the American Yankee Doodle stuck at feather in his cap and called it macaroni, he proclaimed himself to be a gentleman of social standing.

 Yankee Doodle’s original words were set to Lydia Fisher’s Jig and it went: Lucy Locket lost her pocket, Kitty Fisher found it; Nothing in it, nothing on it, But the binding ‘round it.”

 Yankee Doodle Takes Both Side in the American Revolution

The rag tag “Yankee Doodle” Americans helped the British drive the French out of British North America and the ever resourceful Americans turned the song against the British when as tradition says, Yankee colonists sang it as on April 19, 1775, they pushed the British back to Boston.

They sang:

"Father and I went down to camp,
along with Captain Gooding,
And there we see the men and boys
as thick as hasty pudding."

 Not to be out sung, troops under British General Hugh Percy played “Yankee Doodle” as they left Boston and marched to reinforce the British soldiers fighting the Americans at Lexington and Concord. As the Revolutionary War progressed, so did the verses to Yankee Doodle. Another verse marked General George Washington taking command of the Continental Army.

"And there was Captain Washington,
And gentlefolks about him,
They say he's grown so tarnal proud,
He will not ride without ’em."

Another Yankee Doodle tradition holds that the British often marched to a version of the song about Thomas Ditson of Billerica, Massachusetts. In March 1775, the story goes that Thomas was tarred and feathered for trying to buy a musket in Boston, but he did fight later at Concord.

"Yankee Doodle came to town,

For to buy a firelock,

We will tar and feather him,

And so we will John Hancock."

Based on the story of Thomas Ditson, the town of Billerica, Massachusetts and the Billerica Colonial Minute Men claim that the tar and feathering of Thomas Ditson marked the point that Americans made Yankee Doodle their own song and tossed the American version of the song back to the British. By 1777, Americans had adopted Yankee Doodle as their unofficial anthem, and tradition has it that American bands played Yankee Doodle at General John Burgoyne’s surrendered at Saratoga.

By the time that Lord Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown to end the Revolutionary War in 1781, Yankee Doodle had become popular enough to be played along with the “World Turned Upside Down.” Yankee Doodle had transformed from an insult to a patriotic song and it became the unofficial national anthem of the United States of America.

Play Yankee Doodle for Me

After the Revolutionary War, Yankee Doodle continued to appear in stage plays, music and opera. A Boston Writer supposedly discovered the elements of Yankee Doodle in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Beethoven’s Fantasia, Haydn’s Surprise Symphony, a song by Adolphe Adam, and a psalm by Marcello. 

On July 24, 1851, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the United States portion of the Industrial Exhibition which was being held in Hyde Park, London from May 1 to October 115, 1851.  A Mr. Prissons from New York had a large double grand piano and when he heard that the Queen and Prince Albert were coming to the American section, he secured four performers and had them all waiting. As Queen Victoria and Prince Albert came down the aisle, Mr. Prissons gave the signal and the four pianists played Yankee Doodle together. The Queen leaned on the arm of her Prince and they both listened and clapped enthusiastically. Mr. Prissons, seizing on the opportunity, when the pianists were finished played a Yankee Doodle encore himself and received a standing ovation. At this point in time, Yankee Doodle marked a meeting of American and British minds.

Yankee Doodle Plays in More Wars

During the Civil War, Confederates sang lyrics mocking the North, and Union Democrats sang lyrics mocking the South. Here is a verse from one of the Confederate Yankee Doodle versions.

Confederate Yankee Doodle

"Yankee Doodle had a mind
To whip the Southern "traitors,"
Because they didn't choose to live
On codfish and potatoes.
Yankee Doodle, doodle-doo,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
And so to keep his courage up
He took a drink of brandy.
Yankee Doodle, doodle-doo,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
And then he took another drink
Of gunpowder and brandy."

Yankee Doodle became as identified with the North as Northern Dan Emmet’s new song Dixie land symbolized the South. The two songs are often performed together with great flourishes and they were performed this way often during the ragtime craze of the 1890s. A new war, the Spanish American War and a new version of Yankee Doodle appeared  briefly in 1898. The Spanish American War was called Yankee Dewey. Here is the first verse:

Yankee Dewey
 "Yankee Dewey went to sea,
Sailing on a cruiser,
He took along for company,
Of men and guns a few sir!
Yankee Dewey, Ha! Ha! Ha!
Dewey you’re a dandy.
With men and guns and cruisers too,
You’re certainly quite handy!"

Yankee Doodle, Still Stepping Along

In 1904, George M. Cohan resurrected Yankee Doodle one more time in his stage musical Little Johnny Jones and yet once again in 1942, Yankee Doodle took a starring song role in the biography of George M. Cohan called Yankee Doodle Dandy.  Roger Ramjet, a 1960s children’s show uses the Yankee Doodle tune for its theme song and so does the children’s show Barney & Friends. Yankee Doodle is the Connecticut State Song.


Unfortunately we are getting a new Supreme Court Judge.  We need to smile more.  See Johanathan Winters, Robin Williams, and Johnny Carson  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NqEKvk9F4I  See First Episode.


Greg Knopp out West in Sept 2018   www.facebook.com/greg.knopp/posts/2435099339892074

Whitney Family

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