KICKING UP DUST
quit your roving around:
you've wandered and trampled
all over the ground;
oh, haze along doggies,
feed kinda slow;
and don't be forever on the go.
Contrary to what Hollywood portrayed, the cowboys didn't pick up guitars much during the
real cowboy days. If there was an instrument at all there was more likely to be a harmonica,
the fiddle, banjo, jug, or just slap their knee. Spoon playing surely originate somewhere
along this time.
Story has it that many of the first cowboy songs were sung to the cows or sung around the
campfires. The night herders sang to the lonely nights. Old Texas rancher Frank Woodard,
who still ranches in West Texas says, "Playing and singing is the best way there is to keep
the herd from stampeding at sunset when there is one of those desert storms putting elec-
tricity into the air." In the book, Cowboy, The Enduring Myth of the West, Russell Martin said,
"The cowboy lived in dread of a stampede, the "estampida," the terror driven rush of animals
that often killed men, horses and cattle alike. Cowboys sang and played mouth harps and
harmonies at night in efforts to settle the cows. Night riders on the flanks of herds sang to
cattle constantly, and if the singing stopped their distant partners would know something was
wrong. They worried so much about stampedes, they sang about them often." In his book,
Take Me Home Steven Price noted, "One way to soothe horses and cattle as people who
work with livestock well know, is with the human voice. Cowboys who rode night herd on the
open rang circled around steers and crooned lullabies such as this one:
By day, song rhythms imitated a horse's gait. the familiar, "Get Along Little Doggies" is
the waltz tempo of a three-beat lope or canter". In the Time Life Book, The Cowboy they
say, "Many cowboys ballads originated as a means of quieting stampede-pron cattle at
night. Composed impromptu by cowhands riding around the herds, the often atonal songs
took their rhythm from a horse's gait. Some had mournful tunes but no words and these
were termed "Texas lullabies."
While the cowboys were singing in the Southwest, the minstrels were traveling to the East.
From the mountains came "mountain music," and the black slave kept singing more and
more. The Native Americans were not making much music for they were fighting for their
lives. In 1838, the Cherokee Indians were being removed from East along the "Trail of
Tears," as America explores the world and further develops the central and western
areas of the country. Kansas City is founded in November of the year on a hill overlooking
a bend in the Missouri River. Two British steamers arrive at New York after the first trans-
atlantic crossings by ships powered entirely by steam.
Steam engines are now being introduced on the New York and Harlem Railroad. It's now
1939 and Abner Doubleday, who later became a major name in book publishing, created
the game we know as baseball in Cooperstown and Charles Goodyear pioneers effective
use of rubber. Same year William S. Otis of Philadelphia picked up a patent for the steam
shovel. It is said that the fur trapper era is beginning to end with the widespread use of
silk in the country. In 1840, the Wilks Expedition sights Antarctica, and man takes the first
picture of the moon. Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin is released
and a new worldwide cholera epidemic begins. The polka is introduced to the US by
Viennese ballet dancer Fanny Eissler, who introduced the dance to the Paris stage 6
The next year the first covered wagon train reached California via The Oregon Trail. Over
the next five years, P.T. Barnum opens his American Museum in New York. The Erie
Railroad rolled out its first passenger train. Dallas, Texas has its beginnings in the
Independent Republic of Texas as Irish-American trapper and Indian trader Thomas '
Fitzpatrick guides the first emigrant train bound for the Pacific through northwestern
Montana Territory. In Philadelphia entrepreneur Volney B. Palmer starts the first adver-
tising agency. During these days we are beginning to see the beginning of Burlesque,
Much of burlesque did have sexual stories and music and cladly dressed women.
Entertainment is becoming more and more part of a growing nation. In 1842 P.T.
Barnum opens his American Museum in New York and the New York Philharmonic
gives it first concert. As the first wire suspension bridge is opened to traffic in
Arirmount, Pennsylvania a wagon train with one thousand Americans are heading
west on the Oregon Trail. John J. Greenough of Washington, DC patented the
sewing machine and the typewriter patented by Worchester, Mass., by inventor
Charles Thurber, is a hand-printing "chirographer" with a cylinder that move horizontally
and contains a device for letter spacing. As the agriculture business grows in the
nation and the first commercial fertilizer sold, and John Deere produces 100 plows
and peddles them by wagon to farmers in the area of Grand Detour, IL.
The following year a big land mark in the entertainment business with the first
minstrel show in America, "The Virginia Minstrels" opened at Bowery Amphitheater
in New York City. "Old Dan Tucker" published by Dan Emmett is thought to be the
first "folk song." Much of the music of this era is described as "folk music." This
1843 "A Christmas Carol" is published. On the frontier the Oregon Trail is still being
blazed with many more people heading west. Seasoned mountain men Jim Bridger
and Louis Vasquez establish Fort Bridger on the Green River to re-supply migrants
traveling the Oregon Trail. The restored President of Mexico warns Americans
annexation of Texas will be considered an act of war. In Florida the Seminole Indians
are being removed for Florida. Guided by Kit Carson, John C. Fremont launches a
more ambitious expedition into the West, traveling from the Great Salt Lake north into
Oregon. Speaking of the Great Salt Lake, that year Joseph Smith records his reve-
lation that plural marriage should be a practice of the Mormon Church.
During the mid 1800's music was sold in sheet music and sung mostly in the homes.
Music was a big part of family life, and as families moved West, the music changed as
the experiences changed. Through the oral passing of songs the words of songs were
more adapted to the time and the location. The minstrels were becoming a bigger event
and serving as the most commercial means of performing the music of the times. Fiddle
tunes were a big part of the shows. The fundamental church called the fiddle the "devil's
instrument." The 19th century is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Age of the fiddle,"
a clear reference to the fact that most fiddles from this era were made entirely of gold.
In 1843, the fiddler Dan Emmett published, "Old Man Tucker," and old folk ballad...
In 1844 Charles Goodyear patents rubber and James K. Polk is elected President
Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, are killed by a mob at Carthage,
Illinois and Brigham Young becomes the new head of the church. Popular songs at this
time in the history of a new Nation are "Buffalo Girls" (Won't You Come Out Tonight?)"
by U.S. songwriter Cool White "The Blue Juniata" by U.S. songwriter Marion Dix Sullivan.
First telegraph message is sent and we are seeing a new technological happening be-
gan to change communication, a few years down the road this new form of communica-
tion would put an end to the Pony Express. The telegraphic Morse code developed
by Andrew Vail in 1837 will soon come into Universal use.
"The Raven", by Edgar Allan Poe, was published for the first time in the "New York
Evening Mirror" and Florida became the 27th state of the United States of America.
The French Army introduced the saxophone to its military band. The musical instrument
was the invention of Adolphe Sax of Belgium. The New York Yacht Club hosted the first
American boating regatta. and it is 1845.
1846 Buffalo Bill Cody is born. Buffalo Bill will play several huge rolls in the evolution
of the entertainment business with his Wild West Shows. This same year the U.S. and
Mexico go to war and the Mexican troops are defeated in San Diego and El Paso, San
Francisco and Los Angeles. Britain and the United States reach a compromise in the
Pacific Northwest, setting the Oregon Territory's northern border at the 49th parallel.
The first organized baseball game was played on this day. The location was Hoboken,
New Jersey. Commondore Robert F. Stockton Mormons trekked to Utah and the first
organized baseball game was played on this day. The location was Hoboken, New
Jersey. The following year the first adhesive postage stamps went on sale. Ben
Franklin graced the nickel stamp while George Washington was pictured on the ten-cent
stamp Steam powers a U.S. cotton mill for the first time at Salem, Mass. And Thomas
Alva Edison is born in Milan, Ohio in 1847.
The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ends the Mexican War, giving the United States Texas,
California, New Mexico and other territories in the southwest. Gold is discovered in
California January 24 by New Jersey prospector James Marshall. A telegraph line opens
between New York and Chicago and The Associated Press has its beginnings in the
New York News Agency formed in May 6. The popular songs "Oh! Susana!" by Pitts-
burgh songwriter Stephen Collins Foster, is sung by G.N. Christy of the Christy Minstrels.
W.G. Young of Baltimore, MD patented the ice-cream freezer and the Colt 45 has been
invented by Samuel Colt as a weapon to fight against Indians. In Europe the Roman
Republic is formed.
By 1848, the blackface minstrel shows were "the national art of the time". "Blackface
minstrelsy was the first distinctly American theatrical form...it was at the core of the rise
of the American msuci industry, and for several decades it provided the lens through which
white American saw black America.
1849 the first photograph of a U.S. President was taken by Matthew Brady in NY City.
President James Polk Abraham Lincoln of Springfield, IL applied for a patent for a
device to lift vessels over shoals by means of inflated cylinders. An event that would be
a huge mark in the history of the western growth of the nation would be the Forty-niners
heading for California's gold fields expand the network of trails across the continent, By
year's end, more than 80,000 fortune-seekers have made their way to California. The
first teleprinter circuit, New York to Philadelphia uses Royal E. House teleprinter, and
dry-cleaning is invented as the middle of the century begins.
The first steamboat on the upper Mississippi river and railway development increased
by leaps and bounds, so that by 1850 the United States led the world, with a greater
mileage than England , and France put together. The novel, "The Scarlet Letter", by
Nathaniel Hawthorne, was published for the first time. P.T. Barnum engages Swedish
coloratura Johanna Maria "Jenny" Lind, 30, for an American tour. Because of needs in
the gold mines the Bavarian-American entrepreneur Levi Strauss, 20, introduces
"bibless overalls." This year the popular song is "De Camptown Races (Gwine to Run
All Night)" by Stephen C. Foster. Jersey cows are introduced into the U.S.
With the west progression of the wagon trains and the train itself moving folks around
the nation the music that had developed in the south and the eastern U.S. began to be
carried to the frontier, along with the musical instruments that were being carried West.
The new experiences of the West was changing the words to many old folk ballads. The
railroad itself was having a dramatic transformation on the rural South, shattering the
facade of isolation and changing the hold that agriculture had on the area. The railroad
itself began to take on its own romantic fascination and in 1852 the first through train
from the East reaches Chicago and the Pennsylvania Railroad completes track age
between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic book was
published. "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" In 1853 the 1st World's Fair opens at New York in a
Crystal Palace Exposition. The next year Anthony Faas of Philadelphia, PA patents
In 1855 a train passed over the first railway suspension bridge -- at Niagara Falls, NY.
The first successful sound recording device was developed by Leon Scott de Martinville
The first edition of "Leaves of Grass", by Walt Whitman, was published in Brooklyn, NY.
The next year as the railroad continues to develop the first rail train to pass over Missis-
sippi River between Davenport, Iowa and Rock Island, IL made its journey across the
new bridge. Then the following year the tintype camera was patented by Professor
Hamilton L. Smith of Gambier, OH. The first national convention of the Republican
Party was held in Philadelphia, PA. In 1857, the first passenger elevator clears the way
for skyscrapers, the next year the first Atlantic Cable is laid.
In 1858, also in Philadelphia Hyman L. Lipman patented the writing device we call the
pencil. The shoe manufacturing machine was patented by Lyman Blake of Abington,
MA. "Cotton is king," says Sen. James Henry Hammond, and a culture that would
have its own music beginnings is being born around the cotton fields of the South. This
year the top pop song is "The Yellow Rose of Texas." The next year, 1859 the top Pop
song by minstrel Dan Emmett kicks up some dust with the song "Dixie" and this year
Charles Darwin writes On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the
Preservation of Favored Species in The Struggle for Life. On another entertainment
stage we had Tom Thumb joining P.T. Barnum's show
In 1860 the Pony Express, officially the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak
Express Co. is initiated, and riders leave St. Joseph, MO. Pop song "Old Black Joe"
Annie Oakley is born. Linclon is elected President.
Samuel Goodale of Cincinnati, OH patented the moving picture peep show machine in
1861. We are now seeing the roots of the movie business begin. Continental Telegraph-
Western Union joins wires from the east with wires from the west at Salt Lake City, com-
pleting the first transcontinental telegraph. A Western Union telegraph line opens be-
tween New York and San Francisco, and as the telegraph is connecting the country we
see "Buffalo Bill" Cody is riding on the Pony Express and rider william Campbell
carries a copy of Lincoln's first message to Congress to California. As the Civil war
begins the Gatling gun is invented by US engineer Richard Jordan Gatling and General
Lee takes over as commander of the Confederate Army
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was first published in "Atlantic Monthly in 1862. The
first railroad post office was tested on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad in Missouri.
To help pay for the Civil War, the U.S. Congress established the Bureau of Internal
Revenue and President Abraham Lincoln signs the bill. In 1863 their is the Battle of
Gettysburg and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is made. "The Boston Morning Journal"
became the first paper in the U.S. to be published on wood pulp paper and Henry Ford
is Born, a man that will change the pace of the development of the world.
The U.S. Congress mandated that all coins minted as U.S. currency bear the inscription
“In God We Trust.” The year is now 1865 and "The Hermit of the Colorado Hills" first
cowboy novel is published. President Lincoln the 16th President of the United States is
shot, beards become fashionable, and the Ku Klux Klan organized at Pulaski, Tenn..
P.T. Barnum joins Conn. Legislature C.E. Barnes of Lowell, MA patented the machine
gun. The Union Pacific Railroad that started at Omaha in 1863 reaches Kansas City.
Excelsior Needle Company of Wolcottville, Connecticut began making sewing machine
needles and Jess Chisholm blazes the Chisholm Trail. James and Frank James rob
their first bank and this year the American Civil War ends. When Broadway's so-called
first musical, The Black Crook became a massive hit in 1866, and now we are seeing
that burlesque now a huge success as a venue for entertainment in the U.S.
In 1867, P.T. Barnum formed his first traveling circus, and later came up with the idea
of the three ring circus. He thought of it in trying to design a way to get more people
under the big top to see the show. Railroad service between Minneapolis and Chicago
Alaska was purchased from Russia for two-cents an acre. Cigarettes began to appear
in the U.S.
Then from the Northern cities came the minstrels and troubadours bringing new music to
these remote areas of the country. These wandering musicians were messengers and
historians of a sort, story tellers who were documenting the times in their songs. One of
the more popular urban musical sources was the blackface-minstrel show. The banjo
and the fiddle were are big part of the music happenings. songs like "Yellow rose of
Texas," "Old Dan Tucker," "Old Zip Coon," and "Old Dan Tucker" were big favorites.
These minstrel troupes were most times northern folks.
We will see as time and history progresses, music of the present will be looking back on
the time and year just passed. As a matter of fact there are very few songs or records of
the musical history during the development of the Nineteenth Century times. As we have
said, music was in the family and it was regional. We did not have "big hits," and only a
small bit of the music was written on paper for the archives. Many of the original folk
songs were passed on, and the words changed to fit the times. During these times,
music was highly hybrid, constantly changing with the complexity of an advancing civiliza-
tion. Though society was advancing at a rapid rate, the people were separated by great
distances and few roads. And of course, music had yet to hit the air waves.
History shows that music was becoming more and more a passion in the South. Maybe
because of agriculture and the strong sense of family and culture, maybe the music of the
Blacks had a strong influence. From the mountains of Tennessee, to the plantations of
the South, to the cowboys of the Southwest...folks in the South seemed to love to kick up
some dust and shake a leg. The rural life and the commitment to tradition and cultural
values was showing to be the cradle of the nation's music.
We were also seeing a change in the music due to the fact that the Civil War was
bringing brass instruments into the mix. A kind of "concert band" was beginning to be
born. In 1868, the typewriter is patented by Christopher Sholes. Congress enacts the
8 hour work day and Legislation that ordered U.S. tax stamps to be placed on all cig-
arette packs was passed.
As the last year of the 1860s comes upon the new Nation news is now being sent via the
telegraph. A very historic event would take place this year with the Union Pacific, then
known as The Iron Horse, crosses the land and meets the Central Pacific...this trans-
continental railway meet at Promontory Utah to complete a trip across the US in 8 days.
J.W. Powell leads expedition down Colorado River and the Suez Canal is opened. The
1st plastic is patented and chewing gum was patented by William Finley Semple. Mr.
Thomas Edison of Boston, MA received a patent for his electric voting machine
History tells us that by 1870, barbed wire cut the West, and that same year General
Phillips says, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian," and the first inter-collegiate
football game is played. General Robert E. Lee dies and John D. Rockerfeller organizes
Standard Oil Company, and celluloid is patented. The next year while the Apache Indians
are being fought in the West, Grand Central Station opens in New York. The railroad is
the leading edge of the and the 1st refrigerated railroad car is used. US Weather bureau
made 1st meteorological observation using input from telegraph. Some 4 million buffalo
roam the American plains south of the Platte River (1/2 million survive 4 yrs. later)
In 1871, a former museum promoter and impresario P.T. Barnum in association with
circus entrepreneur William Coup launched their P.T. Barnum's Museum, Menagerie
and Circus. P.T. was taking PR to a new reach. He coined terms like:
"Rain or shine"
"Lets get the show on the road."
In 1872, P.T. Barnum coined the phrase "Greatest show on Earth," describing his "show."
An old cowboy song declares:
They say the heaven is a free range land
Good-bye, good-bye, O fare you well;
But it's barbed wire fence for the devil's hat band
And barbed wire blankets down in hell!
The Yellowstone National Park has been created and Dodge City, Kansas has a law
that you have to check your guns before entering the town. Zane Grey is born, and
Thomas A. Edison perfects the telegraph as he is on the edge of many many new
inventions that will change the world. In 1873 ‘Celluloid’ was registered as a trademark.
It was the wonderful invention of John Hyatt in 1869. The Gold standard is adopted and
the first train robbery in America was pulled off by Jesse James and his gang. They took
$3,000 from the Rock Island Express. Cable street cars is first used in San Francisco
and the .44 caliber rifle "The gun that won the west" is unveiled. Joseph F. Gidden's im-
proved barbed wire transforms the West and Coors Beer has its beginnings in the
Great changes are in the air as this Nation begins to reach to one hundred years old.
The sparks and inventions of Thomas A. Edison, and the acceleration of a Western
world that was forever changing mankind. As the culture changed a new music evolved.
We see music as the soul and maybe even the heart beat of our culture also evolving to
meet and reflect the times. While the rest of the world by comparison lived in The Dark
Ages, a culture was being transformed.
Vaudeville was soon to be developed as a form of entertainment. The blacks were
struggling in society and had gone on to develop Gospel music in their churches. The
black slave traveled to the North to the cities singing his songs. The minstrel shows
were getting big with a wider range of entertainment. White men dressed as black men
singing songs and playing fiddle. No doubt the fiddle was becoming an important
musical instrument and fiddle tunes were becoming standard. Fiddle contests were
held all over the country, and many fiddle styles were beginning to develop. The English
and Irish styles were evident, and in the Southwest, the Mexican, Texan and Spanish
styles were getting all mixed together, and down in Louisiana that Cajun fiddle had them
kicking up their heels.
During the years just past, Buffalo Bill Cody was setting the stage for his Wild West
Show. He was doing theater and had been experimenting with the various types of
theater. Cody went from working with his theater to being a scout, then back to theater.
During this time the Sioux Nation was at war because of the Gold Rush in their Black Hills.
The Circus and the Medicine Show was becoming another major source of entertain-
ment for the country, and 1875, the first Kentucky Derby was run. Wild Bill Hickock had
been promoting "A Buffalo Hunt Show." And it was during these years that it is said when
the rodeo had its beginning, though they were not called by that name until the turn of the
century. These races, contests, open range round-ups and Buffalo shoots with cowboys,
Indians and mountain men, were at a time when the West was a topic of interest to people
in the cities.
Alexander Graham Bell pioneers the electric telephone that will revolutionize com-
munication. The Boston Symphony has its genesis in the Boston Philharmonic Club.
In 1876, the United States is a century old.
In Montana, Custard's Last Stand is followed
by Crazy Horse surrendering and Sitting
Bull going to Canada, and Colorado is
admitted to the Union. The great cattle
drives continue to Kansas, Alexander
Graham Bell receives a patent for
ddddGraham's first telephone
The mimeograph is invented by Edison, Mark Twain publishes The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer. It seems to be a time when two worlds are existing at once...while one world is
beginning to pass into history forever, only to become a myth, and another world is be-
coming modern. By the end of the decade, public streets are under street lights and
phone calls are being made from city to city. Wire begins to cut the land and the railroad
reaches most of the settled areas of this country. Thomas Edison invents the phono-
graph for playing back stored sounds. These would be known as "talking machines."
The first recording he plays is "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
It is said that the music was first called "gospel" in 1875, when Ira Sankey and P.P.
Bliss's Gospel Hymns, was published. The word gospel is defined as the teachings of
the Christian church as originally preached by Jesus Christ and the apostles. The
"gospel" is said to be any of the first four books of the New Testament, attributed to
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The importance of gospel music was that it moved it
listeners and it contained many of the teachings of religion. So, in the early days it was
considered church music, but became more and more popular as years passed by, and
as gospel took the music to the public in more of a commercial format in the form of
hymn books and sheet music its popularity even grew more.
© 1998-2019 Benford
E. Standley. All Rights Reserved.
This can in no way be copied or distributed.
We would love your help
continuing this story...if you have any important dates or
information that helps us tell the story of the evolution of the music and
entertainment business send them to us and we will add to KICKIN' UP DUST