I know what you’re going to say.
“‘Over The River And Through The Woods’ is a Christmas song.”
Here’s the story.
The words to “Over The River And Through The Woods” were taken from a poem.
The poem was called “The New-England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day” and it was written by Lydia Maria Child. The original 12 verse poem was included in Ms. Child’s book, Flowers for Children, Vol. 2 and was published in 1844.
Lydia Maria Child was born on February 11, 1802 in Medford, Massachusetts. She was a prolific author, a journalist and an active antislavery and women’s rights activist. Her first novel, Hobomok: A Tale of Early Times, was published in 1824. Her last publication, Aspirations of the World, came out in 1878.
Lydia Maria Child passed away on October 20, 1880 in Wayland, Massachusetts. She was 78 years old.
No one seems to know who set the poem to music or when. One source suggests 1870 and another cites a published version of the song dated 1897. One source believes the melody to be “an old French Folk tune.” The song is generally listed as being “traditional,” or authored by “Anonymous.”
I’ve long enjoyed this song, both the words and its jaunty, infectious melody. We have home videos of past Thanksgivings with me merrily whistling the tune in the background, a soundtrack for the family craziness.
For your Thanksgiving listening pleasure, I have arranged and recorded a brand new, fingerstyle, acoustic guitar arrangement of this timeless song.
To listen, click on the blue link below… wait for it!
On behalf of everyone here at sixstr stories, I hope you have a most happy and festive Thanksgiving Day.
PS – Here’s a holiday music quiz! Can you name the other well-loved holiday song written by a songwriter who lived in Medford, MA? While you’re at it, can you name the songwriter? Click on “leave a comment” to send your answer.