“I Am a Pilgrim”


"I am a pilgrim and a stranger Traveling through this wearisome land, I have a home in yonder city, And it's not made, not made by hand." The singer's family has gone before; the singer hopes to be made whole


The Digital Tradition lists this as by Merle Travis. The Folksinger's Wordbook doesn't list an author. I haven't a clue -- but there are a lot of traditional lines in here. - RBW

I think the 1917 recording effectively washes out the claim of Merle Travis as sole author, although he certainly put the song into the form in which it's most commonly sung today. Sam Hinton learned a version in his childhood which is probably closer to the 1917 version than to Travis's. - PJS

Cross references


  • Imperial Quartet, "I'm a Pilgrim, I'm a Stranger" (Victor 18199, 1917)
  • Silver Leaf Quartet, "I Am A Pilgrim" (OKeh 8594/ARC 6-12-63/Vocalion 04395, 1928)


  1. Silber-FSWB, p. 353, "I Am A Pilgrim" (1 text)
  3. BI, FSWB353B


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1917 (recording, Imperial Quartet)
Keywords: religious nonballad