“Olban (Alban) or The White Captive”


A young woman (Amanda) has been taken captive by Indians. She is about to be subjected to torture or death when one of the tribe (the chief, young Albion?) rescues her and brings her home, (asking no reward but his food)


Several scholars have sought for the events which lie behind this ballad. One even connected it with a story by James Fennimore Cooper! Given that all the accounts disagree, and that the Cooper story ("Wish-Ton-Wish") was not published until 1832, each must probably be taken with a grain of salt. - RBW

In Ford's version, Olban (called "Alvin") asks for food for his people rather than himself. - PJS

Cross references


  • Warde Ford, "Lamanda" (AFS 4203 B1, 1938; tr.; in AMMEM/Cowell)


  1. Laws H15, "Olban (Alban) or The White Captive"
  2. Randolph 674, "Her White Bosom Bare" (2 texts)
  3. McNeil-SFB1, pp. 160-163, "Young Alban and Amandy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. DT 761, WHTCAPTV
  5. Roud #657
  6. BI, LH15


Author: Rev. Thomas C. Upham
Earliest date: 1818 (The "Columbia Sentinel" of Boston)
Keywords: Indians(Am.) rescue
Found in: US(NE,SE,So,Ro)