“Samuel Young”


Samuel Young, of Kentucky, is courting a girl against the wishes of her father; he arranges to have him sent to the Mexican War. He gets as far as Monterey when he takes sick and dies


The theme of the father having his daughter's unwelcome suitor sent away, pressed into the army, etc., is of course common, but this is one of the few songs in which she doesn't follow him, and he does not return to claim the daughter/fight the father. It doesn't seem to overlap other songs, and I'd guess it was composed by a friend or relative of the fallen soldier. The part of North Carolina where the song was collected is not far from Kentucky. - PJS

The song is definitely curious, since the Mexican War did not involve a military draft. Perhaps the father demanded that the young man join the army as a condition for marrying his daughter?

Given the appalling sanitary conditions in armies of this period, it's no surprise that he died of disease.

I strongly suspect the song is modeled on something else. The words make me think of "The Suffolk Miracle," though the tune is close to "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie."

The song is item dA34 in Laws's Appendix II. - RBW


  1. SharpAp 192, "Samuel Young" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. BI, ShAp2192


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1918 (Cecil Sharp collection)
Found in: US(SE)