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Songs of the Great Lakes

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Songs of the Great Lakes

Posted: 1329706516000
Classification: Biography
Charlevoix, Michgan, July 20, 1932
Sam Rose (AKA Capt. S.M. ROSE, my g gf) was in his barbershop by a bridge over the channels, and is about seventy-nine (sic - in 1932 Sam would have been age 70). His father was lost in the Civil War, and his mother married a Lakes sailor and she went as cook, and he as a "boy" at age nine. He was a mate for his stepfather at sixteen and continued sailing for more than fifty years. He carried lumber from Muskegon and nearby ports to Chicago and later from more distant ports. He heard much singing among sailors: "Skillagalee" and "Wobble Shanks", "It Was in the Year 1801", "Louis Sands", "Fair Fanny Moore", "Foreman Young Monroe", "Law and Danforth", "The Lady of the Lakes", "Annie M. Peterson". They had two Swedes in their crew for several years who sang sailor songs in broken English a great deal. Rose could not recall words of any of their songs. "I've been barbering for the last twenty years, and haven't thought of any of those old songs all that time. I used to like hearing them."

From Songquest: the Journals of Great Lakes folklorist Ivan H. Walton
By Ivan Walton, Joe Grimm

Note: Captain Simon Mason ROSE was born in Casco Twp, Allegan County Michigan in 1862 to Mason ROSE and Sibble REED. His father died in the final days of the Civil War in Chattanooga. His mother remarried in 1867 to James A. DIXON. If he was a sailor, I am unaware of it. He was listed as a farmer in the 1870 census. If there was a subsequent marriage, I am not aware of it. Who was Sam's step-father who taught him to pilot on the Great Lakes?

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