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“Uncle Sam’s Farm”

And all the afternoon, while Pa kept driving onward, he was merrily whistling or singing… Even baby Grace joined in the chorus, though she did not bother to follow the tune… — By the Shores of Silver Lake, Chapter 7, “The West Begins”

Uncle Sam’s Farm – the song “dedicated to all creation” – was written in 1848 by Jesse Hutchinson, Jr., to be sung to the tune “Walk into the Parlor, Boys, and Hear the Banjo Play.” His brother Judson composed a slightly different melody, to which “Uncle Sam’s Farm” became well-known. The music was published in 1850 by George P. Reed of Boston.

New Englander Jesse Hutchinson, Jr. (1813-1853) apprenticed as a newspaperman in New Hampshire at a time when anti-slavery and women’s rights groups were making their voices be heard. Jesse Hutchinson was a brilliant lyricist, using his words to both entertain and inform about subjects which weren’t often well-received. In the early 1840s, the Hutchinson Family (Jesse and his brothers) used their musical voices to support the anti-slavery cause, and the quartet became popular performers in both America and Europe. A decade later, Jesse had severed his relationship with the family singers and formed a rival group. When this group started to break apart, Jesse planned to return to his family, but died before this became a reality.

Although “Uncle Sam’s Farm” is used in By the Shores of Silver Lake in reference to Pa’s quest for free land under the Homestead Act of 1862, it’s interesting to note that the song had been written fourteen years before the availability of “free land” (the Preemption Act of 1841 allowed for the cash purchase of surveyed land).

“Uncle Sam” as a symbol meaning “United States” is believed to have started during the War of 1812. A meat packer named Sam Wilson in New Hampshire was responsible for providing large quantities of meat to the army, and someone noticing the “U.S.” brand on the meat joked that it stood for “Uncle Sam” Wilson. The suggestion that meat came from “Uncle Sam” led to the idea that “Uncle Sam” meant the federal government. Cartoons depicting the striped-suit wearing man similar to what we think of as “Uncle Sam” (later made famous by cartoonist Thomas Nast) appeared as early as 1838 in print.


1. Of all the mighty nations in the east or in the west,
O this glorious yankee nation is the greatest and the best,
We have room for all creation and out banner is unfurled,
Here’s a gen’ral invitation to the people of the world.

[chorus] Then come along, come along, make no delay;
Come from ev’ry nation, come from ev’ry way,
Our lands, they are broad enough don’t be alarm’d
For Uncle Sam is rich enough to give us all a farm.

2. St. Lawrence marks our Northern line as fast her waters flow;
And the Rio Grande our Southern bound, ‘way down in Mexico.
From the great Atlantic Ocean where the sun begins to dawn,
Leap across the Rocky mountains far away to Oregon.

3. While the South shall raise the cotton and the west the corn and pork,
New England manufactories shall do up the finer work;
For the deep and flowing waterfalls that course along our hills,
Are just the thing for washing sheep and driving cotton mills.

4. Our father’s gave us Liberty but little did they dream,
The grand results that pour along this mighty age of steam;
For our mountains, lakes, and rivers are all a blaze of fire
And we send our news by lightning on the telegraphic wires.

5. Yes! we’re bound to beat the nations for our motto’s “Go ahead”
And we’ll tell the foreign paupers that our people are well fed;
For the nations must remember that Uncle Sam is not a fool,
For the people do the voting and the children go to school.

UNCLE SAM’S FARM (from By the Shores of Silver Lake)

Oh, come to this country,
And don’t you feel alarm,
For Uncle Sam is rich enough
To give us all a farm!

Oh, come away! Come away!
Come away I say!
Oh, come away! Come away!
Come right away!
Oh, come to this country
And have no fear of harm
Our Uncle Sam is rich enough
To give us all a farm!

CLICK HERE to listen.



Click on the above images to view a copy of sheet music of “Uncle Sam’s Farm”.    


“Uncle Sam’s Farm” (LTP 8)
     “Oh, come to this country”