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“Wait for the Wagon”

Pa was whistling, and when Sam and David started he began to sing… — On the Banks of Plum Creek, Chapter 24, “Going to Church”

Wait for the Wagon was written by R. Bishop Buckley and George P. Knauff. It was written prior to 1851, when it was first published in Baltimore, Maryland. Buckley was a member of “Buckley’s Serenaders,” a popular minstrel group founded by his father, James Buckley. “Wait for the Wagon” was popular by both Union and Confederate troops, the lively melody sparking many variations, including the Southern parody called “The Southern Wagon”.

R. Bishop Buckley (1810-1867) came to America from England in 1839 with his father and two brothers (George and Frederick). Although British, the family became a noted American minstrel group, first as the “Congo Melodists” and then as “Buckley’s Serenaders”. The Buckleys spent time touring in both America and Europe.

George Knauff taught music at a ladies’ finishing school in Virginia. In 1839 he published Virginia Reels, a multi-volume sheet-music compendium of fiddle tunes originally published by G. Willig in Baltimore.


1. Will you come with me my Phyllis, dear, to yon blue mountain free,
Where the blossoms smell the sweetest, come rove along with me.
It’s every Sunday morning when I am by your side,
We’ll jump into the wagon, and all take a ride.

[chorus] Wait for the wagon, wait for the wagon,
Wait for the wagon and we’ll all take a ride.

2. Where the river runs like silver and the birds they sing so sweet,
I have a cabin, Phyllis, and something good to eat.
Come listen to my story, it will relieve your heart,
So jump into the wagon and off we will start.

3. Do you believe my Phyllis, dear, old Mike with all his wealth,
Can make you half so happy as I with youth and health?
We’ll have a little farm, a horse, a pig and cow,
And you will mind the dairy while I will guide the plow.

4. Your lips are red as poppies, your hair so slick and neat,
All braided up with dahlias and hollyhocks so sweet.
It’s every Sunday morning when I am by your side,
We’ll jump into the wagon and all take a ride.

5. Together on life’s journey, we’ll travel till we stop,
And if we have no trouble, we’ll reach the happy top.
Then come with me sweet Phyllis, my dear, my lovely bride,
We’ll jump into the wagon and all take a ride.

(from On the Banks of Plum Creek)

Oh, every Sunday morning
My wife is by my side
A-waiting for the wagon,
And we’ll all take a ride!

CLICK HERE to listen.



Click on the above images to view a copy of original sheet music for “Wait for the Wagon.”    


“Wait for the Wagon” (BPC 24)
     “Oh, every Sunday morning my wife is by my side”