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Arkansas State Flag Arkansas

The Arkansas State Historical Song

The Arkansas Traveler
Lyrics by the Arkansas State Song Selection Committee, 1949
Music by Colonel Sanford (Sandy) Faulkner, about 1850

   On a lonely road quite long ago,
   A trav'ler trod with fiddle and a bow;
   While rambling thru the country rich and grand,
   He quickly sensed the magic and the beauty of the land.

   Chorus
   For the wonder state we'll sing a song,
   And lift our voices loud and long.
   For the wonder state we'll shout hurrah!
   And praise the opportunities we find in Arkansas.

   Many years have passed, the trav'lers gay,
   Repeat the tune along the highway;
   And every voice that sings the glad refrain
   Re-echoes from the mountains to the fields of growing grain.

   Repeat Chorus
"Though it served as the Official State Song of Arkansas from 1945 or 1949 to 1963, "The Arkansas Traveler" was adopted by the 1987 General Assembly as the Official State Historical Song with House Concurrent Resolution No. 1007 (HCR1007).

Originally spelled "The Arkansaw Traveler," the melody is almost universally attributed to Colonel Sanford C. Faulkner (1803-1874), a wealthy planter from Chicot County Arkansas. (In 1873, an Arkansas county would be named after the Colonel.) The story begins when an Arkansas traveler comes opon a squatter sitting on his porch fiddling away at the same melody over and over and over again. You'll find links to two versions of the story below.

There were some Arkansans who thought the story hurt the reputation of Arkansas by its portrayal of the squatter. Others responded that it was simply a bit of broad humor and "Instead of injuring Arkansas,it has carried that name to the remotest parts of the earth, and has exploited a type of easy-going citizens common to all localites the world over."

Source: Arkansas Secretary of State,(http://www.sosweb.state.ar.us/educational_activity_book.html), September 22, 2004
Source: Powers and Makers of Arkansas,Clearfield Press, Little Rock, AR

Additional Information:
Little Rock Convention & Vistors Bureau - Legend of the Arkansas Traveler
American Folklore - Arkansas Traveler, retold by S.E. Schlosser
AudioArkansas Secretary of State - MIDI 24K WAV 486K
The Internet Library - Early Recording of "Arkansas Traveler," Don Richardson
NETSTATE: All Arkansas Songs




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