Official Arkansas State Songs
Way back in 1916, Arkansas had no official state songs. Today, the state has four. Officially, there are two state songs, one state anthem and one state historical song. The status of Arkansas' state songs was clarified in 1987 and is documented in the Arkansas Code (Title 1, Chapter 4). The law also directs the Secretary of State to furnish copies of the State Anthem, "Arkansas," by Mrs. Eva Ware Barnett when requests are made for a copy of the Arkansas State Song.
"Arkansas" was published by the Central Music Company in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1916 by Eva Ware Barnett and Will M. Ramsey. It became the first song designated as the Official State Song of Arkansas when the Arkansas General Assembly adopted it by Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 6 on January 12, 1917.
"Arkansas" remained as the Official State Song until 1945 or 1949 when a copyright dispute regarding "Arkansas" led to the formation of a State Song Commission that began to look into designating a different song as Arkansas' Official State Song. It was at that point that Colonel Sanford (Sandy) C. Faulkner's dialogue and fiddle tune "The Arkansas Traveler" was considered and adopted as the Official State Song of Arkansas by the General Assembly. "The Arkansas Traveler" served as the Official State Song until 1963.
According to the content of House Concurrent Resolution No. 1007 (HCR1007), the copyright dispute with "Arkansas" was resolved and "Arkansas" was restored as the Official State Song by House Concurrent Resolution No. 16 in 1963. "Arkansas" remained the Official State Song until 1987, when its designation was changed from Official State Song to Official State Anthem by House Concurrent Resolution No. 1003 (HCR1003). The song copyright was turned over to the state and, today, "Arkansas" by Mrs. Eva Ware Barnett is the Official State Anthem of Arkansas.
The Arkansas Traveler
As mentioned above, "The Arkansas Traveler" was adopted as the Official State Song of Arkansas after a copyright dispute over "Arkansas" broke out. "The Arkansas Traveler" became the Official State Song somewhere around 1945 to 1949. Some confusion over the date stems from a paragraph in House Concurrent Resolution No. 1007.
WHEREAS, the song "Arkansas" was designated the Official State Song in 1917, and was continued as the State Song until 1949, at which time a copyright dispute led to the creation of a State Song Commission, which recomposed the dialogue of "The Arkansas Traveler" tune into a song that was adopted by resolution of the General Assembly from 1945 to 1963 as the Official State Song, but was replaced by the song "Arkansas" in 1963 when the copyright issue was resolved; and
This paragraph seems to indicate that "The Arkansas Traveler" was designated as the Official State Song (1945) before the State Song Commission recomposed the dialogue (1949). This much seems clear; "The Arkansas Traveler" served as the Official State Song of Arkansas from some time in the mid to late forties until 1963.
The story of the Arkansas traveler goes back to the 1800s and begins when an Arkansas traveler comes upon a squatter sitting on his porch fiddling away at the same melody over and over and over again. The squatter just fiddles away and just can't seem to remember the end of the tune.
Historians generally agree that the story (narrated, not sung) and the melody were composed by Colonel Sanford (Sandy) C. Faulkner(1803-1874), a wealthy planter from Chicot County Arkansas. It's thought that the inspiration for Faulkner's "The Arkansaw Traveler" came from a conversation with a woodsman in 1840. In 1873, an Arkansas county would be named after the illustrious Colonel.
When the Arkansas State Song Commission chose to make "The Arkansas Traveler" the Official State Song, they spent some time reworking the words to the story. The words of "The Arkansas Traveler" adopted as the Official State Song were crafted by this committee.
In 1987, "The Arkansas Traveler" was declared the Official State Historical Song by House Concurrent Resolution No. 1007 (HCR1007).
"Oh, Arkansas" was declared an Official State Song of Arkansas in 1987.
Arkansas (You Run Deep In Me)
"Arkansas (You Run Deep In Me)" was declared an Official State Song of Arkansas in House Concurrent Resolution No. 1003 (HCR1003).
Source: Arkansas Secretary of State,(http://www.sosweb.state.ar.us/educational_activity_book.html), September 22, 2004
Source: Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau,(http://www.littlerock.com/media/legend.asp), September 23, 2004
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle, The H.W. Wilson Company, New York, 1938
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