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Florida State Flag Florida

The Florida State Song

The Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)

words and music by Stephen C. Foster (1826-1864)

   FIRST VERSE
    Way down upon de Swanee Ribber,
    Far, far away,
    Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
    Dere's wha de old folks stay.
    All up and down de whole creation
    Sadly I roam,
    Still longing for de old plantation,
    And for de old folks at home.

   CHORUS
    All de world am sad and dreary,
    Eb-rywhere I roam;
    Oh, darkeys, *how my heart grows weary,
    Far from de old folks at home!

   SECOND VERSE
    All round de little farm I wandered
    When I was young,
    Den many happy days I squandered,
    Many de songs I sung.
    When I was playing wid my brudder
    Happy was I;
    Oh, take me to my kind old mudder!
    Dere let me live and die.

   THIRD VERSE
    One little hut among de bushes,
    One dat I love
    Still sadly to my memory rushes,
    No matter where I rove.
    When will I see de bees a-humming
    All round de comb?
    When will I hear de banjo strumming,
    Down in my good old home? 

Adoption of State Song

Old Folks at Home
Old Folks at Home
Courtesy University of Pittsbugh

Stephen Collins Foster wrote "Old Folks at Home" in 1851, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was written for E. P. Christy and his performing troupe, Christy's Minstrels. An interesting bit of trivia is that Foster referred to the Pedee River instead of the Suwannee River in an original draft of the song. "Suwannee" had to be shortened to "Swanee" to fit in with the song's rhythms.

As printed in the program for the dedication of the New Capitol on March 31, 1978, "brothers" was substituted for "darkeys" in the chorus of "Old Folks at Home." Leon and Lynn Dallin, in Heritage Songster, used "dear ones." The Dallins also eliminated all attempts at reproducing dialect.

The song, "The Swanee River (Old Folks At Home)", words and music by Stephen C. Foster, was adopted as the official state song of Florida on May 25, 1935.

House Concurrent Resolution

On May 25, 1935, the Florida Legislature, in its 25th Regular Session adopted "The Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)" as the official state song, replacing "Florida, My Florida," which had been adopted as the State Song in 1913. "Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)" was promoted as the new state song in House Concurrent Resolution No. 22, sponsored by S. P. Robineau of Miami.


Source: Florida State Web Site, (http://www.state.fl.us), November 22, 2004
Source: University of Pittsburgh, Center for American Music, (http://www.library.pitt.edu/libraries/cam/cam.html), November 22, 2004
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols by Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Copyright 2002
Source: State Songs America, Edited by M.J. Bristow, Copyright 2000
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., Copyright 1938




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