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Ohio State Flag Ohio

The Ohio State Song

Beautiful Ohio

words by Ballard MacDonald and music by Mary Earl
special lyrics by Wilbert B. McBride

    I sailed away;
    Wandered afar;
    Crossed the mighty restless sea;
    Looked for where I ought to be.
    Cities so grand, mountains above,
    Led to this land I love.

   CHORUS:
    Beautiful Ohio, where the golden grain
    Dwarf the lovely flowers in the summer rain.
    Cities rising high, silhouette the sky.
    Freedom is supreme in this majestic land;
    Mighty factories seem to hum in tune, so grand.
    Beautiful Ohio, thy wonders are in view,
    Land where my dreams all come true! 

Adoption of the State Song

ALTTAG
Beautiful Ohio
Courtesy Duke University

The song, "Beautiful Ohio", words by Ballard MacDonald (1882-1935) and music by Mary Earl was adopted by the Ohio Legislature as the official state song on October 14, 1969.

However, the song adopted in 1969 was not the same song that serves as the official state song today. The words have been changed. Twenty years after the song was adopted as the official state song, in 1969, a bill was introduced and passed changing the words of "Beautiful Ohio" as adopted by the state. New words were written by Youngstown, Ohio attorney, Wilbert B. McBride. This is why, above and in the statute below, "special lyrics" are attributed to Wilbert B. McBride. The original words to "Beautiful Ohio" follow:

    Long, long time ago
    Someone I know
    Had a little red canoe,
    In it room for only two.
    Love found its start
    Then in my heart,
    And like a flower grew.

   CHORUS:
    Drifting with the current down a moonlit stream,
    While above the Heavens in their glory gleam,
    And the stars on high
    Twinkle in the sky,
    Seeming in a paradise divine,
    Dreaming of a pair of eyes that looked in mine.
    Beautiful Ohio, in dreams again I see
    Visons of what used to be.

Not only are the current words to the Ohio state song different than the words to the song that was adopted in 1969, but Mary Earl is not Mary Earl. Mary Earl is a pseudonym, or pen name, for Robert A. "Bobo" King (1862-1932) of New York City. In 1918, he went to work for Shapiro-Bernstein Music Publishers under a contract to produce 4 songs per month. One of the songs he produced during that period was "Beautiful Ohio". The music for the song was adapted from a waltz of the same name.

Ohio Revised Code

The following information is excerpted from the Ohio Revised Code, General Provisions, Chapter 5, Section 9. The words are included within the statute.

    I sailed away;
    Wandered afar;
    Crossed the mighty restless sea;
    Looked for where I ought to be.
    Cities so grand, mountains above,
    Led to this land I love. 

   Chorus
    Beautiful Ohio, where the golden grain
    Dwarf the lovely flowers in the summer rain.
    Cities rising high, silhouette the sky.
    Freedom is supreme in this majestic land;
    Mighty factories seem to hum a tune, so grand.
    Beautiful Ohio, thy wonders are in view,
    Land where my dreams all come true! 

    HISTORY: 133 v H 457 (Eff 10-14-69); 143 v S 33. Eff 11-6-89.


Source: Ohio State Web Site, (http://www.state.oh.us), December 2, 2004
Source: Ohio Legislature, (http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/), December 2, 2004
Source: David Meyers, Columbus Senior Musicians Hall Of Fame, (http://seniormusicians.homestead.com/CSMHOF.html), December 5, 2004
Source: Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University, ( URL: http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/sheetmusic/), December 5, 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




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