I am teaching a lesson about the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears and I have seen many articles about these events quote this excerpt from a song that Georgian settlers sung:

All I ask in this creation

Is a pretty little wife and a big plantation

Way up yonder in the Cherokee Nation

I'm trying to find either the complete lyrics, or better, an audio recording so students can hear the song, and better understand the unfortunate sentiments of the settlers. They didn't grasp this from the small quote. None of the articles I found listed a source, gave a name, author, or any details to help find. Does anyone know the author or title of the song?

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    Can I put in a plug for teaching one of my favorite bits of information? Chief John Ross, who led the tribe on the Trail of Tears, was by European reckoning 7/8ths Scotts-Irish and only 1/8ths Cherokee. I've seen reports he had red hair and blue eyes. "Blood" racism is a European concept that was completely foreign to Native American tribes until it was forced on them by the BIA in the 20th Century.
    – T.E.D.
    Mar 11, 2020 at 13:49
  • Also, I'm interested in the lyrical and scheme similarities between the quoted parts of this song and the song Oklahoma Hills (which was written by folk singer Woody Guthrie)
    – T.E.D.
    Mar 11, 2020 at 14:12

3 Answers 3


Googled the lyrics, found it to be a traditional song: https://lyrics.lol/artist/29747-traditional/lyrics/740784-poor-howard Searching for the title "Poor Howard" found at least one version.


I can't offer a full answer (not of the quality that would satisfy me), but the following may provide a path for further research.
Atlanta and Environs cites Marion Starkey The Cherokee Nation, 1946, page 109

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    The song also seems to be quoted in a letter dated 1851, suggesting it was still popular at that date. Mar 11, 2020 at 16:17
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    @sempaiscuba - I'd say the similarities to Oklahoma Hills by Woody Guthrie (b 1912) strongly suggest he'd at least heard it before. He was known to be an avid fan of old folk songs before he ever started writing his own.
    – T.E.D.
    Mar 12, 2020 at 13:29

Roaring River: a refrain of the red river plantation

Harpers creek and roaring ribber,[sic., etc.]

Thar, my dear, we’ll live forebber;

Den we’ll go to de Ingin nation

In S Northrup (1855) Twelve years a slave. Doesn’t appear to be whitey singing.


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