Seeing Nellie Home
DESCRIPTION: "In the sky the bright stars glittered; On the bank the pale moon shone. It was from Aunt Dinah's quilting party I was seeing Nellie home." The singer professes his love for Nellie on the way. Evidently they get married, because they are now old together
AUTHOR: Words: F. Kyle / Music: John Fletcher
EARLIEST DATE: 1856 (sheet music published by J. S. Paine of Portland, Maine)
KEYWORDS: love courting age party
FOUND IN: US(MW,SE)
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Dean-FlyingCloud, p. 79, "Seeing Nellie Home" (1 text)
Jackson-PopularSongsOfNineteenthCenturyAmerica, pp. 229-232, "When I Saw Sweet Nellie Home" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 289, "Seeing Nelly Home" (1 text)
Heart-Songs, p. 403, "The Quilting Party" (1 text, 1 tune)
Jolly-Miller-Songster-5thEd, #144, "The Quilting Party" (1 text)
Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, #2570, p. 174, "When I Saw Sweet Nellie Home" (2 references)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 254, "Seing Nellie Home (Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party)" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Henry Randall Waite, _College Songs: A Collection of New and Popular Songs of the American Colleges_, new and enlarged edition, Oliver Ditson & Co., 1887, p. 72, "The Quilting Party" (1 text, 1 tune) (p. 23 of part III in the 1876 edition)
John Burke, _Burke's Christmas Songster 1920_, self-published, 1918 (PDF available on the Memorial University of Newfoundland site), p. 6, "When I Saw Sweet Nellie Home" (1 text)
ST RJ19229 (Full)
Floyd County Ramblers, "Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party" (Victor V-40331, 1930; Bluebird B-5107/Electra-Disc 2021/Sunrise S-3190, 1933)
Haydn Quartet, "Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party" (Victor 2456, 1903)
Lester McFarland & Robert Gardner, "Seeing Nellie Home" (Brunswick 199, 1928; rec. 1927)
Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party
NOTES [175 words]: The early history of this song is slightly confused. It first appeared in 1856, but evidently in an unauthorized edition perhaps taken from a minstrel troupe performance.
In 1859 the composer, John Fletcher, issued an official edition (published by William A. Pond) -- complete with complaints about the previous editions. Yet in this text Nelly was not brought home from "Aunt Dinah's quilting party" but "from an august evening party." Jackson thinks this an error; it strikes me as possible that this was a deliberate change intended to differentiate the editions. Even stranger, the cover of the 1859 edition calls the girl "Nellie," but inside she is "Nelly." One can only suppose that neither she nor her swain could read too well.
Even the name of the author varies; the 1856 edition calls her(?) Frances Kyle; the 1859 edition omits the name; in 1884 the name is given variously as Frances and Francis.
Another early edition, listed on p. 174 of Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, says the song was "As sung by Charles Melville" but lists no author. - RBW
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