Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Second Annual GALPSGC: Texas, Our Texas

Bill West at West in New England presents the Second Annual Great American Local Poem and Song Genealogy Challenge
  1. Find a poem by a local poet, famous or obscure, from the region one of your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a legend, a person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local animal. Or if you prefer, post the lyrics of a song or a link to a video of someone performing the song.
  2. Post the poem or song to your blog (remembering to cite the source where you found it.)
  3. Tell us how the subject of the poem or song relates to your ancestor's home or life.
As I mentioned last year, when it comes to poetry challenges, "I'm just a guy who can't say no."  I submitted three poems.  One by a Hungarian poet, one by an American-born expatriate, and one by a Lithuanian-born Polish poet who spent several years in America. (Most people will be familiar with the American expat.)

This year, the challenge is being broadened to include song, so my first submission will come from the State of Texas.  My 3rd great grandparents, William and Elizabeth (Sliver) Denyer, entered Texas in 1839, before it became a state, and my grandmother, Myrtle Van Every, was born in Texas in 1900.  She left Texas for Missouri in 1920.  I no longer had any direct ancestors living in Texas when the State Legislature on May 28, 1929 declared "Texas, Our Texas" the state song.  (The song was written in 1924 by William J. Marsh and Gladys Yoakum Wright.)

While she was no longer living in Texas, I have some evidence a place for her home state remained in my grandmother's heart: A copy of the sheet music, autographed by Gladys Yoakum Wright.

The original lyrics to the song were slightly different from what they are today.  When Alaska was added to the Union, they changed the word 'largest' to 'boldest' in the first verse.


Judith Richards Shubert said...

John, I really loved the connection to Texas that your grandmother had and the piece of autographed music! My, what a treasure. Liked the U-tube link, too. Thanks for putting it out there.

Bill West said...

Wow! That's beautiful, John.Your grandmother was a very talented lady.

Thanks for sharing, John, and thanks for participating in the Challenge!