Behind today's door we want to present another traditional song: The Arkansas Traveler. The song was first published in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1847. The title of the song was deeply involved in the history of Arkansas from the 19th century. Not only did the song get this name, but a painting, a baseball team, and even newspaper columns were named after it. The terminology was even carried among the population to the point that groups of people who came from Arkansas were called Arkansas Travelers.
Version of the 2nd South Carolina String Band
The origin of the Arkansas Traveler
The Arkansas version of the Traveler is believed to have originated in 1840 and can be traced back to Sandford Faulkner.
Sandford C. (Sandy) Faulkner was an iconic figure from the early history of the state of Arkansas. Although he never held official office, he made significant contributions to the development of the young state through his political and economic activities.
One day, Faulkner got lost in rural Arkansas and asked for directions at a humble log cabin. A born performer, he turned the experience into an entertaining presentation for friends and acquaintances. The "squatter" or homesteader, permanently dodged the lost Faulkner's questions in a humorous manner while playing a tune on the fiddle. Faulkner recognized the tune and offered to play the second half for him. The homesteader was so delighted by this that he offered all of his hospitality and guided Faulkner back on the right track. However, he also offered that he could come back to the cottage at any time - if he could manage it - where he could sit down and play on this melody for as long as he pleased.
The Arkansas Traveler - The accompanying image to the story of Sandy Faulkner.
The term "Arkansas Traveler" quickly developed into a certain rural stereotype that negatively affected the state. Humorous performances, solidified the term "Arkansas Traveler" as a country bumpkin or hillbilly.