Interesting Facts about California

Shortly after the young congressman, Abraham Lincoln came home from Washington and settled down again to the practice of law in Springfield, Illinois, there were announcements in newspapers occasionally, such as, “All who are interested in the California expedition will meet at candle-light to-night in the courthouse.” California then was a place to talk about, guess, and wonder about. The news came from Sutter’s Creek:

ten men shook pay dirt through hand screens and found a million dollars apiece in gold nuggets; the San Francisco city council adjourned without setting a date when it would meet again, churches closed their doors, newspapers stopped printing, and ships lay in the harbor with no sailors, cooks, and soldiers ran away from military forts. A free-for-all rush started to the gold-digging: a spade sold for $1,000.00. It was news that made New York and London sit up. Across the Great Plains came wagon trains; in ten miles along the Plate River, a traveler counted 450 wagons. At the trial’s end were gold and California…

This shanty is the first song opening the “Sacramento” family. This shanty was always sung at the capstan especially when raising the ‘mud-hook’.

The song will be reconstructed by myself as the capstan shanty.

The source of this sea shanty

The music: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 106).

The lyrics: “The American Songbag” by Carl Sandburg (1927).

The Record of California

You also can find this record on my YouTube channel here or directly listen below. Additionally, if you want to share your opinion about the record or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here, or leave a comment at the bottom of this blog article.

California - Capstan Shanty

The musical notation

california music notation

The full lyrics

Stan Hugill in “Shanties From the Seven Seas” gives us only one verse, it comes from a book called “The American Songbag” by Carl Sandburg (1927). Fortunately, I found this book so I will be very proud to sing it for you, in the full five stanzas version.


When formed our band, we are all well manned,
To journey a far to the promised land,
The golden ore is rich in store,
on the banks of the Sacramento shore,

– Then ho, boys, ho, To California go,
– There’s plenty of gold in the world I’m told,
– On the banks of the Sacramento shore.

* 2 *

As oft we roam o’er the dark sea’s foam,
We’ll not forget kind friends at home,
But memory kind still brings to mind
The love of friends we left behind.

* 3 *

We’ll expected our share of the coarset fare,
And sometimes sleep in the open air.
On the cold damp ground we’ll all sleep sound
Except when the wolves go howling round.

* 4 *

As we explore to the distant shore,
Filling our pockets with the shining ore,
How it will sound as the shout goes round,
Filling our pockets with a dozen of pounds.

* 5 *

The gold is there almost anywhere;
We dig it out rich with an iron bar,
But where it is thick, with spade or pick
We take out chunks as big as a brick.

Related to this sea shanty

Bound for the Rio Grande (Cecil Sharp Version)

Rio Grande (B)

A Long Time Ago (C)

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