A Kansas Sights page
"Home on the Range"
the song (midi file) * karaoke, with words
On-line sources of the words to the song: 50states.com, Lewis-Clark.org

History of the poem author:
info on Dr. Brewster Higley

Original words to the song The Western Home and a short biography, provided by Mary (Barr) Norris

Brewster Higley was born about 1811 in Rutland township, Meigs County, in southeastern Ohio. Two Brewster Higley's were listed in Rutland twp.for the 1820 census, but only one for the 1830 census. One Brewster Higley is also listed in the Pre-1830 Meigs Co Deed Index.

Writes Mary in Kansas, wlattin@media-net.net, 1/28/2001
"I was delighted to find your site while searching the web, but was surprised with the 'wrong information' that was posted on the link of "Home on the Range".

"The song was published in a Kirwin, KS newspaper in 1873 and the words to the song are not those listed at this site. I was raised on a farm about four miles south of the Higley Cabin in Smith County, Kansas. We lived on the hills that are spoke of "where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play".

"There was a book written by Margaret Nelson in 1948 or 1950 that tells of Dr. Brewster Higley life, family, neighbors, adventures.

I have a query posted at "ROOTSWEB QUERIES" that tells of our community reunion of Highland Community and the Home on the Range Area. The song tells of our community. My grandfather went to school with Dr. Higley's children in the 1880's. They were neighbors on West Beaver Creek in Smith Co. KS.

According to Dale Talkington's web site, Brewster Higley (1822-1911) is buried at the Fairview Cemetery at Shawnee, OK, in Pottawatomie County, next to George W. Allen. Mr. Allen apparently was in Corp Co A; 23 MO Inf., born Mar 3, 1847 and died Mar 29, 1916. It seems that Dr. Higley was not a Civil War veteran, and although he was buried next to Mr. Allen, their relationship is not known.
Family History of John Trout, who had ties to "Home on the Range".

History of the song writer:
info on Daniel E. Kelley
Pictoral History of the Harlan and Barr Families

In the February 28 1993 issue of the Kansas City Star, page 1E, staff writer Mike Rice wrote about Laura Kaiser of Overland Park, KS, great-great-granddaughter of the man who, in 1873, wrote the tune to "Home on the Range".

Laura and her mother, Barbara Glover, read about their famous relative, Daniel E. Kelley, in a 1977 KC Star "Star Magazine" article, but it was some years later before they became "hooked" on solving a family puzzle. Barbara Glover found researching one's own genealogy to be a fascinating way to learn history.

Virginia Harlan Barr, niece of Daniel Kelley, was an early owner a trinket box (see picture, below) which had been made from the guitar used by one of the members of the band that first popularized "Home on the Range". The guitar had been damaged by rain through a leaky roof, and even though Eugene Harlan, Virginia's brother, had tried gluing it back together, the guitar never sounded right afterwards. So Virginia had the old guitar made into a trinket box, in order to keep the piece of history. In 1935, Virginia - who was then in her 70s - lived in North Kansas City, MO.

HARLAN - KELLEY Family History, by Mary Harlan Norris
The Official story of "Home on the Range"
by Cal Harlin

After doing some research the Dan Kelley played a Violin not a guitar. The guitar that was, and played by Clarence Harlan on the dance where "Home on the Range" was first played. The guitar Had belonged to Virginia Doxie Harlan Jones who had died in 1866 at the birth of young Virgie, who sang the first playing of the song. (read more...)

Jewelry box
It was said that Clyde Barr had made the box from the guitar after rain had destroyed it. The box was made for Virginia Doxie (Harlan) Jones who was Virgie (Harlan-Jones) Barr's mother.

click on box to enlarge More pictures to follow...

The Diary of Virginia D. (Jones-Harlan) Barr

This is the Diary of Virginia D. (Jones- Harlan) Barr about her childhood life on the Kansas Prairie. Written on May 22, 1940, she wrote it for all of her Grandchildren to come. She was born in 1861. (to the diary...)
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