Over The River And Through The Wood By A Journalist And A Romance Novelist


Oh, my gosh! Thanksgiving is almost here! Today, it dawned on me that the only Thanksgiving song I’ve ever heard of is Over The River And Through The Wood. [If you’re like me, you probably thought it was woods, not wood but yeah, it’s wood.]

I remember learning this song in Kindergarten. It always brought to mind the beautiful Christmas cards we see with a sleigh drawn by a horse through the snow.



The song, however, was actually originally a poem by Lydia Maria Child, published in 1844. The author’s original words were “to grandfather’s house we go” and was titled The New-England Boys Song about Thanksgiving Day.

The poem was set to music by an unknown composer. The musical version sometimes presents it as a Christmas song, so that instead of the line, Hurrah for Thankgiving Day it reads Hurrah for Christmas Day.

Even more fascinating to me as a romance writer, is the fact that Child published her first novel, a historical romance Hobomok, A Tale of Early Times, anonymously under the gender-neutral pseudonym “an American.” The plot centers on the interracial marriage between a white woman and a Native American man, who have a son together. This of course was very controversial for her time, but Child was fearless both as a novelist and a journalist. She also wrote about the injustice of slavery, as well as supported and organized anti-slavery societies throughout her career. She even suggested that women were much as slaves to their husbands. If you think about the times, a woman could not vote, could not own property etc.

This author, journalist and poet was a truly fascinating woman, one few of us, including myself have ever heard of. I could write pages and pages about her accomplishments and her life but to be honest that’s been done. My purpose in this blog is just to share what I learned about this truly fascinating author, of a song that is beloved to many of us. Who Knew?!

So I won’t infringe on any copy writes I’m not printing Child’s poem here but you can find the original on Wikipedia by clicking the bold title “Over The River And Through The Wood” up above. To hear a lovely rendition of the song sung by the Moran Tabernacle Choir click here.

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2 Responses to Over The River And Through The Wood By A Journalist And A Romance Novelist

  1. Lynda Jensen says:

    Sharla, I love that song. I remember singing it as a youngster and looking forward to going to my grandparents’ for Thanksgiving. Thanks for telling us who wrote the original poem. Ms. Child does sound like a remarkable woman.

  2. Dee Speers says:

    I don’t know how I missed this blog, but love it. I’m always interested in unique finds or gems we can find about women and all the interesting things they added to history. Thanks for sharing this!

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