Jack Gordon

 

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An Arkansas Traveler

 

Know ye, that the Governor of the State of Arkansas in the name and by the authority of the people of said State, as vested in him by the Constitution and Laws of of the State of Arkansas, reposing special recognitionm for the distinguished accomplishments do hereby appoint and commission

JOHN F GORDON

an Arkansas Traveler who is hereby authorized and commissioned to serve as an Ambassador of Good Will from Arkansas to the people of other states, the people of nations beyond the borders of the United States or wherever this Ambassador of Arkansas may hereafter travel or reside.

In Testimony Wherof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State to be affixed at Little Rock this twenty-ninth day of April in the Yearof Our Lord, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-two.

 

Nancy J Hall (signature)
Secretary of State

Orval E Faubus
Governor

 

 

The Legend of the Arkansas Traveler

From the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce website.

The Traveler was exasperated. Lost in the woods with night coming on, needing food and shelter for himself and his horse, he had learned exactly nothing in a half-hour's conversation with a sassy Squatter who seemed interested only in endlessly fiddling a single tune.

"What are you playing that tune over so often for?" demanded the Traveler. "Only heard it yesterday. 'Fraid I'll forget it." "Why don't you play the second part of it?" "It ain't got no second part." "Give me the fiddle," the Traveler ordered. He tuned it for a moment, then swung into the second part. The Squatter leaped up and began to dance, the sleeping hound awoke and thumped his tail, the children hopped up and down, and even the "old woman" came through the door with a smile twisting unaccustomed muscles on her face.

"Come in, stranger," roared the delighted Squatter. "Take a half a dozen cheers and sot down. Sall, stir yourself round like a six-horse team in a mud hole. Go round in the holler, whar I killed that buck this mornin', cut off some of the best pieces and fotch it and cook it for me and this gentleman directly. Raise up the board under the head of the bed and git the old black jug. Dick, carry the gentleman's hoss around under the shed, give him some fodder and corn, as much as he kin eat. Stranger, ef you can't stay as long as you please, and I'll give you plenty to eat and drink. Play away, stranger, you kin sleep on the dry spot tonight!"

So goes the part of the dialogue that accompanies one of the nation's best-known fiddle tunes, "The Arkansaw Traveler." The state's historians are generally agreed that both the story (which is narrated, not sung) and the melody were composed by Colonel Sandford C. Faulkner (1803-74). Faulkner, a prominent planter, is supposed to have been inspired by a conversation with a backwoodsman in 1840. A few folklore students have credited the authorship to an Ohio Valley fiddler named Jose Tasso, but Faulkner's claim was so fully recognized during his lifetime that the manager of the old St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans is said to have lettered "The Arkansaw Traveler" in glit above the door of a room reserved for him.

 

 

 

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