falls the wagon

Wait for the Wagon

"Wait for the Wagon" is an American folk song, first popularized in the early 1850s.

"Wait for the Wagon" was first published as a parlor song in New Orleans, Louisiana, with an 1850 copyright, and music attributed to Wiesenthal and the lyrics to "a lady". All subsequent versions seem to derive from this song.


A number of different versions were published the next year.

Along the Mississippi River, most were nearly identical to the 1850 publication. Peters, Webb and Co. in Louisville, Kentucky, published it as "Wait For The Wagon: A Song For The South West" with no attribution to music or lyrics.

On the east coast several versions were published as minstrel songs with slightly different lyrics and differently arranged music. One was published in May of 1851 ("Wait For The Wagon: Ethiopian Song") in Baltimore, Maryland, and it was attributed to George P. Knauff. It is agreed upon that R. Bishop Buckley (1810 - 1867) probably first performed the song and Knauff arranged it as a composition. Knauff was a music teacher in Virginia, who compiled popular and folk fiddle tunes into a large compendium, Virginia Reels (1839). Buckley was born in England and came to America as a young man and, with his father and two brothers, formed the Buckley Serenaders. This minstrel show toured America and Europe.

J.E. Boswell also published a minstrel version ("Wait For The Wagon: A New Ethopian Song & Melody") in 1851, as arranged by W. Loftin Hargrave.

Wait for the Wagon was also published in London circa 1847 - 1869.

The song became a hit in the Eastern United States, and other minstrel troupes added it to their own performances. Through them, it spread to the South and West. It remained particularly popular in the Ozarks and Mississippi through the Civil War.

Comparison of original to minstrel lyrics

A Song For The South West (1851) Ethiopian Song (1851)
(First verse)
Will you come my Phillis dearie to the wild mountain free,
Where the river runs so pretty, and ride along with me,
And you shall be so happy with your Jacob by your side,
So wait for the wagon, and we'll all take a ride.
So wait for the wagon, Oh! wait for the wagon,
Oh! wait for the wagon and we'll all take a ride.
Oh! wait for the wagon and we'll all take a ride.
(First verse)
Will you come with me my Phillis dear, to yon blue mountain free,
Where the blossoms smell the sweetest, come rove along with me.
It's ev'ry sunday morning when I am by your side,
We'll jump into the Wagon, and all take a ride.
Wait for the Wagon, Wait for the Wagon,
Wait for the Wagon, and we'll all take a ride.
Wait for the Wagon, Wait for the Wagon,
Wait for the Wagon, Wait for the Wagon,
Wait for the Wagon, and we'll all take a ride

The South West versions was popular enough that "Answer To Wait For The Wagon" was publised in 1852, the first verse of which opens with:

I thank you, Mister Jacob, but I'm not inclin'd to go,
Your wagon is so clumsey, and your team so very slow.



  • Benedict, Joseph (arranger). "Wait For The Wagon: A Song For The South West". Louisville, Kentucky: Peters, Webb and Co. (1851).
  • Fuld, James (1966).The Book of World Famous Music, Classical, Popular and Folk.
  • Hargrave, W. Loftin (arranger). "Wait For The wagon A New Ethopian Song & Melody". Baltimore: J. E. Boswell (1851).
  • Knauff, George P. (arranger). "Wait For The Wagon: Ethiopian Song". Baltimore: F. D. Benteen (1851).
  • Morris, George (words); W. Wallace (music). "Answer To Wait For The Wagon". Louisville, Kentucky: G.W. Brainard & Co. (1852).
  • Raph, Theodore (1964). The American Song Treasury: 100 Favorites. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications.
  • Waltz, Robert B; David G. Engle. " Wait For The Wagon". The Traditional Ballad Index: An Annotated Bibliography of the Folk Songs of the English-Speaking World. Hosted by California State University, Fresno, Folklore, 2007.

External links

  • "Wait for the Wagon" on

Search another word or see falls the wagonon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature