Longtime Laura Ingalls Wilder fan and one of the Homesteader’s frequent contributors, Violet Hassler, got curious about her favorite song from the Little House series, “In the Starlight” from These Happy Golden Years (and, technically, The First Four Years).
“I wondered if it even was real or something Laura made up because I had never heard of it anywhere else,” she says. So she emailed the folks behind Pa’s Fiddle Recordings — namely, Dale Cockrell, the Vanderbilt University musicology professor who has overseen the recording of two albums of Little House songs in the past few years. Yes, Dale told her, “In the Starlight” was indeed a very real song, composed by Stephen Glover to a text by an English poet named J.E. Carpenter, probably around 1860.
He directed her to the Library of Congress, which she used as a jumping off point and tracked down downloads of the song.
This page will lead you to two MP3 recordings, one from 1903 and one from 2004.
Thank you, Violet, and thank you, Dale!
(For some reason, I’ve always sung this song to the tune of “My Darling Clementine.” I never realized that till now!)