eilidh patterson - Down to the River to Pray

Western Pennsylvania Log House (location 39)

Song

Down to the River to Pray is a song that has may potential origins – possibly a gospel song, an Appalachian song, an African-American spiritual….who knows?  First published in 1867, in some ways, its various potential sources highlight the huge influx of people from every corner of the globe that emigrated to North America. In some settings, the word “river” has baptismal connotations (as in the movie O Brother Where Art Thou?) whereas in others it has implications of slaves escaping through a river so the bounty hunters’ dogs would lose the scent of those escaping.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way

O sisters, let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O sisters, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way

O brothers, let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
Come on, brothers, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way

O fathers, let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O fathers, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way

O mothers, let's go down
Come on down, don't you wanna go down?
Come on, mothers, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way

O sinners, let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O sinners, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way

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Location

This three-room log house from Clarksville, Greene County, Pennsylvania was home to Uriah and Marinda Hupp and their twelve children.

The Hupp family were of German descent and in the 1760s, Uriah’s grandfather Everhart settled at Ten Mile Creek, close to the Monongahela River in south-western Pennsylvania. They were true pioneers and were well-known for the hospitality and help they gave to arriving families. Everhart’s wife Margaret Thomas was reputedly the first European woman to settle west of the Monongahela River.

In 1811 Everhart is listed as director of a new manufacturing company in Clarksville and he and his family lived peaceably with the Native American people for a time.  However, life was fraught with danger, two Hupp family members were killed and there are stories of massacres and atrocities on both sides.

Uriah, Everhart’s grandson, married Marinda Cox in 1851 and they lived in this log house on the Cox family farm. We do not know if Uriah built the house, or if it was already there. One of Uriah and Marinda’s sons, Benjamin Franklin Hupp, married Clara D. Kelley. Her ancestors emigrated from Armagh to America in 1719. They were known as the ‘Ulster Clan’.

German and Ulster emigrants influenced one another. Ulster emigrants who settled in Pennsylvania copied the German style of log house building and people from different backgrounds met and married.

Uriah and Marinda’s grand daughter, Anna Crayne, inherited the property. We have four of Anna’s patchwork quilts in our museum collection.

Look for the large roofed porch running along the entire front of the house. Porches are a common feature of American log houses from the 1800s

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Artist

Eilidh (pronounced I-Lee) is a warm, engaging performer of startling clarity. With songs that cut straight to the heart, delightfully accurate, fingerstyle guitar playing and crystal clear vocals, Eilidh immediately connects with audiences everywhere she goes. In recent years, she has performed at the SxSW and Folk Alliance festivals in the US and at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Scotland. Eilidh’s relaxed stage presence invites the listener to sit back and enjoy her unique take on life and love. Over the years she has worked with established artists in the folk scene both in the studio and on stage, most notably with Beth Neilsen Chapman, Ron Black and Yvonne Lyon. Regularly appearing on TV and radio, she has taken part in many live broadcasts for BBC and on stations across the UK and Ireland. She has released five studio albums and her most recent album, Safe Place, was launched in August 2020. Eilidh’s roots in gospel music shine through every performance, her musical journey taking her through folk and soul music, but still keeping in tune with her love of a more stripped back approach. That’s all her music needs.

https://eilidhpatterson.com

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