The Bravest Man Among the Brave

The National Clay Minstrel and Frelinghuysen Melodist  continues with a panegyric to Joseph Markle, a politician so obscure that he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page.



Brave Markle is the soldier’s pride,
Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!
He stem’d the battles raging tide,
Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!
He rush’d like lightning on the foe.
And laid the murderous savage low.
Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!
Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!

With gallant heart and ready hand,
Hurrah! &c.
Behold him battling for his land,
Hurrah! &c.
The “fighting Captain” is the man,
Before whose sword the British ran.
Hurrah! &c

The bravest man among the brave.
Hurrah! &c.
His fortune and his life he gave,
Hurrah! &c.
And side by side with Tippecanoe,
He whipp’d the British and Indians too.
Hurrah! &c.

And when no longer war’s alarms
Hurrah! &c.
The soldier summoned forth to arms,
Hurrah! &c.
His hand his trusty sword forsook.
And turn’d it to a pruning hook.
Hurrah! &c.

And now at home he swings the flail;
Hurrah! &c.
No better farmer, I’ll go bail,
Hurrah! &c.
To plough the field and till the ground,
In Pennsylvania can be found.
Hurrah! &c.

The “Indian fighter” we will choose,
Hurrah! &c.
To rout the thieving Kickapoos,
Hurrah! &c.
Responsive to his country’s call,
He’d drive them from the Capitol.
Hurrah! &c.

Then ten to one we’ll win the day,
Hurrah! &c.
With gallant Mississinewa,
Hurrah! &c.
The Locos cannot stand the fray,
Their “Muhlie” has no horns they say!
Hurrah! &c.



No tune given, but it is obviously “The Hurrah Song,” otherwise called “Hurrah Hurrah” or “Hurrah, Hurrah,  Hurrah!”  The tune is very similar to, if not identical with, the tune better known today as “Dixie.”

Joseph Markle of Pennsylvania raised a company of mounted militia during the War of 1812, becoming their captain..  He was  present, but by no means a chief actor, at the Battle of the Mississinewa and the Siege of Fort Meigs.

“Tippecanoe” was General William Henry Harrison, who was  on the northwest frontier during the War of 1812.  Harrison was in command of the  fort during the first siege of Fort Meigs.   While the United States side took major casualties, they did hold the fort against Brigadier General Sir Henry Proctor with his British troops and Native auxiliaries.  (Proctor was the guy who left his artillery in rifle range of the US lines at the battle of Frenchtown, which worked out poorly for the British gunners.  As Shawnee chief Tecumseh said to Proctor at Fort Meigs, “Begone! You are unfit to command!”)

Although  Markle eventually became a brigadier general in the Pennsylvania militia, he was not primarily a military man; he was a farmer and mill-owner.  After running unsuccessfully for congress  he went on to lose the election of 1844 for the governorship of Pennsylvania.

The stanza about swinging the flail is strongly similar to a Harrison campaign song from 1840:

“Old Tip’s the boy who swings the flail,
Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah!
And makes the Locos all go pale,
Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah!

The Kickapoos are a group of Native Americans who in the early 1800s were part of the Wabash Confederacy and  lived in the Indiana area.  They now live in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. In 1844 they were nowhere near Pennsylvania, nor its capitol.  It is entirely possible that what is meant here is the Tammany political machine, Democratic-Republicans based in New York, who used Native American words and symbolism (e.g. they called their meeting halls “wigwams”) and were frequently portrayed in political cartoons as Native Americans.

The Locos are, of course, the Locofocos, radical Democrats, the Whigs’ bête noire.

The “Muhlie” (with the pun on mulie deer) would be  Henry A. P. Muhlenberg (1782 –  1844). Muhlenberg was the hugely unpopular Democratic candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania in the election of 1844, having run and lost twice before.  When Muhlenberg suddenly died in August of that year he was replaced by Francis R. Shunk (1788-1848), who went on to win the general election by 4,000 votes.  (Markle did considerably better than did Clay in Pennsylvania.  Clay lost by 8,000 votes.)

The Whigs claimed that widespread voter fraud by the Loco Focos was the cause for Markle’s (and Polk’s) defeat in Pennsylvania.

Coming tomorrow:  “The Vermonter’s Song at Baltimore,” to the tune of “Old Dan Tucker.”

This entry was posted in Huzzah!, politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Bravest Man Among the Brave

  1. Pingback: 1844 Whig Songbook Index | Madhouse Manor

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