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Other poetic
versions of the story of John Maynard

 

The story of John Maynard inspired not only Theodor Fontane but also many other poets. The best-known "other" version is probably Horatio Alger's "John Maynard: A Ballad of Lake Erie." Norman Barry, a retired Gymnasium teacher from Bad Schussenried, Germany, has found nine (!) more poetic versions of the John Maynard story, eight in English and one in German. All nine of these versions are listed below. Texts are available for eight of them. Norman has so far been able to find only the linked references to the one by Murdoch. Since these references refer to it as "unpublished," we may never find it.

Here is the story of the most recent addition to this list. When Anne Huberman's ten-year old granddaughter, Emma Skennerton, visited her in New Hampshire in the summer of 2015, Emma and her mother, Julie, found Anne's copy of the beautiful book about John Maynard illustrated by Tobias Krejtschi. While looking at Krejtschi's illustrations, Julie read Emma the translation of the poem that she and her sister had made many years ago. When Emma returned to her fifth grade class in Brisbane, Australia, her teacher assigned a project -- to write a narrative poem based on a story she knew. Emma chose the story of John Maynard as she remembered it. Her version is tacked on to the end of this list.

 

HORATIO ALGER, JR.

"JOHN MAYNARD" by Horatio Alger, Jr. in Gems for the Fireside, New York : S.G. Mead, 1880

Alger's ballad published anonymously in The Troy Weekly Times (Troy, New York), February 19th, 1868. (vol. XII, No. 35, p. 4, c.1).

 

MAJOR BENJAMIN BROWN FRENCH

Transcription of "THE HELMSMAN OF LAKE ERIE" by B. B. French, from Barre Gazette, October 10, 1845

An image of the front page of the Baltimore Sun of September 5, 1845, showing the publication of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" by B. B. French.

An image of a page of the Cleveland Daily Plain Dealer of September 10, 1845 (Vol. I, No. 134), showing the publication of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" by B. B. French, followed by the anonymous prose version.

The Road to Baltimore in the Lives of James Fenimore Cooper and Benjamin Brown French: An Investigation of the First Place of Publication of a Lake Erie Sketch and Ballad

 

JOSEPHINE

Transcription of an untitled poetic version of the story attributed only to "Josephine," in The British Workman, No. 107, November, 1863

 

ADA LINDEN

An image of Ada Linden's "John Maynard" in Deutschlands Dichterinnen and an image of the title page of that book.

Transcriptions, noting textual variations, of two printed German versions of Ada Linden's poem, "John Maynard," one published in 1896 and the other with an uncertain publication date.

Norman Barry's translation into English of Ada Linden's "John Maynard."

 

EPES SARGENT

An image of Epes Sargent's "The Helmsman of Lake Erie," published in the Salem Register, Salem, Massachusetts, August 11, 1873 (with an obituary of Epes Sargent).

A transcription of Epes Sargent's poem from the Salem Register, Salem, Massachusetts, August 11, 1873.

 

C. E. BOURNE

A scan of "John Maynard, Pilot. A Fact." by C. E. Bourne and an engraving of the burning steamboat from Cassell's Family Magazine January 1, 1877. This scan was generously contributed by Simon Harbord of the UK, who owns a copy of the magazine.

A transcription of "John Maynard, Pilot. A Fact." by C. E. Bourne as published in Cassell's Family Magazine January 1, 1877.

 

FRED EMERSON BROOKS

A transcription of "John Maynard" by Fred Emerson Brooks as published in Old Ace and Other Poems by Forbes & Company, 1901.

 

JOHN COLLETT

A copy of "The Helmsman of Lake Erie" by John Collett as printed in his book of poetry, City of the Dead, published by Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts in London in 1860.

 

FRANK HITCHCOCK MURDOCH

This is Norman Barry's collection of newspaper articles (1881-1887) that mention James E. Murdoch's recitations of "John Maynard: The Pilot of Lake Erie," written by his nephew, Frank H. Murdoch. If we find the text, we'll post it right away.

 

W.V.W. NEW!

The Burning of the Erie" was composed by "W.V.W." in New Brunswick, Aug. 21, 1841. The ballad was printed on Sept. 9, 1841, in the Jamestown Journal.

 

EMMA SKENNERTON NEW!

"John Maynard," written by Emma Skennerton (age 10) in her fifth grade class after she had learned the story of John Maynard.

 

 

 

 

 

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