Over the River and Through the Woods

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on November 16, 2007 0 Comments

 Lydia Maria Child (1802 – 1880) wrote a  poem in 1844 as she remembered her childhood visits to her grandmother’s house.


 The original Grandfather’s House, Medford Mass., as immortalized in Lydia Child’s poem. Now owned by Tuft’s Univeristy, courtesy of Wikipedia.


The poem she wrote subsequently  became the famous song Over the River and Through the Woods.

Lydia Child was an editor living in Medford, Massachusetts, when she wrote the poem.  The Grandfather’s house portrayed in the poem actually exists and is located at 114 South Street in Medford.

The house, seen in the photo, was built in the early 1800s as a small farmhouse and was enlarged in 1839 to include the two stories shown here. In 1976, Tufts University, also located in Medford, bought and restored this historic house. It is a classic example of Greek Revival architecture, common in that era.

Several versions of Child’s original poem exist. The one below is my favorite. Although this version mentions “Grandfather’s house (and this was the original ‘grandparent’ mentioned in the poem) some versions do say “Grandmother’s house.” 

The river mentioned in the poem is Medford’s Mystic River, also memorialized by a movie of the same name a few years ago.


Over the river and thru the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh,
Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!

Over the river and thru the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and thru the wood,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bell ring,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day-ay!

Over the river and thru the wood,
Trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

About the Author ()

An article of mine, 'On Marriage, Life, Death and Remarriage' was published in "Blended Families (Social Issues Firsthand) by Greenhouse Press." An article of mine was referenced in this book: "Margaret Atwood: a reference guide" by Judith McComb

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