Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Ohio Moments

Mt. Vernon's Emmett wrote 'Dixie's Land'

On Oct. 29, 1815, composer Daniel Decatur Emmett - whose many songs included "Dixie's Land," which became the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy during the Civil War - was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

Emmett taught himself to play several instruments and performed his first composition - "Old Dan Tucker" - at a Fourth of July celebration in Mount Vernon when he was 15. He joined the Army as a fifer two years later. After his discharge, he became a drummer with a traveling circus band. In 1843 he organized a group called the Original Virginia Minstrels. "Dixie's Land," written by Emmett in 1859, was a hit in both the North and South. But to the consternation of Emmett - a Union supporter - it was adopted by the Confederacy after being performed at the 1861 inauguration of Jefferson Davis.

Emmett died in 1904, age 88, in Mount Vernon.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail or call 768-8361.

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