The Anthem of Wild West Cowboys Was Written By An Ear, Nose, And Throat Doctor From Iowa

The Unlikely History of “Home On The Range”

The song “Home on the Range” conjures up thoughts of the Wild West, cowboys, and cattle drives. It’s the official state song of Kansas and the unofficial song of the old western lifestyle. With that in mind, many are surprised to find out that an ear, nose, and throat doctor from Iowa actually wrote the original lyrics to the song.

Dr. Brewster M. Higley wrote the song in the early 1870s while in Smith County, Kansas. Dr. Higley was in Kansas to claim land under the Homestead Act of 1862. Since the words to “Home on the Range” were published, the song has been performed by Broadway singers, cartoon characters, film actors, and marching bands.

“Home on the Range” can be found on various albums including, Homeward Bound , a collaboration between Bryn Terfel, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Orchestra at Temple Square. The video above shows a behind-the-scenes look at the making ofHomeward Bound .

At Terfel’s request, the version of “Home on the Range” that is performed on Homeward Bound is an arrangement by Mack WIlberg. Terfel had often sung the song as an encore at many American recitals and asked Wilberg to put a “new coat” on it. The result is a beautiful, new rendition of this old western favorite.