Happy birthday, Kansas. The Sunflower State is 155 years old today.

In honor of Kansas Day, we simply would like to offer the words of Dr. Brewster M. Higley VI. According to the Kansas Historical Society, the Ohio native who moved to Smith County in 1871 under the Homestead Act wrote a poem entitled “My Western Home” to celebrate his small cabin along West Beaver Creek.

Higley submitted this piece to the Smith County Pioneer, which first published it in 1874. Other papers around the state began printing the poem, which eventually had a melody written by Higley’s friend Daniel E. Kelley. “My Western Home” became a popular dance tune, then was revised in 1930 for a Broadway show. At that point it was retitled “Home on the Range.”

In 1947, the Kansas Legislature adopted “Home on the Range” as the official state song. The following are the original lyrics:

“Home on the Range”

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,

Where the deer and the antelope play,

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word

And the sky is not clouded all day.

Chorus

A home, a home

Where the deer and the antelope play,

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word

And the sky is not clouded all day.

Oh, give me the land where the bright diamond sand

Throws its light from the glittering stream

Where glideth along the graceful white swan,

Like a maid in a heavenly dream.

Oh, give me the gale of the Solomon vale,

Where life streams with buoyancy flow,

On the banks of the Beaver, where seldom if ever

Any poisonous herbage doth grow.

I love the wild flowers in this bright land of ours;

I love too the wild curley’s scream,

The bluffs and white rocks and antelope flocks

That graze on the hillsides so green.

How often at night, when the heavens are bright

With the light of the glittering stars,

Have I stood here amazed and asked as I gazed

If their glory exceeds this of ours.

The air is so clear, the breeze so pure,

The zephyrs so balmy and light,

I would not exchange my home here to range

Forever in azure so bright.

plowry@dailynews.net

Editorial by Patrick Lowry