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"Cowboys' Christmas Ball" published


On this day in 1890, poet and ranchman Larry Chittenden's "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball" was first published in the Anson Texas Western. Chittenden, born in New Jersey in 1862, came to Texas in 1883 and established a ranch at the foot of Skinout Mountain near Anson. An annual Christmas dance at Anson's Star Hotel, which burned in 1890, inspired his best-known poem. It has been reprinted and anthologized many times since. John A. Lomax and his brother Alan published it in their book Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads in 1910. Chittenden, who moved to Bermuda in 1904, died in 1934, the same year the citizens of Anson staged the first annual Cowboys' Christmas Ball. The poem was set to music and sung at the Anson ball in 1946, and it became a tradition to have a soloist sing the ballad before the ball.

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