Pres Longley, the Bard of Butte

I have a new project that I’ve been working on for the past month or so, and I am hoping it will be a book soon. I am helping to edit a book of poems by Pres Longley, the poet of Helltown, the Bard of Butte, friend of John Bidwell, resident of Butte Creek Canyon, a miner poet.

Alexander Preston Longley came to California with his brother in 1852 after spending two years fighting Comanches with the Texas Rangers. He prospected here and there in Northern California, finally settling in 1866 at Boneyard Flat near Butte Creek. For sixty years he wrote poems about life in California: verse about his miner friends, tributes to pretty girls, eulogies of dearly departed pets, patriotic poems, humorous pieces, comments on the passing scene.

I think you will like getting to know Pres Longley and reading his verse. Here is a small sample:

You may wrangle and rave of your Marysville girls,

     Of the girls of the Capital City,

Of the ‘Frisco girls, with their fads and their curls,

     But the Butte Creek girls are most pretty;

Their smiles are far dearer to me than the gold

     That the millionaire hides in his coffers,

And I hope, ‘ere the days of this leap year are told,

     Some dear one will make me an offer.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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