Brewster Martin Higley VI
Biography of Brewster Martin Higley VI
Brewster Martin Higley VI (November 30, 1823 - December 9, 1911) was an otolaryngologist who became famous for writing "The Western Home." This poem, originally written in 1872 and published under the title "Oh, Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam" in the Smith County Pioneer in 1873, would be set to music to become the lyrics for the famous American folksong "Home on the Range."
Because Higley wrote "The Western Home" while living in Smith County, Kansas, and because they felt it described their state very well, the Kansas legislature voted to make "Home on the Range" the official state song on April 8, 1947.
Born in Rutland, Ohio, the grandson of Rutland's founder Brewster Higley IV, Higley VI began studying medicine at La Porte Medical College in La Porte, Indiana at the age of eighteen. After graduating in 1849, he resettled in Pomeroy, Ohio and established his first medical practice. He briefly practiced medicine in Indiana and finally moved to Kansas in 1871 to claim land under the Homestead Act of 1862.
The Western Home
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where never is heard a discouraging word
And the sky is not clouded all day.
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.