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HI JOLLY, THE CAMEL DRIVER (Randy Sparks) The New Christy Minstrels - 1962 The Travelers 3 - 1962 Canadiana Folksingers - 1964 The Merrymen - 1993 River City Ramblers - 2001 Hi Jolly was a camel driver, long time ago He followed Mr. Beale way out west Didn't mind the burning sand in that God-forsaken land But he didn't mind the pretty gals the best Hi Jolly, hey Jolly, twenty miles a day, by golly Twenty more before the morning light Hi Jolly, hey, I gotta get on my way I told my gal I'd be home Sunday night There's pretty girls in Albuquerque, 'least that's what I've heard There's pretty gals in Tumcumcari too Now honey, I ain't blind, but I don't pay them any mind 'Cause I'm savin' all my lovin' just for you Hi Jolly, hey Jolly, twenty miles a day, by golly Twenty more before the morning light Hi Jolly, hey, I gotta get on my way I told my gal I'd be home Sunday night Old timers down in Arizona tell you that it's true That you can see Hi Jolly's ghost a-ridin' still When the desert moon is bright, he comes ridin' into sight Drivin' four and twenty camels over the hill Hi Jolly, hey Jolly, twenty miles a day, by golly Twenty more before the mornin' light Hi Jolly, hey, I gotta get on my way I told my gal I'd be home Sunday night THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THIS SONG: Hi Jolly was a real person. Born in Greece around 1828, of Greek and Syrian parentage, his original name was Philip Tedro. Upon converting to Islam, he took the name Hadji Ali. He reverted back to Philip Tedro in later life. After the war with Mexico (1846-1848) ended in victory for the United States, all the land that now includes Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and the western regions of Colorado and New Mexico were acquired, an area of some 529,000 square miles. With the 1849 discovery of gold in California thousands of Americans from the East began to surge West. Surveying, defending, and supplying the newly acquired lands fell to the federal government. In 1855, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis was presented with a plan to import camels to help build and supply a federal wagon route from Texas to California. Davis approved the plan for a "Camel Military Corps" to experiment with camels for freighting and communication in the arid South-West. "For military purposes, and for reconnaissance, it is believed the dromedary would supply a want now seriously felt in our service," he explained. The United States Congress agreed and appropriated $30,000. Hadji Ali arrived as a camel driver in Port Indianola, Texas in February 1856, with 100 of "Uncle Sam's Camels". He became known as "Hi Jolly" because the locals were somehow unable to correctly pronounce "Hadji Ali". For the next three years, Hadji, with the camels and men of Beale's Camel Corps, helped to explore and open up new freight routes from Texas to California. The Army's experiment with camels was short-lived, but Hadji remained in the South-West and for the next 40 years would divide his time between delivery of the United States mail, hauling freight (over roads he had helped to explore and establish), prospecting, and serving the United States cavalry as a scout and mule packer. He married in 1880, settling in Tucson for a while. He died in December 1902. Following the Camel Corps experiment, some of the camels were sold at public auctions, finishing up in zoos and circuses, and some escaped into the wild. The last wild camel in Arizona was captured in 1946. The last reported sighting of a wild camel in North America was in Baja California in 1956.

    


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