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Indiana State Song

On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away, written by Terre Haute native Paul Dresser and dedicated to 14-year-old Mary E. South of Terre Haute, whom Dresser had never met, is the state song of Indiana. First published in July 1897, the song was adopted as the official state song on March 14, 1913, by the Indiana General Assembly. The state song is the oldest of Indiana’s state emblems, being adopted four years before the flag.

Paul Dresser was the brother of noted Hoosier writer Theodore Dreiser. He supposedly was so scandalized by his brother's frank writings that he changed his name from Dreiser to Dresser.

On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away

Round my Indiana homestead wave the cornfields,
In the distance loom the woodlands clear and cool.
Oftentimes my thoughts revert to scenes of childhood,
Where I first received my lessons, nature's school.


But one thing there is missing in the picture,
Without her face it seems so incomplete.
I long to see my mother in the doorway,
As she stood there years ago, her boy to greet!


Many years have passed since I strolled by the river,
Arm in arm with sweetheart Mary by my side.
It was there I tried to tell her that I loved her,
It was there I begged of her to be my bride.


Long years have passed since I strolled thro' the churchyard,
She's sleeping there my angel Mary, dear.
I loved her but she thought I didn't mean it,
Still I'd give my future were she only here.


Oh, the moonlight's fair tonight along the Wabash,
From the fields there comes the breath of new mown hay.
Thro' the sycamores the candle lights are gleaming,
On the banks of the Wabash, far away.

On the Banks of the Wabash Far Away IHS SHMU 12 43 01 01.jpg