How could anybody ever forget Commodore Robert F. Stockton (depicted below)? Who? You know, the U.S. naval officer who commanded American forces in California during the Mexican War and served as military governor in 1846 and 1847. Remember now? Remember how Charles M. Weber admired him so much that he named the city of Stockton after him? Now remember?
You don't? Well, you're not alone. If only you had known about a very special song that dates from 1852. It's called Stockton the Hero, and it's all about the Commodore. I discovered sheet music for this anonymous piece in the Museum's archives yesterday. Here's how it starts:
Oh, know ye the land on the Pacific's wild coast,
Where the stars and stripes by Stockton were planted,
Where mountains and streams, with the treasures they boast,
The hearts and the hopes of mankind have enchanted,
And know ye the story that tells of the fame
Of the hero who conquered those wide realms of treasure,
'Tis the land of bright goldCalifornia by name,
Where fields are so green, and whose skies are so azure
And Stockton the hero, whose exploits of glory,
Shall emblazon through ages Columbia's story.
Get the idea? Stockton the Hero goes on for two more verses, but I'll save you the excitement of the rest.
Robert F. Stockton deserves to be remembered, especially here in San Joaquin County. Stockton the Hero once helped serve that purpose. But times have changed and, quite honestly, we need an update. We need something catchier, with shorter words and phrases. We need something with a strong beat.
So here's a proposal: I challenge anybody reading this blog to turn Stockton the Hero into a rap song. Feel free to expand, paraphrase, or rework the wording in any way you see fit. (The copyright expired long ago.) If you want, I'll even share the other two verses with you.
Post your creation and share the link with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will receive one free ticket to the San Joaquin County Historical Museum, fifteen minutes of fame, and the eternal gratitude of visitors to this site.
So let the rapping begin! Let's immortalize the memory of Commodore Robert F. Stockton and strike a blow for historical literacy.