Down by the Old Mill Stream

Down by the Old Mill Stream
"Down by the Old Mill Stream"
Cover of sheet music, 1910.
Written by Tell Taylor
Published 1910
Language English

"Down by the Old Mill Stream" is a song written by Tell Taylor. It was one of the most popular songs of the early 20th century.[1]

It was written in 1908 while Taylor was sitting on the banks of the Blanchard River in Northwest Ohio. Reportedly, Taylor's friends convinced him not to publish the song believing it was not of commercial value. Two years later, Taylor did publish it in 1910 and introduced the song to the public with performances by the vaudeville quartet The Orpheus Comedy Four. While the group sang the song at a Woolworth store in Kansas City, the song became so popular with customers, they sold out all 1,000 copies of its sheet music Taylor had with him. Since then over 4 million copies of the song's sheet music has been sold and it has been a staple for barbershop quartets.[2][3][4]

Tom Lehrer, in the song, "We will all go together when we Go", parodied this song in the middle section, with a stride piano, with the following words: "Down by the old Maelstrom/ They'll be a storm before the Calm"/.



(Verse 1)

My darling I am dreaming of the days gone by,
When you and I were sweethearts beneath the summer sky;
Your hair has turned to silver the gold has faded too;
But still I will remember, where I first met you.

(Verse 2)

The old mill wheel is silent and has fallen down,
The old oak tree has withered and lies there on the ground;
While you and I are sweethearts the same as days of yore;
Although we've been together, forty years and more.


Down by the old mill stream where I first met you,
With your eyes of blue, dressed in gingham too,
It was there I knew that you loved me true,
You were sixteen, my village queen, by the old mill stream.


  1. ^ Spaeth, Sigmund (March 20, 1949). "The First Ten Since 1900; These songs have stood the harsh test of time". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Ohio, The Inside Story". Ohio Newspapers Foundation. 
  3. ^ Studwell, William E. (1994). "Down By The Old Mill Stream". The Popular Song Reader. 
  4. ^ Tuleha, Tad (1994). "Down by the Old Mill Stream"". The New York Public Library Book of Popular Americana . 


  • Taylor, Tell. "Down By The Old Mill Stream" (Sheet music). Chicago: Star Music Pub. (1910)

External links

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