Samuel Woodworth

Samuel Woodworth (January 13, 1784 – December 9, 1842) was an American author, literary journalist, playwright, librettist, and poet.

Samuel Woodworth
Samuel Woodworth (1784–1842).png
Born(1784-01-13)January 13, 1784
Scituate, Massachusetts
DiedDecember 9, 1842(1842-12-09) (aged 58)
New York, New York
Lydia Reeder
(m. 1810)
Signature of Samuel Woodworth (1784–1842).png


Woodworth was born in Scituate, Massachusetts, to Revolutionary War veteran Benjamin Woodworth and his wife Abigail Bryant.[1] He was apprenticed to Benjamin Russell, editor of the Columbian Sentinel. He then moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where he briefly published the Belles-Lettres Repository, a weekly. He next moved to New York City, but recalled New Haven in his A Poem: New Haven.[2]

Woodworth married Lydia Reeder in New York City on September 23, 1810. They had ten children between 1811 and 1829. Woodworth remained in New York for the rest of his life, dying there on December 9, 1842.[1][3]

Woodworth's son, Selim E. Woodworth, was a U.S. Navy officer who took part in the rescue of the snowbound Donner Party in California. The USS Woodworth (DD-460) was named for him.

"The Old Oaken Bucket"Edit

Illustration for "The Old Oaken Bucket", 1882

Woodworth is best known for the poem "The Old Oaken Bucket". The first stanza reads:

How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood,
When fond recollection presents them to view!
The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wild-wood,
And every loved spot which my infancy knew!
The wide-spreading pond, and the mill that stood by it,
The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell,
The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it,
And e'en the rude bucket that hung in the well-
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The moss-covered bucket which hung in the well.

In 1826 the poem was set to music by George F Kiallmark (1804–1887) and has been sung by generations of American schoolchildren. It was recorded in 1899 by The Haydn Quartet, the most famous barbershop quartet of the time, and was released on Berliner Gramophone.

The Old Oaken Bucket HouseEdit

The Old Oaken Bucket House in Scituate, Massachusetts is on the National Register of Historic Places. A sign on the house reads: "1630-1930 THE OLD OAKEN BUCKET Homestead and well made famous by Samuel Woodworth in his poem 'The Old Oaken Bucket.' Homestead erected by John Northey in 1675: Poet born in Scituate January 13, 1784. Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission."

The Old Oaken Bucket trophyEdit

The Old Oaken Bucket trophy has been awarded every year since 1925 to the winner of the Big Ten Conference college football game between Purdue University and Indiana University. Although Woodworth was not from Indiana, the trophy's name refers to the sentiment that Hoosiers have for their home state.

Works by Samuel WoodworthEdit

Published poetryEdit

  • "The Hunters of Kentucky"
  • The Heroes of the lake : a poem, in two books
  • Ode written for the celebration of the French Revolution, in the city of New York
  • An excursion of the dog-cart : a poem
  • Bubble & squeak, or, A dish of all sorts : being a collection of American poems
  • New-Haven : a poem, satirical and sentimental, with critical, humorous, descriptive, historical, biographical, and explanatory notes
  • The poetical works of Samuel Woodworth
  • Quarter-day, or, The horrors of the first of May : a poem
  • Erie and Champlain, or, Champlain and Plattsburg : an ode
  • "American Music: Remembering Samuel Woodworth" - excerpts of his verse and songs


  • La Fayette, or, The Castle of Olmutz
  • King's Bridge Cottage : a revolutionary tale founded on an incident which occurred a few days previous to the evacuation of N. York by the British : a drama in two acts
  • The widow's son, or, Which is the traitor : a melo-drama in three acts
  • Bunker-Hill, or, The death of General Warren : an historic tragedy, in five acts

Opera librettosEdit

  • The deed of gift : a comic opera in three acts
  • The forest rose, or, American farmers : a drama in two acts


  • The Champions of Freedom; or, The Mysterious Chief. A Romance of the Nineteenth Century, Founded on the War between the United States and Great Britain.


  • Samuel was a founding member of the New York Society of the New Church (Swedenborgian) and one of his poems became a hymn - "Oh for a seraph's golden lyre" - which is still sung by some New Church congregations.


  1. ^ a b The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. I. James T. White & Company. 1893. p. 434. Retrieved April 23, 2021 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Old New Haven", Juliet Lapidos, The Advocate, March 17, 2005[dead link]
  3. ^ "Samuel Woodworth". New-York Tribune. December 13, 1842. p. 2. Retrieved April 23, 2021 – via

External linksEdit