This song is called a “fresh-water forecastle shanty.” The Bigaler was one of the slowest ships of the Great Lakes (U.S.). (Luboff & Stracke)
Come all you boys and listen a song I’ll sing to you.
It’s all about the Bigaler and of her jolly crew.
In Milwaukee last October I chanced to get a sight
In the schooner called the Bigaler belonging to Detrite (Detroit).
Watch her, catch her, jump up in her juberju.
Give her sheet and let her go,
We’re the lads can pull her through.
Oh don’t you hear the howling of the winds a-blowing free
On our down trip to Buffalo from Milwaukee.
‘Twas on one Sunday morning just at the hour of ten,
When the Nickle Roberts towed us into Lake Michigan
Oh there we made our canvas in the middle of the fleet.
Oh the wind hauled to the southward and we had to give her sheet. Refrain
The wind come from the southsoutheast, it blowed both stiff and strong.
You had orter seen the Bigaler as she plowed Lake Michigan.
Oh far beyond her foaming bows the fiery waves to fling,
With every stitch of canvas and her course was wing and wing. Refrain
We made Skilagalee and Wabbleshanks, the entrance to the straits,
And might have passed the whole fleet there if they’d hove to and wait,
But we drove them all before us the nicest you ever saw
Clear our into Lake Huron through the Straits of Mackinaw. Refrain
We made the light and kept in sight of Michigan’s east shore,
A-booming for the river as we’d often done before.
And when abreast Port Huron Light our anchor we let go,
The tug Kate Moffet came and took the Bigaler in tow. Refrain
Through Lake St. Clair they towed us till we got to the river light,
Lake Erie for to wander, her blustering winds to fight.
Then the wind blew from the southwest and our hearts began to glow
With the thought of all the good things waiting there in Buffalo. Refrain