For the first time in almost 140 years, someone named Higley will spend the night in the original log cabin where the words to the song “Home on the Range” were written. Originally built in 1872, by Kansas homesteader, Dr. Brewster M. Higley VI, the cabin has survived all of these years. Now, brothers Mike and Greg Higley who are originally from Shawnee, OK, will be spending two nights in the cabin, October 21-23, hoping to raise awareness about their famous relative and the legacy he created with a poem named “My Western Home” to describe the beauty of the site he had chosen for his Kansas Homestead in 1871. He penned this now-famous work on the bank of the West Beaver Creek in Smith County, Kansas, where along with the help of a few friends, he also constructed a cabin on July 4, 1872.
Dr. Higley presented the poem to his friend Dan Kelly who set it to music and then gave it to John Harlan, the leader of a family band that included Kelly. The song “Home on the Range” was born. It became a staple along the cattle trails and is considered by many to be the most sung cowboy song in the world. The State of Kansas adopted it as their State Song in 1947.
The Home on the Range Cabin, which was historically restored three years ago, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dr. Higley died in 1911 and is buried in Shawnee's Fairview cemetery.