Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 7: No 2) >> Simms, ''Bill Bauldy,'' and Alligator Horses >> Page 34

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 34

Secondary Scholarship | 1999
Transcription What seems clear from all this is that there was a popular precedent from
which Major Henry may have appropriated the alligator lore and which he similarly
employed in "How to Cross an African River" in the frame to "Bald-Head Bill
Bauldy." Moreover, Major Henry's flawed narrative bears a close-enough
resemblance to the kinds of alligator-as-horse material we have been examining here,
most especially that found in the Crockett Almanacs, to assert that Major Henry's
sketch is likely derivative. Yet, the issue of who actually borrowed from whom may
never be satisfactorily resolved. Still, for reasons I noted earlier, Simms had a
justified rationale for attributing "How to Cross an African River" to Major Henry, a
hardly-disguised character whose real-life prototype was Major James Edward
Henry. In 1847, Simms, as his correspondence to his friend James Henry Hammond
attests, seems to have regarded James Henry unfavorably, both as a writer and for his
contrary political views (Piacentino 7-9).

Works Cited
"Alligator." Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore Mythology and
Legend. 1972 ed.
Arnold, Edwin T. "Facing the Monster: William Gilmore Simms and Henry Clay
Lewis." William Gilmore Simms and the American Frontier. Eds. John
Caldwell Guilds and Caroline Collins. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1997. 179-91.
Boyd, Molly. "Southwestern Humor in The Wigwam and the Cabin." Guilds and
Collins 165-78.
"Crockett and His Pet Alligator on an Exploring Expedition." Davy Crockett:
American Comic Legend. Ed. Richard M. Dorson. New York: Rockland
Editions, 1939. 117.
"Crockett's Wonderful Escape Up the Niagara Falls." Dorson 10-12.
Dorson, Richard M. Dat'v Crockett: American Comic Legend. Editor 's note. New
York: Rockland Editions, 1939. Iii.
Glasgow, Vaughn L. A Social History of the American Alligator: The Earth
Trembles with His Thunder. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991.
Guilds, John Caldwell. Apparatus for "Bald-Head Bill Bauldy." The Writings of
William Gilmore Simms: Stories and Tales. Ed. Guilds. Vol 5. Columbia: U
of South Carolina P, 1974. 803-5.
"A Kentucky Team." The Tall Tales of Davy Crockett. The Second Nashville Series
of Crockett Almanacs 1839-1841. Comp. Michael A. Lofaro. Knoxville: U of
Tennessee P, 1887. 28.
"Leely Gal, Buh Alligator, an de Jay-Bud." Negro Myths from the Georgia Coast.
Ed. Charles C. Jones. Columbia, SC: The State Co., 1925. 51-52.

unknown. Whether Simms was familiar with the hyperbole about Sal Fink also remains
a mystery.