H.D.L. Webster, a Presbyterian minister in Lanesville, Ohio, wrote the words to this
song in 1856 after family opposition prevented his marriage to 19-year-old Ella
Blockston, who sang in his church choir. Some years later, when composer J.P. Webster
(no relation) asked the Reverend for words to accompany a piece of music he had just
written, Webster offered this poem. Although the heroine was originally named "Bertha,"
she was re-christened "Lorena" to provide the three-syllable name needed to fit the
meter of the music. Thus did the lost love of Reverend Webster's youth secure a place
for herself in musical history.
This page is http://civilwarpoetry.org/authors/webster.htm
Last modified 16-April-2001