Katharine Lee Bates was born in a house on Falmouth's Main Street on August 12th, 1859. Her father was the pastor of the Congregational Church right around the corner. This house is impeccably maintained by The Falmouth Historical Society. Miss Bates moved to Wellesley when she was still a kid and graduated from the high school there and then Wellesley College in 1874. She was also a professor there until 1925.
For more on Katharine Lee Bate's life, click here.
Katharine Lee Bates wrote the words to one of the most famous and beloved songs in American History, America The Beautiful.
Hey, Ray Charles did the tune, which puts it right up there on MY list!
For more on America The Beautiful, click here.
Never was there lovelier town|
Than our Falmouth by the sea.
Tender curves of sky look down
On her grace of knoll and lea.
Sweet her nestled Mayflower blows
Ere from prouder haunts the spring
Yet has brushed the lingering snows
With a violet-colored wing.
Bright the autumn gleams pervade
Cranberry marsh and bushy wold,
Till the children's mirth has made
Millionaires in leaves of gold;
And upon her pleasant ways,
Set with many a gardened home,
Flash through fret of drooping sprar
Visions far of ocean foam.
Happy bell of Paul Revere,
Sounding o'er such blest demesne
While a hundred times a year
Weaves the round from green to green.
Never were there friendlier folk|
Than in Falmouth by the sea,
Neighbor-households that invoke
Pride of sailor-pedigree.
Here is princely interchange
Of the gifts of shore and field,
Starred with treasures rare and strange
That the liberal sea-chests yield.
Culture here burns breezy torch
Where gray captains, bronzed of neck
Tread their little length of porch
With a memory of the deck.
Ah, and here the tenderest hearts,
Here where sorrows sorest wring
And the widows shift their parts
Comforted and comforting.
Holy bell of Paul Revere
Calling such to prayer and praise.
While a hundred times the year
Herds her flock of faithful days!
Greetings to thee, ancient bell|
Of our Falmouth by the sea!
Answered by the ocean swell,
Ring thy centuried Jubilee!
Like the white sails of the Sound,
Hast thou seen the years drift by,
From the dreamful, dim profound
To a goal beyond the eye.
Long thy maker lieth mute,
Hero of a faded strife;
Thou hast tolled from seed to fruit
Generations three of life.
Still thy mellow voice and clear
Floats o'er land and listening deep,
And we deem our fathers hear
From their shadowy hill of sleep.
Ring thy peals for centuries yet,
Living voice of Paul Revere!
Let the future not forget
That the past accounted dear!
Katharine Lee Bates
The real experts on the life of Katharine Lee Bates are the good folks at The Falmouth Historical Society, who maintain a museum at her former home on Main Street. Visit them! Email them!