How old is the song “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”?

No one knows exactly how old is the song “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” is.

It seems to have begun as “The Levee Song” among African-American workers building levees on the Mississippi River in Louisiana in the 1830s-40s.

It was later adapted to railroad building and associated with Irish work gangs in the West.

By 1880, when almost 100,000 miles of railroad track had been laid, the song was known across the country.

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