She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain is a traditional folk song, but is derived from the spiritual “When the Chariot Comes”.
The song first appeared in Carl Sandburg’s 1927, The American Songbag. He reported that “the spiritual “When the Chariot Comes“, which was sung to the same melody, was adapted by railroad workers in the Midwestern United States during the 1890s.”
“When the Chariot Comes” was first published in the 1899 Old Plantation Hymns. This song refers to the second coming of Christ.
She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain was secularized by the railroad work gangs of the late 19th Century. The song has become a standard over the years and often referred to as a children’s song and sung as a campfire song or at sing-alongs.
The earliest known recording is by Henry Whitter in 1924.
The song has been recorded by numerous musicians including Tommy Tucker, Bing Crosby, Pete Seeger and Neil Young.
The song is often heard today with responses that add on to the previous verse.
The German song “Von den blauen Bergen kommen wir”; Dutch song “Tante uit Marokko” and Scottish song “Ye Cannae Shove Yer Granny Aff A Bus” all use the same tune as She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain.