Hey Little Heiskell (Little Heiskell and The Ransoming of Hagerstown)
(click on song title to hear MP3 music clip)
© Jennie Avila

"Hey Little Heiskell" is a humorous hypothesis that musically links a weathervane and the ransoming of Hagerstown.

In July of 1863 a Confederate sharp shooter used a well-known Hagerstown weathervane for target practice. The weathervane, shaped in the silhouette of a Hessian soldier, bears the affectionate title, "Little Heiskell". www.hagerstownmd.org/Com_Affairs/LittleHeiskell.asp

One year later, Hagerstown was ransomed by the Confederacy for twenty thousand dollars. Most other towns, caught between Union and Confederate sympathies, had to pay two hundred thousand dollars to avoid being ransacked and burned! Why was Hagerstown charged so much less than the other towns? I was not able to find a definitive answer, so I created my own whimsical hypothesis in song.