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Coal Creek Troubles (Jilson Setters?) My song is founded on the truth, In poverty we stand. How hard the millionaire will crush Upon the laboring man. The miner's toiling under ground To earn his daily bread; To clothe his wife and children And see that they are fed. Some are from Kentucky, The place known as my birth; As true and honest-hearted man As ever trod this earth. The Governor sent the convicts here And works them in the bank; The captain and his soldiers Are leading by in rank. Although the mines are guarded, The miners true and fair, They mean to deal out justice, A living they declare. The corruption of Buchanan Brought the convicts here, Just to please the rich man And take the miner's share. The miners acted manly When they turned the convicts loose; You see, they did not kill them And gave them no abuse. But when they brought the convicts They boldly marched them forward; The miners soon were gathered And placed them under guard. Soon the miners did agree To let them take their place; And wait the legislature To act upon the case. The law has made no effort To lend a helping hand; To help the struggling miner Or move the convict band. Buchanan acted cruelly To put them out to toil. He says he has not room enough For the convicts in the wall. He has no law to work them Only in the pen. Why should they be on public work, To rob the laboring man? I am in sympathy with the miners, As every one should be. In other states they work free labor, And why not Tennessee? The miners true and generous In many works and ways, We all should treat them kindly, Their platform we should praise. The Lord in all His wisdom Will lend a helping haud, And if we hold out faithful, God will strive with man. He gives us happy sunshine, A great and glorious light; He'll give us food and raiment If we'll only serve him right. (alternative 7'th verse from Betty Litton Davis, TN who reported learning the song in 1891, when the Troubles were at their height) God Bless the Knights of Labor With all their wit and skill; Their efforts to accomplish, Intentions to fulfill. I am in sympathy with the miner As everyone should be, Other states they work free labor, And why not Tennessee? From Only a Miner, Green Note: Collected from Jilson Setters (James William Day) in 1937. About one of the pivotal incidents in American labor history. Recorded by Mike Seeger, Folkways FH5273 RG
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