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The Wreck on the C & O SOURCE: Bob Pfeffer SOURCE'S SOURCE: JH Cox, Folk Songs of the South (Harvard 1925) + ? COMMENTS: [AKA: The FFV Events of 23 Oct 1890: landslide 3 miles east of Hinton, W. Va. D D7 G D Along came the FFV, the fastest on the line, D E7 A7 Running along the C&O Road, twenty minutes behind the time D D7 G D Running into Sewall Yard, was quartered on the line D E7 A7 D Awaiting their strict orders to bring her in on time. And when she blew for Hinton, her engineer was there George Alley was his name, with bright and wavery hair His fireman, Jack Dickerson, was standing by his side Receiving their strict orders, and in the cab to ride. George Alley's mother came to him with a basket on her arm She handed him a letter saying "Be careful how you run For many a man has lost his life trying to make up lost time But if you run your engine right you'll get there just on time." George Alley said, "Dear mother, your letter I'll take heed I know my engine is all right and I know that she will speed So o'er this road I mean to run with speed unknown to all And when I blow for Clifton Forge, they'll surely hear my call. George Alley said to his fireman, "Jack, a little extra steam; I intend to run old Number 4 the fastest ever seen; So o'er this road I mean to fly like angels' wings unfurled, And when I blow for the Big Bend Tunnel, they'll surely hear my call." George Alley said to his fireman, "Jack, a rock ahead I see, And I know that death is lurking there for to grab both you and me So from this cab, dear Jack do fly, your darling life to save For I want you to be an engineer while I'm sleeping in my grave." "Oh no, dear George! That will not do, I want to die with you." "Oh no, dear Jack, that will not be; I'll die for you and me." So from the cab poor Jack did leap, New River was running high, And he kissed his hand to George as Number 4 flew by. So up the road she dashed, against the rock she crashed The engine turning upside down, and the coaches coming last George Alley's head in the firebox lay, while the burning flames rolled high "I'm glad I was born an engineer, on the C&O road to die." George Alley's mother came to him and in sorrow she did sigh When she looked upon her darling boy and saw that he must die "Too late, too late, dear mother! my doom is almost o'er And I know that God will let me in when I reach that golden shore." The doctor said, "Dear George, O darling boy, be still Your life may yet be spared, if it is God's blessed will." "Oh no, dear doc, that cannot be, I want to die so free. I want to die on the engine I love, 143." The doctor said, "Dear George, your life cannot be saved. Murdered upon a railroad, and laid in a lonesome grave." His face was covered up with blood, his eyes they could not see. And the very last words that ever he spoke were, "Nearer my God to Thee." Recorded by Carter Family DT #635 Laws G3 RPf
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!