Digital Tradition Mirror

Death of Emma Hartsell

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Death of Emma Hartsell

In eighteen hundred and ninety-eight
Sweet Emma met with an awful fate.
'Twas on the holy Sabbath day
When her sweet life was snatched away.

It set my brain all in a whirl
To think of that poor little girl
Who rose that morning fair and bright,
And before five was a mangled sight.

It caused many a heart to bleed
To think and hear of such (a) deed.
Her friends, they shed many a tear.
Her throat was cut frorn ear to ear.

Just as the wind did cease to blow
They caught the men, 'twas Tom and Joe.
The sheriff drove in such a dash
Tl@e howling mob could scarcely pass.

They got to town by half past seven;
Their necks were broken before eleven.
The people there were a sight to see.
They hung them to a dogwvood tree.

Fathers and mothers, a warning take
Never leave your children for God's sake,
But take them with you wherever you go
And always think of Tom and Joe.

Kind friends, we all must bear in mind
They caught the men who did the crime.
There's not a doubt around the lurk
Tom said he held her while Joe did the work

Sweet Emma has gone to a world of love
Where Tom and Joe dare not to go
We think they've gone to hell below
For treating poor little Emma so.

Dear friends, we all remember this,
That Ella will be sadly missed.
And one thing more (that) I do know:-
This world is rid of Tom and Joe.

As they stood on death'ss cold brink,
Joe Kizzer begged the man for drink
"No drink, no drink!" the man replied
"To Hell, to Hell your soul must fly. "

And one thing more my song does lack:
I forgot to say the men were black;
Her friends and neighbors will say the same
And Emma Hartsell was her name.

note: The crime happened in 1898. The first news of the
murder was told to one Frank Pharr by a young negro named
Joe Kiser. Mr. Pharr was suspicious and detained him. Shortly
after, a second negro, Tom Johnson, was also arrested. Both were
lynched; both died protesting innocence. RG

From North Carolina Folklore, Brown
DT #728
Laws F34

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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