Hicks the Pirate A mournful tale, heartrending To you, kind friend, I will relate The solemn truth intending Of three met a tragic fate An oyster sloop was sailing Upon the ocean's spakling tide In the healtful breeze regaling She moved upon the waters wide But upon this oyster vessel A pirate bold had found his way With wicked heart, this vassal The captain & 2 boys did slay He seized the gold & silver Which this poor captain had in store His watch & clothes did pilfer While he lay struggling in his gore He overboard soon threw them The murdered boys & captain too The briny deep enclosed them And they were quickly gone from view But the eye that never slumbers Did follow the murder's track And the vigilance of numbers To justice brought the monster back In a boat he left the vessel When the wicked deed had done And soon the murderous rascal Had far into the country gone He soon was overtaken And to New York was brought again A lonely wretch, forsaken Who had the boys & captain slain By a true & faithful jury He was found guilty of the crime Some raved & cursed like fury But he had met his fate in time Twixt heaven & earth suspended On Bedloe's Island Hicks was hung Some thousand there attended To see the horrid murderer swung "Hicks The Pirate" from 'Folk Songs Of New York' Folkways FH5276 (1966) - June Lazare. From the sleeve notes: The score of years that preceeded the Civil War the usually landlocked gangs turned their attention towards the waterfronts of New York. Gangs like the Hudson Dusters, the Gophers, & the Daybreak Boys worked the East River Piers while the Charlton Street Gang worked the Hudson Docks & so successful were they that they ran their own sloop as far up river as Poughkeepsie & becoming real River Pirates. Hicks was a gangster & not pirate was drugged & found himself shanghaied by a fellow free lancer. Upon waking he murdered the skipper & 2 young crew, in gruesome fashion. He was convicted of the triple murder & at the hanging the Peanut vendors & lemonade stands did a brisk business to the beat of the & the fife & drum. His procession from jail to the gallows on Bedloe's Island took on the aspect of a circus & a general holiday atmosphere prevailed. Soon after he was buried his body was dug up by grave robbers & sold to medical students. Hicks The Pirate - March, 1860 BF oct99
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!