Digital Tradition Mirror

The Jam on Gerry's Rocks

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Pennywhistle notation and Dulcimer tab for this song is also available

The Jam on Gerry's Rocks

Come all you jolly fellows, where-ever you may be
I hope you'll pay attention, and listen unto me.
It's all about some shanty-boys, so manly and so brave.
'Twas on the jam on Gerry's Rocks they met their watery grave.

'Twas on one Sunday morning, as you shall quickly hear,
Our logs were piled up mountain high, we could not keep them clear
"Turn out, brave boys" the foreman cried, with a voice devoid of fear,
"And we'll break up the jam on Gerry's Rocks, and for Eagletown we'll steer".

Some of us were willing, while others, they were not.
For to work on jams on Sunday, they did not think they'd ought;
But six American shanty-boys did volunteer to go
To break the jam on Gerry's Rocks, with their foreman young Monroe.

They had not rolled off many logs, before the boss did say
"I would you all be on your guard, for the jam will soon give way".
He had no more than spoke those words, when the jam did break and go,
And carried away those six brave youths and their foreman young Monroe.

We took him from the water, smoothed back his raven black hair,
There was one fair form among them, whose cries did rend the air.
There was one fair form among them, a girl from Saginaw Town
Whose mournful cries did rend the skies, for her lover that was drowned.

She received their presents kindly, and thanked them, every one.
'Though she did not survive him long, as you shall understand.
'Twas scarcely three weeks after, when she was called to go...
Her last request: To lie near her love, our foreman young Monroe.

Come all you brave young shanty-boys, I'd have you call and see
The two green grave by the river side, where grows the hemlock tree,
The shanty-boys cut off the wood,where lay those lovers low...
'Tis handsome Clara Clark, my lads, and her true love, young Monroe.

(Lomax version with alterations by Edith Lux to improve scansion)

(two further verses are added in Ballad of America)

Miss Clara was a noble girl, the river-man's true friend
Who, with her widdowed mother, lived near the river's bend.
The wages of her own true love, the boss to her did pay,
And the shanty-boys made up, for her, a generous purse, next day.

They buried him with sorrow deep, 'twas on the first of May.
Come all of you bold shanty-boys, and for your comrades, pray.
Engraved upon a hemlock tree, that by the grave did grow,
Was the day and date of the drowning of the shanty-boy, Monroe.

See also The Jam on Gerry's Rock
DT #600
Laws C1

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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