John Harty came, walking down the street one day
With a nine pound however in his hand
I thought I heard that boss man say
Yonder comes a steal driving man
Lord! Lord! Yonder comes a steal driving man.
John Harty was a brave and dispert man
He carried two guns every day
He killed him a man in the West Virginia Land
And you ought to have seen Johnny getting away
Poor boy and to have seen poor Johnny getting away
John Harty had seventeen miles to go
Eight of them he run, he run
Until he came to a large river corse
And fell to his breast and swim
Lord! Lord! he fell to his breast and swim.
He swum until he came to his mother’s arms
My boy, what have you done?
I’ve killed me a man in the West Virginia land
And I know that I have to be hung,
Lord, Lord, and I know that I have to be hung.
He asked his mother for one fifty cents,
My son, I have no change
Then hand me down my old forty four
I’ll shoot out my agurvating brains
Lord! Lord! I shoot out my agurvating brains.
Oh! hand me down my old gray hat
And my other hofoing close
And if the police asks you where I’ve gone
Just tell him that I slept out of the door
Lord! Lord! Just tell him that I slept out the door.
John Harty he joined tha t Kasteel band
He thought it would set him free
But the police took him by the arm
Says Johnny come and go with me
Poor boys Johnny come and go with me.
He took poor Johnny to the court house door
No one to his Bail
Oh! my little boy I’m sorry for you
But I’m going to have to lock you up in Jail
Lord! Lord! I’m going to have to lock you up in Jail.
Written for Miss Elsie Hagaman by Bonnie Johnson
Feb. 11, 1915
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According to Brown, this typescript is based on a manuscript originally submitted to the North Carolina Folklore Society by I. G. Greer.
The images and audio files contained in the "So Mote It Ever Be: The Folksong Heritage of North Carolina's Northern Blue Ridge Mountains" collection are available for free personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that proper citation is used (e.g. I. G. Greer/W. Amos Abrams Manuscript Files Series, Folksong Files Subseries, W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Special Collections, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC). Any commercial use of the materials without the written permission of Appalachian State University is strictly prohibited. Please contact the Appalachian State University W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection with specific questions or with requests for further information.