Harry Dunn (MacEdward Leach)

Oh, there was once a charming lad
whose name was Harry Dunn,
And his father was a farmer,
and Harry his only son;
He had every thing was needed,
a house and farm of land,
But still he wanted to have a trial
in the woods in Michigan.

One morning, as Harry was going away,
his mother to him did say,
"Harry dear, don't go away,
it's home with your parents stay;
Stay with your old aged father,
your mother and sisters three,
For there's something seems to tell me
your face I will no more see."

As Harry was started on his way
for Buffalo next day,
He hired out in the lumbering woods
in Michigan far away;
He worked away for two long months
and often would write home,
Saying, "The winter will soon be over
and then we will go home."

One morning, as Harry arose from his bunk,
not a smile was on brow,
He called his chum outside the door,
whose name was Charlie Dunn;
Saying, "Charlie dear, I had a dream
which hung my heart with woe,
And I think there is something wrong at home,
it is there I better go."

Oh, his comrades gathered 'round him
and pleaded with him awhile,
Saying, "Harry dear, it's not time to go,
it's the time to fall the pine."
They worked away until one o'clock
upon that fatal day,
When a hanging limb came from the top
and crushed him to the clay.

Oh, his comrades gathered around him,
all broken down 'twas crashed,
Saying, "Harry dear, it's now time to go,
your time has come at last."
"So pick me up and lead me out
and send my body home,
Unto my old aged parents,
far from them I did roam."

Now it's early the next morning,
as a vision shone the sun,
For to take home the body
of poor young Harry Dunn;
And when his mother saw him
she fell dead on the ground,
To think on her son that she loved so well
her soul came heavily down.

It was his old aged father
he lingered for a while,
Old friends say that day after
he was never known to smile;
And less than three weeks after
we buried the poor old man,
So now you have your daily curse
in the woods of Michigan.

####.... Variant of a traditional lumber camp song, The Hanging Limb [Laws C14] Native American Balladry, G Malcolm Laws, 1964 ....####
Sung in 1950 by Pat Murphy [b.1887] of Calvert, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was also sung by Edgar Wilson of Merasheen, NL, and published for the 1980 Merasheen Reunion in Placentia Bay, NL, by Loyola Pomroy and William (Bill) Wilson Jr [1931-1993] of Meerasheen, Placentia Bay, NL.

A very similar variant was collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from George William Decker [1878-1962] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published as The Woods Of Michigan in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.763-764, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

See more lumber camp songs from NL.


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