Jack Timmins (MacEdward Leach)

My name is Jack Timmins, I'm a Cape Breton boy,
All around the Dominion for a living strolled I;
All around the Dominion alone I did roam,
To try and make money in this wide-open world.

My age being scarce twenty, my life to enjoy,
I left my dear parents with tears in their eyes;
All around the Dominion alone I did roam,
To try and make money in this wide-open world.

The first trip I made was a trip to the ice,
With a partner, George Bartlett, so manly and nice;
We shared eighty dollars, I think we did well,
The rest of my hardships I'm now going to tell.

I then joined a coaster, a fine harbour tramp,
Her crew were not nice and they often were drunk;
Our drunken sea captain we'll see him no more,
To save lives on rigging he ran her ashore.

Said the mate to the captain, those lives for to save,
We'll run under fores'l those dark bursting seas;
Our cook he run forward waiting the first thump,
With his feet firm and steadfast all from her to jump.

Then I, like a cat, up the rigging did climb,
The cook hauled the captain ashore on the line;
When the crew were a-landed and safe on the strand,
I sprang from the rigging ashore on the sand.

I then went to Halifax town for a run,
In a decent class vessel, to me that was fun;
They gave me ten dollars, to me that was none,
And I left in that city to look for a job.

While walking down Water Street with eyes sharp and keen,
I saw a large steamboat anchored out in the stream;
I boarded that steamboat up her side I did climb,
And made my way forward her bosun to find.

He spoke to me kindly, he seemed of good cheer,
He said you had better see the chief engineer;
I agreed with that chief for both wages and work,
If you have friends go see them, we're bound for New York.

I fired on that steamboat till I saw something best,
Got a letter from my brother and sailed for the west;
The storms and the snow squalls you bet I didn't mind,
But the darling I left in that city behind.

I worked there four months in a forest of pine,
Driving a four-horse team, my job I liked fine;
One day a sad accident happened to me,
I'm not the same fellow I once used to be.

I fell from my team-load of logs to the ground,
Half-lifeless, half-senseless, it's there I was found;
A log from my team-load had rolled over me,
And broke my right arm and left leg at the knee.

The boss, and choppers, and workers, and all,
They bid me farewell as I sailed for St Paul;
To see myself carried in a room for to die,
I thought on my Maker far up in the sky.

I lay there six months in that hospital grand,
On the broad of my back, oh, the pain I could stand;
The doctors and nurses to me did prove kind,
My father and mother often came in my mind.

Those western countries, oh, boys, they are grand,
Where the waters run freely through the excellent woodland;
Take a trip to the west, boys, if your mind leads to roam,
But you'll find when you're sick, boys, there's no place like home.

Take a trip to the west, boys, before it's too late,
But I hope in the future you won't share my sad fate;
For I now know the sorrow of not having two feet,
And I hope in the future in heaven we'Il meet.

####.... Jack Timmins ....####
Collected in 1951 from the author, Jack Timmins, of Cape North, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A sound recording of a variant was collected in 1954 from Matthew McKay of Little Harbour , Pictou County, Nova Scotia, by Helen Creighton [1899-1999].

See more lumber camp songs from NFLD.


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