Foreman Monroe ~ Lyrics
Come all you brave young shanty boys, and list while I relate
Concerning a young shanty boy and his untimely fate;
Concerning a young river man, so manly, true and brave;
'Twas on a jam at Gerry's Rock he met his watery grave;
'Twas on a Sunday morning as you will quickly hear,
Our logs were piled up mountain high, we could not keep them clear.
Our foreman said, "Come on, brave boys, with hearts devoid of fear,
We'll break the jam on Gerry's Rock and for Agonstown we'll steer."
Now, some of them were willing, while others they were not,
All for to work on Sunday they did not think they ought;
But six of our brave shanty boys had volunteered to go
And break the jam on Gerry's Rock with their foreman, young Monroe.
They had not rolled off many logs 'till they heard his clear
"I'd have you boys be on your guard, for the jam will soon give way."
These words he'd scarcely spoken when the jam did break and go,
Taking with it six of those brave boys and their foreman, young Monroe.
Now when those other shanty boys this sad news came to hear,
In search of their dead comrades to the river they did steer;
Six of their mangled bodies a-floating down did go,
While crushed and bleeding near the banks lay the foreman, young Monroe.
They took him from his watery grave, brushed back his raven hair;
There was a fair form among them whose cries did rend the air;
There was a fair form among them, a girl from Saginaw town.
Whose cries rose to the skies for her lover who'd gone down.
Fair Clara was a noble girl, the river-man's true friend;
She and her widowed mother lived at the river's bend;
And the wages of her own true love the boss to her did pay,
But the shanty boys for her made up a generous sum next day.
They buried him quite decently; 'twas on the first of May;
Come all you brave young shanty boys and for your comrade pray.
Engraved upon the hemlock tree that by the grave does grow
Is the aged date and the sad fate of the foreman, young Monroe.
Fair Clara did not long survive, her heart broke with her grief;
And less than three months afterwards Death came to her relief;
And when the time had come and she was called to go,
Her last request was granted, to be laid by young Monroe.
Come all you brave young shanty boys, I'd have you call and see
Two green graves by the river side where grows a hemlock tree;
The shanty boys cut off the wood where lay those lovers low,--
'Tis the handsome Clara Vernon and her true love, Jack Monroe.