MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Jam on Jerry's Rock

Performed by Mike Kent Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 8A Track 4
Community: Cape Broyle Audio: Yes
Genre: Ballad / lumbercamp disaster Laws C1

Transcription

Come all ye bold brave shanty-boys, come listen while I relate,
Concerning a young riverman and his untimely fate,
Concerning a brave shanty-boy so handsome, true and brave,
Twas on the jam on Jerry's Rock he met his watery grave.

Being on a Sunday morning as you will quickly hear,
Our logs were piled up mountains high we could not keep them clear,
Our foreman said turn out brave boys with hearts devoid of fear,
We'll break the jam on Jerry's Rock for Wellington we will steer.

Some of them were willing some more of them were not,
To work on jams on Sunday they did not think they ought,
Till six of our Canadian youths did volunteer to go,
To break the jam on Jerry's Rock for their foreman young Monroe.

They had not rolled out many logs when they heard a young voice say,
I warn you boys be on your guard the jam will soon give way,
Those words were scarcely spoken when the jam did break and go,
And carried off those six fine youths with their foreman young Monroe.

The rest of these brave shanty-boys when the sad news they did hear,
In search of their brave comrades to the river they did steer,
And while the mangled bodies they left floating down below,
Twas bruised and bleeding on the bank lay the corpse of young Monroe.

Fair Clara was the noble girl the riverrman's true friend,
And with her widowed mother she lived by the river's bank,
The wages of her own true love the boss to her did pay,
The Shanty-boys made up for her a generous purse next day,

They buried him in sorrow being on the first of May,
In a grey mount down by the riverside there grow a hemlock grey,
Engraved upon this hemlock by the side of the grave it grow,
Was the name and date and the sad fate of our foreman young Monroe.

Clara did not long survive her heart broke with her grief,
in less than three weeks after death came to her relief,
And now her time at last had come and she was forced to go,
Her last request was granted to be laid by young Monroe.


Notes

Sources: Mercer 138; Laws NAB C1; Leach 256; Greenleaf 1968: 331; Peacock 752-3 ("The Jam at Garby's Rock"); Lehr 102; Bethke 64 Cazden i: 46; Fowke (1970) 95-99; Ives (1989) 26-29; Manny and Wilson 115; Ives (1999) 33; Roud 256; for many citations and recordings, see http://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/BalladSearch.html.

History: A popular lumberwoods ballad found across North America and even in Scotland.

Text notes: The song recounts a tragic log jam that took the lives of all hand. The location of Jerry's Rock is a subject of debate; many singers identify precise places but they differ widely. See Eckstorm and Smyth 176-198 for an account that argues a Canadian origin..

Tune notes: Similar to the tune published by Peacock, this melody is in a triple metre, a major key, and "abca'" form.

 

All material on this webpage is copyright © 2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland. No unauthorized copying or use is permitted. For more information, follow this link.