Song or Story
Recorded in Morrell Rear, PEI; events took place in and around Sherman Mills, ME
When Walsh sang "The Teamster in Jack MacDonald's Crew" for Sandy Ives, it was a song he had never heard before and did not hear from anyone after, despite his best efforts to find it. Walsh either learned the song while working near Katahdin Iron Works around 1911 or from a friend back on PEI, he was not entirely sure.
1. Come listen to my story, The truth I’ll tell to you; It is about a teamster In Jack MacDonald’s crew.
2. Our crew it was a merry one Of eighteen men or more; Our winter’s work had scarce begun When Death had darked our door.
3. We were talking after supper when One of the teamsters said, “I hear Stubbs complaining of A pain that’s in his head.”
4. The night passed on and morning came, The sickness it grew worse; We moved him from the lower bunk Into the upper berth.
5. And when we went to breakfast We dared not leave him alone; We wrapped him up in his blankets warm All for to take him home.
6. Jack MacDonald and Tom Proctor Took a pair of trotty bays, And before stars had ceased to shine They were miles upon their way.
7. They took him to his little home In the town of Sherman Mills, And to break the news unto his wife It did require great skill.
8. They sent for Dr. Harris while His wife and family cried. But to rescue him from Death’s cold grasp It was in vain they tried.
9. Here’s to MacDonald and his crew, Our blessing do we give; And may their troubles they be few And happy may they live.
10. And when Death comes knocking at our door And we are called to go, Let us pray that we will meet our Lord, Let his mercy on us show.
Joseph Walsh, The Teamster in Jack MacDonald’s Crew, Morrell Rear, Prince Edward Island, Sherman Mills, Maine, Katahdin Iron Works, Earl Stubbs, Thankful Coffin, spinal meningitis, lumber camp, Sife Mooney, Tom Proctor, Jack MacDonald, Dr. Francis Harris, woodsmen, sick, ballad
Ives, Edward D. Drive Dull Care Away: Folksongs From Prince Edward Island. Charlottetown, PEI: Institute of Island Studies, 1999, 165-67; and Edward D Ives, “‘The Teamster in Jack MacDonald’s Crew’: A Song in its Context and Singing,” 74-85 in Jabbour, Alan and James Hardin, eds. Folklife Annual 1985. Washington: Library of Congress, 1985.
Ethnomusicology | Folklore | Oral History
Walsh, Joseph. 1965. “The Teamster in Jack MacDonald’s Crew.” NA65.13, CD88.15. Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, Raymond H. Fogler Special Collections Department, University of Maine.