Song or Story
Song about Pittston Farm area in western Maine; recorded in Oakland, ME
The song, written by James O’Hara, a woodsman from Maine, described the lumbering operation owned and operated by James McNulty of Bangor, Maine.
1. I dreamt last night of a depot camp On the old Penobscot Stream, It’s noted for its good men And McNulty’s pork and beans; It lies along an old tote road Nearby the Canadian line, ‘Tis there you’ll see the toters tote In hail, rain, and sunshine.
2. They tote in all the flour and beans Their grain and all the straw, Our beef it comes from Bangor, Maine, And some from Canada; They take it to our good cook Lou, Who cooks it in a pot, And serves it on the table When it is nice and hot.
Chorus: There is stew, too, that it made by Lou, It is made for me and you, too, We’ll find it on the table When our days work we get through, we do, That’s stew, too, that is made by Lou, It’s made for me and you, He cooked it in a great large pot For Jim McNulty’s crew.
[3. Now Alec and Bob has charge of the job And they hustle out the logs, While Luddy and Max with the cant dogs and ax You’ll find them on the bog; The teamsters they’re as jolly a crew as ever you did see, There’s Stewart Hopkins and Tommy Lynch And laughing Farmer McGee.
Chorus: There’s stew, stew, etc.
4. I had another dream last night, I dreamt I said my prayers, I dreamt I went to heaven, Myself and Herbie Stairs; And when we got up to the gate, Saint Peter we did meet, He said, “You jolly woodsmen Can’t walk these golden streets.”
5. Herbie says to Peter, “Come, Pete, I know you well, I hope you won’t get angry, Goin’ to send us down to Hell.” Peter says to Herbie, “You go back and get your goods, And when you leave the depot camp, You bring up Howard Woods.”
Chorus: And a pot of stew, too, etc.
6. The two of us we started back As happy as could be, knew Howard would be delighted If Saint Peter he could see; But when we got back to the gate, Saint Peter he had fled, He peeked out through a little hole And says, “I’ve gone to bed. You records I have just looked up, Of sins I find but five, You must go back to the depot camp And go out on the drive.”
7. The three of us we started back A-feelin’ mighty blue, I look at Howard And Howard at the stew; Herbie took his scalin’ stick And threw it at our feet, He says, “That’s the very last time I’ll ever speak to Pete.”
8. We heard a shout, “Turn out! Turn out!” A-comin’ along the road, Was Alec and Bob with a load of logs And the logs they were all gold; And right behind was another team, His driver was Jud Cramp, He said, “Saint Peter sent the logs To build McNulty’s camp.”
9. Now when we go to the woods next fall We’ll have a jolly time, Our axes they’ll be made of gold, Our cant dogs they will shine; Our pickpoles they’ll be all gold, too, Made of a golden rod, And we’ll eat golden fishes there Instead of rotten cod.]
10. Now in my dream one year had passed, I’d started out once more, To see if we could find that camp That’s built on the golden shore; We went by the way of Canady, Inquired of all we’d meet, If they’d show us the way to the depot camp, Was built by old Saint Pete.
11. They shook their heads in silence But one man said to me, “You might get some information To call on Saint Zacharie.” We went up to Saint Zacharie, But Zacharie wasn’t at home, And then unto Saint Francis, And they sent us to Saint Come; That good man there was to guide us, When the cookee, “Turn out!” screams, We woke right up in the depot camp, And found it all a dream.
The Depot Camp, Bill Cramp, Pittston Farm, Maine, Oakland, lumbering, James McNulty, Bangor, Great Northern Co., Penobscot River, St. Peter, James O’Hara, song
Ives, Edward D., ed. “Folksongs from Maine,” Northeast Folklore VII (1965), 15-22. Also see the Fall 2010 Maine Folklife Center Newsletter for a version of this song sung by John Hafford of Allagash, ME.
Ethnomusicology | Folklore | Oral History
Cramp, Bill. 1966. “The Depot Camp.” NA66.1, CD102.5. MNortheast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, Raymond H. Fogler Special Collections Department, University of Maine.