DTStudy: The Wagoners Curse on the Railroad
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DTStudy: The Wagoners Curse on the Railroad


Joe Offer 04 Jun 06 - 01:16 AM
Joe Offer 04 Jun 06 - 01:21 AM
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Subject: DTStudy: The Wagoners Curse on the Railroad
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Jun 06 - 01:16 AM

This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

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I don't know if there's much to dig up on this song. It's not listed in the Traditional Ballad Index, and the only place I found it is on Page 255 of George Korson's Pennsylvania Songs and Legends. Here's what Korson says about the song:
    This ballad dramatizes the Consestoga wagoners' plight when the railroad doomed their calling. I first learned of it in the twenties when a copy of the text came to me from an anonymous correspondent in Lancaster County. An accompanying note explained that it was sung to the tune of "Green on the Cape." Later, after a determined search for other versions, I located an old man, the son of a miller who had done business with Conestoga wagoners. He supplied the text and tune.

Any related songs, or any additional information on this song?
-Joe Offer-

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Subject: DT Corr: The Wagoners' Curse on the Railroad
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Jun 06 - 01:21 AM

There are a few typos and differences in the DT. Here's the lyrics as they're in Korson:


Come all ye bold wag'ners turn out man by man,
That's opposed to the railroad or any such a plan;
'Tis once I made money by driving my team
But the goods are now hauled on the railroad by steam.

May the devil get the fellow that invented the plan.
It'll ruin us poor wag'ners and every other man.
It spoils our plantations wherever it may cross,
And it ruins our markets, so we can't sell a hoss.

If we go to Philadelphia, inquiring for a load,
They'll tell us quite directly it's gone out on the railroad.
The rich folks, the plan they may justly admire,
But it ruins us poor wag'ners and it makes our taxes higher.

Our states they are indebted to keep them in repair,
Which causes us poor wag'ners to curse and to swear.
It ruins our landlords, it makes business worse,
And to every other nation it has only been a curse.

It ruins wheelwrights, blacksmiths, and every other trade,
So damned be all the railroads that ever was made.
It ruins our mechanics, what think you of it, then?
And it fills our country full of just a lot of great rich men.

The ships they will be coming with Irishmen by loads,
All with their picks and shovels, to work on the railroads;
When they get on the railroad, it is then that they are fixed;
They'll fight just like the devil with their cudgels and their sticks.

The American with safety can scarcely ever pass,
For they will blacken both his eyes for one word of his sass.
If it wasn't for the torment I as lief would be in hell,
As upon the cursed railroad, or upon the canal.

Come all ye bold wag'ners that have got good wives;
Go home to your farms and there spend your lives.
When your corn is all cribbed up and your small grain is sowed,
You'll have nothing else to do but just to curse the damned railroad.

From Pennylvania Songs and Legends, Korson
@work @labor @obsolete @teamster @railroad
filename[ WAGONCRS
RG apr96
The DT tune is exactly what's printed in Korson. It starts out like "The Rising of the Moon," but changes in the second line ot nothing that I recognize.

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