*The Harry Hayward Song (new material)

(Collated from the versions printed by Burt and the 1924 Minneapolis Journal. The tune is “The Fatal Wedding” by Gussie L. Davis, which was published in 1895, two years before the Ging murder.)

Minneapolis was excited, and for many miles around,
For a terrible crime committed, just a mile or so from town.
It was a cold and winter’s eve the villain did reply
“Tonight she takes that fatal ride and she shall have to die.”

Chorus:
The stars were shining brightly and the moon had passed away.
The road was dark and lonely when found dead where she lay.
Then tell the tale of a criminal, Kit was his promised bride.
Just another sin to answer for, just another fatal ride.

When for pleasure she went riding little did she know her fate
That took place on that lonely night on the road near Calhoun Lake.
She was shot while in the buggy, and beaten, ’tis true to speak,
Until all life had vanished, then was cast into the street.

He was at heart a criminal, but a coward of a man,
And so he sought another to execute his plan.
It was a cold and bloody plot, likewise a terrible sin
To take a life so kind and true as she had been to him.

ADDENDUM: Since the Heritage Songbook was printed, I have re-read James Taylor Dunn’s article “A Century of Song: Popular Music in Minnesota,” which appeared on pp. 122-141 of the Winter 1974 issue of Minnesota History magazine.

Gussie Davis

Gussie Davis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Page 141 of this article refers to a song called “The Fatal Ride. The article declares “It was written in 1895 by one ‘Marius’ to words by Joseph Vincent Brookes who, according to the Brainerd Weekly Journal, was formerly in the restaurant business in that city and locally celebrated as a ‘tragic poet.’ The front page of this song describing the notorious murder in Minneapolis of Kitty Ging by Harry Hayward was said to have been decorated ‘with a very fine picture of the buckskin horse and the carriage that were used when Miss Ging rode to her death.'”

Dunn never located the sheet music to “The Fatal Ride,” and I have not managed to find it either, but clearly it is this song. Thus we can now say that the Harry Hayward Song has lyrics by Joseph Vincent Brookes. This does not change the fact that the tune is “The Fatal Wedding”; the use of the obvious pseudonym “Marius” is a transparent attempt to cover the fact that Brookes used an existing tune — in this case, “The Fatal Wedding,” which had been published only two years earlier and was very popular.

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