The Jam on Gerry’s Rocks

Laws C1

As sung by A. C. Hannah and collected and printed by Franz Rickaby.

Recording by Curtis & Loretta: 

Come all ye true-born shanty-boys, whoever that ye be,
I would have you pay attention and listen unto me,
Concerning a young shanty-boy, so tall, genteel, and brave.
‘Twas on a jam on Gerry’s Rocks he met a wat’ry grave.

It happened on a Sunday morn as you shall quickly hear.
Our logs were piled up mountain high, there being no one to keep them clear.
Our boss he cried, “Turn out, brave boys. Your hearts are void of fear.
We’ll break that jam on Gerry’s Rocks, and for Agonstown we’ll steer.”

Some of them were willing enough, but others they hung back,
‘Twas for to work on Sabbath they did not think ’twas right.
But six of our brave Canadian boys did volunteer to go
And break the jam on Gerry’s Rocks with their foreman, young Monroe.

They had not rolled off many logs when the boss to them did say,
I’d have you be on your guard, brave boys. That jam will soon give way.
But scarce the warning had he spoke when the jam did break and go,
And it carried away these six brave youths and their foreman, young Monroe.

When the rest of the shanty-boys these sad tidings came to hear,
To search for their dead comrades to the river they did steer.
One of these a headless body found, to their sad grief and woe,
Lay cut and mangled on the beach the head of young Monroe.

They took him from the water and smoothed down his raven hair.
There was one fair form amongst them, her cries would rend the air.
There was one fair form amongst them, a maid from Saginaw town.
Her sighs and cries would rend the skies for her lover that was drowned.

They buried him quite decently, being on the seventh of May,
Come all the rest of you shanty-boys, for your dead comrade pray.
‘Tis engraved on a little hemlock tree that at his head doth grow,
The name, the date, and the drowning of this hero, young Monroe.

Miss Clara was a noble girl, likewise this raftsman’s friend.
Her mother was the widow woman lived at the river’s bend.
The wages of her own true love the boss to her did pay,
And a liberal subscription she received from the shanty-boys next day.

Miss Clara did not long survive her great misery and grief.
In less than three months afterwards death came to her relief.
In less than three months afterwards she was called to go,
And her last request was granted — to be laid by young Monroe.

Come all the rest of ye shanty-men who would like to go and see,
On a little mound by the river’s bank there stands a hemlock tree.
The shanty-boys cut the woods all round. These lovers they lie low.
Here lies Miss Clara Dennison and her shanty-boy, Monroe.

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