The Jam On Gerry's Rock

Cat. #0168 (MFH #314) - As sung by Mr. Fred Smith, Bentonville, Arkansas on June 23, 1958

Come all of you bold shanty boys
And list while I relate
Concerning a young riverman
And his untimely fate
Concerning a bold shanty boy
So manly too and brave
T'was at the jam at Gerrys Rock
He met his watery grave

T'was one bright Sundays morning
As you will quickly hear
Th logs were piling mountain high
We could not keep them clear
Th foreman cried, turn out brave lads
With hearts devoided of fear
We'll break th jam at Gerrys Rock
For Higginstown we'll steer

Some of th boys were willing
While others they were not
Fer to work on jams on Sunday
They did not think we ought
But some of our Canadain boys
Did volunteer to go
And break th jam at Gerrys Rock
With their foreman, young Monroe

They had not rolled off many logs
Till they heard his clear voice sing,
I'll have you boys be on your guard
For th jam 'll soon give way
These words were scarcely spoken
When th mass did break an' go
And it carried away th six brave youths
With their foreman, young Monroe

Rest of these bold shanty boys
This sad news come to hear
In search of their dead comrades
For th river they did steer
Some of the mangled bodies
A floating down did go
But crushed and bleeding near the shore
Was th form of young Monroe

They dragged him from his watery grave
Brushed back his raven hair
There one fair form among them
Whose sad cries rung th air
There was one fair form among them
A maid from Sagnaw town
Whose lonesome cries rose to th skies
For her true love who'd gone down

Fair Clara was this young girls name
Th rivermens true friend
She and her widowed Mother dear
Lived at th rivers bend
Th wages of her own true love
The boss to her did pay
And the shanty boys, for her made up
A generous purse next day

They buried him with sorrow deep
T'was on th first of May
Come all of you bold shanty boys
And for your comrades pray
Engraved upon a hemlock tree
That near the grave did grow
Was th name and date of th sad, sad fate
Of th shanty boy Monroe

Fair Clara did not long survive
Her heart broke with th grief
And scarcely two months past away
Death came to her relief
And when th time had passed away
And she was called to go
Her last request was granted to
Be laid by young Monroe