Louise Manny records folksinger Wilmot Macdonald.

Louise Manny, with the assistance of Bessie Crocker, records folksinger Wilmot Macdonald.

Richard H. Smith
Louise Manny, Susan Butler
c. 1953
New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2007, Susan Butler Collection. All Rights Reserved.


Pretty Susan, sung by Angelo Dornan, was recorded at the 1959 Miramichi Folksong Festival.

PRETTY SUSAN

As sung by Angelo Dornan of Elgin, Albert County, in the 1959 Miramichi Folksong Festival.

When first from sea I landed I had a roving mind,
I rambled undaunted my true love to find.
Then I met pretty Susan with her cheeks like the rose,
And her skin was like the lilies fair or the flower that grows,
And her skin was like the lilies fair or the flower that grows.

Oh, a long time I courted her till I wasted my store,
Her love turned to hatred because I was poor,
She said: “I have another one whose fortune I’ll share,
So begone from pretty Susan, the Pride of Kildare,
So begone from pretty Susan, the Pride of Kildare.”

Broken-hearted next morning as I strolled by the way,
And I met pretty Susan with her young man so gay,
And as I passed by her with my heart full of care,
I sighed for pretty Susan, the pride of Kildare,
I sighed for pretty Susan, the pride of Kildare.

Once more to the ocean I’m resolved for to go,
I’m bound for the east’rd with my heart full of woe.
It’s there I’ll see pretty girls with jewels so rare,
But there’s none like pretty Susan, the pride of Kildare,
But there’s none like pretty Susan, the pride of Kildare.

(A last verse, which Mr. Dornan omitted at the Festival was collected from him by Dr. Helen Creighton in 1954. Mr. Dornan learned the song from his father, who in turn had learned it from an uncle.)

And now ‘tis farewell to my dear native shore,
To the green hills of Erin I’ll ramble no more,
And while I’m at a distance and burdened with care,
I’ll dream of pretty Susan, the Pride of Kildare,
I’ll dream of Pretty Susan, the Pride of Kildare.


Lyrics from Songs of the Miramichi, Louise Manny, 1968, pp. 279 - 280.

Unknown
Angelo Dornan
c. 1959
© 1962, Folkways Records & Service Corp., All Rights Reserved.


The Monk's Song, sung by Allan Kelly, was recorded at the 1959 Miramichi Folksong Festival.

THE MONK'S SONG

This enumerative song tells of a humorous misadventure. The song is widespread in Canada, its bouncing rhythm and funny words having assured its popularity. In humorous songs, it sometimes happened that the person ridiculed is a priest or a monk, as is the case here.

In the version presented here, the song’s refrain seems to imitate an Indian language. In fact, refrains by Acadians often included mock Indian words.


I found the fair one weeping on her bed:
“What ails you, fair one, that one can hear you so long
Tir la lire
One can hear you from ouiche tant ouiche
One can hear you from ouiche tant bais
One can hear you weep? (ter)

I have to milk seven cows and I am very sore
Tir la lire
And I am very sore ouiche tant ouiche
And I am very sore ouiche tant bais
And my fingers are very sore.

What would you give, fair one, if I milked them for you
Tir la lire
If I milked them for you ouiche tant ouiche
If I milked them for you ouichi tant bais
If I milked them for you?

A gentle kiss on the cheek and another one later
Tir la lire
And another one ouiche tant ouichi
And another one ouiche tant bais
Two if I have to.”

The monk took the pails and also the pints
Tir la lire
Also the pails to ouiche tant ouiche
Also the pails to ouiche tant bais
Also the milkpails.

“Come, come, come, come, Rougette, let me come near you
Tir la lire
So that I can ouiche tant ouiche
So that I can ouiche tant bais
So that I can milk you.”

The cow was wicked, she gave the monk a kick
Tir la lire
He fell on his back in ouiche tant ouiche
He fell on his back in ouiche tant bais
He fell on his back in the ditch.

His habit which was black was white before long
Tir la lire
It was white with ouiche tant ouiche
It was white with ouiche tant bais
It was white with milk.

The monk made a vow never to milk another
Tir la lire
Never to milk another ouiche tant ouiche
Never to milk another ouiche tant bais
Never to milk another cow.

- Helen Creighton, La Fleur du Rosier, pp. 170 - 171
Record: Folksongs of the Miramichi, Folkways, FM 4053

Unknown
Allan Kelly, Helen Creighton, Ronald Labelle
c. 1959
New Brunswick, CANADA
© 1962, Folkways Records & Service Corp.. All Rights Reserved.


Roger the Miller, sung by Stanley Macdonald, was recorded at the 1959 Miramichi Folksong Festival.

ROGER THE MILLER

(As sung by Stanley MacDonald of Black River Bridge in the Miramichi Folksong Festivals of 1958, 1961, 1962 and 1963.)

This extremely popular song is found in Colonial America as Tid the Grey Mare, or Johnny the Miller. It is said to have come originally from the West of England, but it probably came from Scotland to Miramichi. Alan Mills says Stanley’s version is one of the most complete variants found in North America.



Roger the Miller came courting of late,
The farmer’s young daughter called Beautiful Kate.
She had to her fortune fine linen and rings,
She had to her fortune full five hundred things,
She had for a fortune fine ribbons and gowns,
She had for a fortune,
She had for a fortune,
Yes, five hundred pounds.

Oh, the wedding being ready, the supper sat down,
Oh, what a fine fortune is five hundred pounds,
When up speaks young Roger, “I vow and declare,
Although that your daughter is charming and fair,
I won’t have your daughter, I vow and declare,
I won’t have your daughter,
I won’t have your daughter,
Without the grey mare.”

Oh, up speaks her father, unto him a steed,
“I thought that you’d marry my daughter indeed,
Now since that I found out that things they are so,
Once more in my pocket my money shall go,
You won’t have my daughter, I vow and declare,
You won’t have my daughter,
You won’t have my daughter,
Nor yet the grey mare.

Oh, the money being vanished, went out of sight,
And so did Miss Katie, his love and delight,
And Roger the scoundrel was kicked out of doors,
And told to be gone and return there no more;
So away he went, tearing his long yellow hair,
And wished he had never,
And wished he had never,
Spoke of the grey mare.

Oh, the years passed and gone, till one day on the street,
Oh, who did he chance but his Katie to meet?
“Good morning, Miss Katie, do you not know me?”
“Oh, yes, sir,” she said “I have seen you before,
Or one of your likeness with long yellow hair,
Who once came a-courting,
Who once came a-courting,
My father’s grey mare.”

“Oh, indeed, Miss Katie, you are much to blame,
It was for the courting of you that I came,
For to think that your father would have nor dispute,
To give unto me a grey mare for boot,
Before he would part with his dear lovely sun,
So now I am sorry,
So now I am sorry,
For what I have done.”

“Oh, your troubles,” said Katie, “I value them not,
There is plenty more in this town to be got,
For to think that a man would be in despair,
To marry a girl for the sake of a mare,
The price of a mare it was never so great,
So fare-you-well, Roger,
So fare-you-well, Roger,
Go mourn for your Kate.”
(Last four words spoken)

Lyrics in Songs of the Miramichi, Louise Manny, 1968, pp. 281 - 282.

Unknown
Stanley Macdonald
c. 1959
New Brunswick, CANADA
© 1962, Folkways Records & Service Corp. All Rights Reserved.


THE SONG OF A LUMBERJACK

You all know. My good friends who live comfortably,
I shall sing you an account of our worst miseries.
We have to go back to the shanties and leave behind all that is dear to us
In order to go to the woods like wolves and spend long winters there.

We all know, my good friends, that in these shanties, work never ceases;
We must work All saints Day, also the other holidays;
It’s the same for New Year’s Day, our master demands it.
If God does not exercise pity on me, I fear for my poor soul.

We also must wash our clothes that we not be eaten by the fleas,
Consider, my good friends, for this is a strange life;
That we must wash our clothes on the Lord’s day of Sunday.
Oh! I have finished my song even though it is Sunday.

Now my song has been sung; pass me the bottle
That I may salute the whole group when I salute the young lady.


THE SONG OF A LUMBERJACK

You all know. My good friends who live comfortably,
I shall sing you an account of our worst miseries.
We have to go back to the shanties and leave behind all that is dear to us
In order to go to the woods like wolves and spend long winters there.

We all know, my good friends, that in these shanties, work never ceases;
We must work All saints Day, also the other holidays;
It’s the same for New Year’s Day, our master demands it.
If God does not exercise pity on me, I fear for my poor soul.

We also must wash our clothes that we not be eaten by the fleas,
Consider, my good friends, for this is a strange life;
That we must wash our clothes on the Lord’s day of Sunday.
Oh! I have finished my song even though it is Sunday.

Now my song has been sung; pass me the bottle
That I may salute the whole group when I salute the young lady.

The interest of this song lies in the fact that it is of Canadian origin and that it describes living conditions in Canadian lumber camps of a past era. This version was sung by a former lumberman.

The song is known in Eastern Quebec and northern New Brunswick. Some versions are longer than this one, as the singers add personal details to the song. There are a few other local ballads of the same kind, describing the hardship or the loneliness endured by the men in the lumber camps.

- Helen Creighton, La Fleur du Rosier, 1988, pp. 231 - 232.

 


© 1988, University of Cape Breton Press. All Rights Reserved.

The Lumberman's Alphabet, sung by Wilmot Macdonald was recorded at the Miramichi Folksong Festival in 1959.

THE LUMBERMAN'S ALPHABET

A for the AXES, and that youse all know
B for the BYES that can use them also;
C for the CHOPPING which now begins,
And D for the DANGER that we do stand in,
And how merry are we.

Chorus:
No mortal on earth is as happy are we,
T’me hi derry, ho derry, hi derry down,
Give the shanty’s boys whiskey,
There’s nothin’ goes wrong.

E for the ECHO that rings through the woods,
F for the FOREMAN that bosses a job;
G for the GRINDSTONE we grind our axe on,
And H for the HANDLE so smooth wore around,
And how merry are we.

Chorus

I for the ILE we burn in our lamps,
J for the JOBLE that’s always inclined,
K for KEEN edges we all have to sleep,
And L for the LICE, boys, that’s o’er our shirts creep,
And how merry are we.

Chorus

M for the MOSS we stog in our camps,
N for the NEEDLE as we sew our pants,
O for the OWL that screeches by night,
And P for the tall PINE that we do slay right,
And how merry are we.

Chorus

Q for the QUARRELING that we don’t allow,
R for the RIVER where we make our bow,
S for the SLED built so stout and so strong,
And T for the big TEAM that hauls them along,
And how merry are we.

Chorus

U for the USES we put ourselves to,
V for the VALLEY’S we run our road through,
W is for the WOODS we leave in the spring,
And now I have sung all I’m going to sing.
And how merry are we.
Chorus

Wa-hoo! (Shouted)

-Louise Manny, Songs of Miramichi, pp. 265-267

Unknown
Wilmot Macdonald
c. 1959
New Brunswick, CANADA
© 1962, Folkways Records & Service Corp. All Rights Reserved.


THE JAM ON GERRY’S ROCK

Come all of you bold shanty boys,
And listen while I relate,
Concerning a young riverman
And his untimely fate,
Concerning a young river boss,
So handsome, true and brave,
‘Twas on the jam on Gerry’s Rock,
He met his watery grave.

“Twas on a Sunday morning,
As you will quickly hear,
Our logs were piled up mountain high,
We could not keep them clear,
Our foreman cried, “Turn out, brave boys,
With heart avoid of fear
We’ll break this jam on Gerry’s Rock,
And t’Ellington town we’ll steer.”

Now some of them were willing,
And more of them were not,
To break the jam on Sunday,
For they did not think they ought,
While six of our brave Canadian boys
Who volunteered to go
To break the jam on Gerry’s Rock,
With their foreman, young Munroe.

They worked there until nine o’clock,
When they heard this young voice say,
“I warn you, boys, be on your guard,
For the jam will soon give way.&rdq Read More
THE JAM ON GERRY’S ROCK

Come all of you bold shanty boys,
And listen while I relate,
Concerning a young riverman
And his untimely fate,
Concerning a young river boss,
So handsome, true and brave,
‘Twas on the jam on Gerry’s Rock,
He met his watery grave.

“Twas on a Sunday morning,
As you will quickly hear,
Our logs were piled up mountain high,
We could not keep them clear,
Our foreman cried, “Turn out, brave boys,
With heart avoid of fear
We’ll break this jam on Gerry’s Rock,
And t’Ellington town we’ll steer.”

Now some of them were willing,
And more of them were not,
To break the jam on Sunday,
For they did not think they ought,
While six of our brave Canadian boys
Who volunteered to go
To break the jam on Gerry’s Rock,
With their foreman, young Munroe.

They worked there until nine o’clock,
When they heard this young voice say,
“I warn you, boys, be on your guard,
For the jam will soon give way.”
Those words were scarcely spoken,
When the jam did break and go,
And it carried off these six fine youths
With their foreman, young Munroe.

Now when the rest of the shanty boys
The sad news they did hear,
In search of their brave comrades
To the river they did steer.
Meanwhile their mangled bodies
Down by the stream did flow,
While dead and bleeding near the bank
Was that of young Munroe.

They took him from his watery grave,
Brushed back his raven hair,
There was one fair girl amongst them,
Whose sad cries (rent the air?)
There was a fair girl amongst them
Who came from Shigna town
Her cries and mourn rose to the sky,
Her true love had gone down.

Fair Clara was a noble girl,
The riverman’s true friend,
Who with her widowed mother
Lived near the river’s bend.
The wages of her own true love
The boss to her did pay,
And the shanty boys made up for her,
A generous purse next day.

They buried him in sorrow’s death
‘Twas on the first of May,
In a green mound by the river side
Where grew a hemlock gray,
And graved upon the hemlock
Down by his grave did grow,
Was the name and date and the sad fate
Of her foreman, young Munroe.

Now Clara did not long survive,
Her heart broke with her grief,
And about six weeks later
Death came to her a leaf
And when at last the time had come
When she was called to go,
Her last request was granted,
To be laid by young Munroe.
The ballad of Gerry’s Rock is without doubt the most popular woods song of them all…It has been heard from New Brunswick to Michigan and beyond, and every locality claims it for its own, usually with the place-names altered to suit the claimant.

- Louise Manny, Songs of Miramichi, 1968. pp. 115 – 117.

© 1968, Brunswick Press. All Rights Reserved.

BRUCE’S LOG CABIN

Oh, the floor it was greasy, all covered with mud.
The dishes were dirty, and so was the grub.
The bed clothes were lousy; the straw it was damp;
Give boarders consumption in Bruce’s log camp.

(As recited by Wilbert Munn of Hayesville)

Through alders and boulders and bushes I tramped
‘Til I came to the place they call Bruce’s log camp.
I opened the door, what a sight met my eyes,
Some cursing, some swearing, and some telling lies.

A three-legged stool and a table to match,
And a door in the corner without any latch,
No lids on the stove and no oil in the lamps;
That is the description of Bruce’s log camp.

Get up in the morning with the stars in the skies,
They’re still cursing, still swearing, and still telling lies.
The boss he comes over and blows out the lamps,
And yells, “Get out to work or get out of the camp.”

(As given by Roy Hunter of Ludlow)

I am a young man, my name is Jack Burke.
When I came to this country I came to get work. Read More
BRUCE’S LOG CABIN

Oh, the floor it was greasy, all covered with mud.
The dishes were dirty, and so was the grub.
The bed clothes were lousy; the straw it was damp;
Give boarders consumption in Bruce’s log camp.

(As recited by Wilbert Munn of Hayesville)

Through alders and boulders and bushes I tramped
‘Til I came to the place they call Bruce’s log camp.
I opened the door, what a sight met my eyes,
Some cursing, some swearing, and some telling lies.

A three-legged stool and a table to match,
And a door in the corner without any latch,
No lids on the stove and no oil in the lamps;
That is the description of Bruce’s log camp.

Get up in the morning with the stars in the skies,
They’re still cursing, still swearing, and still telling lies.
The boss he comes over and blows out the lamps,
And yells, “Get out to work or get out of the camp.”

(As given by Roy Hunter of Ludlow)

I am a young man, my name is Jack Burke.
When I came to this country I came to get work.
Through alders and boulders and mud I have tramped
‘Til I came to the place they called Bruce’s log camp.

When I opened the door what a sight met my eyes;
Some were cursing and swearing and some telling lies.
The light it was out with no oil in the lamp;
It would give you consumption in Bruce’s log camp.

Get up in the morning with stars in the skies,
While old Pat McCloskey like a skunk in disguise,
He’d climb up the ladder and swing his oil lamp,
“Get out to work or get out of the camp.”


- It was the practice in Miramichi schools some years ago to have a recitation period on Friday afternoons, and some rural schools still adhere to this custom. These ‘reciting’ periods were eagerly looked forward to, and the pupils vied with each other for the distinction of memorizing the longest poem. The poems were often learned from the “Readers”, but more often than not pupils memorized by rote traditional ballads learned from their parents…

-Louise Manny, Songs of Miramichi, 1968,  pp. 66 – 67.


© 1968, Brunswick Press. All Rights Reserved.

Duffy's Hotel, Boiestown, on the right in this 1916 photo.

The Duffy Hotel was located directly opposite the railway station in Boiestown. The song, Duffy's Hotel, has made this hotel famous throughout New Brunswick. The building was destroyed by fire on March 24, 1927.

McNabb
Central New Brunswick Woodsmen's Museum
c. 1916
New Brunswick, CANADA
P54-15
© 2007, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. All Rights Reserved.


DUFFY’S HOTEL

If you’re longing for fun and enjoyment
Or inclined to go out on a spree,
Come along with me over to Boiestown
On the banks of the Miramichi.
You’ll meet with a royal reception;
My ‘ventures to you I’ll relate,
On the eighteenth of May I arrived here,
From Fred’ricton – come on the freight.

I’m employed with a man, Edmund Kenney,
A gentleman who you know well;
J.P. for the parish of Stanley,
And he put up at Duffy’s Hotel.

One night I went out on a party;
I tell you ‘twas something immense,
We collared a shanghi rooster,
And he just cost us seventeen cents,
He was sick with the croup and the measles,
They said he was too poor for to sell,
But I guess he made hash for the boarders
That put up at Duffy’s Hotel.

One night I went out on a party
Along with the rest of the boys.
We got plenty of peely island;
I tell you we made lots of noise.
We frightened the pigs up in Tugtown;
Caused the Pleasant Ridge dogs for Read More
DUFFY’S HOTEL

If you’re longing for fun and enjoyment
Or inclined to go out on a spree,
Come along with me over to Boiestown
On the banks of the Miramichi.
You’ll meet with a royal reception;
My ‘ventures to you I’ll relate,
On the eighteenth of May I arrived here,
From Fred’ricton – come on the freight.

I’m employed with a man, Edmund Kenney,
A gentleman who you know well;
J.P. for the parish of Stanley,
And he put up at Duffy’s Hotel.

One night I went out on a party;
I tell you ‘twas something immense,
We collared a shanghi rooster,
And he just cost us seventeen cents,
He was sick with the croup and the measles,
They said he was too poor for to sell,
But I guess he made hash for the boarders
That put up at Duffy’s Hotel.

One night I went out on a party
Along with the rest of the boys.
We got plenty of peely island;
I tell you we made lots of noise.
We frightened the pigs up in Tugtown;
Caused the Pleasant Ridge dogs for to yell,
And when we got kicked out of Hayesville,
We struck ‘er for Duffy’s Hotel.

One night I went out on a party;
‘Twas held in the mansion below,
A row was kicked up in the kitchen,
I tell you it wasn’t too slow.
We upset the chairs and the tables.
The windows and stove, too, they fell.
This row was kicked up by Delaney,
A boarder at Duffy’s Hotel.

Well, friends, I must bid you good evening
For fear you will think me a Turk.
If I linger ‘round here any longer
Some fellow might give me a jerk!
I’ll go back to the scenes of my childhood,
In peace and contentment to dwell;
Bid adieu to the kind entertainment
I met with at Duffy’s Hotel.
- This song, apparently a joint effort, describes riotous doings in Boiestown. It bristles with personalities calculated to nettle all those mentioned. Some connoisseurs call it a “spite song,” though it is probably just a story of things that happened, and not particularly malicious. Although these occurrences took place over eighty years ago, Boiestown people can identify most of the persons and places. Duffy’s Hotel used to be right across from the railway station in Boiestown.

- Louise Manny, Songs of Miramichi, 1968,  pp. 76 – 77.

© 1968, Brunswick Press. All Rights Reserved.

THE OLD NORTH SHORE

Please don’t take away the Old North Shore,
We’ll need them bye and bye.
Everybody in the Old North Shore, is willing to do or die.
Now what I mean to say is, that the Old North Shore
Is second to the Navy on the sea
And if it wasn’t for the Old North Shore,
Where would Shoreham be?

Have you ever heard the story of the Old North Shore?
If not, it’s time you did.
Some songs sell for Two and six, This tune’s worth have [half?]a quid.
It’s been sung in every pub along the whole South coast,
By A.T.S., W.A.A.F’s, and W.R.E.N’s as well.
Why it’s even reached our shores and they’re waiting there for more,
So raise your voice and yell.

We’ve been waiting over here about two years or more,
No fighting have we seen,
Though we came to fight for right,
For honour and liberty.
But soon the day will come, a second front we’ll see.
Our bitter foe will vanish like the dawn,
And though our hearts are pining, keep the old flag flying
The North S Read More

THE OLD NORTH SHORE

Please don’t take away the Old North Shore,
We’ll need them bye and bye.
Everybody in the Old North Shore, is willing to do or die.
Now what I mean to say is, that the Old North Shore
Is second to the Navy on the sea
And if it wasn’t for the Old North Shore,
Where would Shoreham be?

Have you ever heard the story of the Old North Shore?
If not, it’s time you did.
Some songs sell for Two and six, This tune’s worth have [half?]a quid.
It’s been sung in every pub along the whole South coast,
By A.T.S., W.A.A.F’s, and W.R.E.N’s as well.
Why it’s even reached our shores and they’re waiting there for more,
So raise your voice and yell.

We’ve been waiting over here about two years or more,
No fighting have we seen,
Though we came to fight for right,
For honour and liberty.
But soon the day will come, a second front we’ll see.
Our bitter foe will vanish like the dawn,
And though our hearts are pining, keep the old flag flying
The North Shore carries on.

There’s no need to worry ‘bout the Old North Shore,
Her flag’s still flying high.
But with six month’s drilling on the barrack square
Morale is none too high
We all love the Army, and P.T. is swell
Monotony will never get us down,
But give us just one chance, put us on the coast of France,
And watch the North Shores’ go to town.

Our CO is a man who doesn’t give a damn,
Neither does our Two ‘I’C.
The Company Commanders are hand picked men
They come from the Miramichi.
The 2 i/c’s of all the Rifle Companies
They never do a Gosh Damn thing,
If it wasn’t for the Subalterns
Where would the North Shore be?.

The above song was written by Corporal Howie Aube (Sp Company) of Bathurst NB.
Howie was a good soldier and was much admired for his singing and guitar prowess in his Regiment. He was killed in action at Cairon, France on the 11th June 1944.

Sent as an enclosure in a letter from Mr. T. F. Trythall, Music Department, University of New Brunswick to Lord Beaverbrook (11 December 1956)
Beaverbrook Papers, Case 42b, file 4b


© 2007, Archives & Special Collections, Harriet Irving Library, UNB. All Rights Reserved.

A FATEFUL DAY ARRIVED SUDDENLY

A fateful day suddenly arrived,
On the Intercolonial Railway, to a good citizen,
Coming from Acadieville early in the morning,
Unaware he was so close to his cruel end.

Early the same evening, a train would be passing,
To wait at a certain time, to take on passengers,
All found their way, all walked to board the train,
The unfortunate no doubt fell on the road.

The train, ready to move, departed suddenly,
Going on its way by order of the stationmaster,
Who, undoubtedly, had not seen, the unfortunate one who had fallen,
And the train on its way passed over him.

The train conductor gave the signal to stop,
While, with great regret, he noticed,
The state of the unfortunate one being crushed in two,
Judge, my dear colleagues, the state of this unhappy man.

The pain was intense when they had to wrest him,
From under the wheels of the carriages which had to pass over him,
To wrest him it was necessary to move him,
And, undoubtedly, to drag him onto the edge of the platform.

Linen Read More
A FATEFUL DAY ARRIVED SUDDENLY

A fateful day suddenly arrived,
On the Intercolonial Railway, to a good citizen,
Coming from Acadieville early in the morning,
Unaware he was so close to his cruel end.

Early the same evening, a train would be passing,
To wait at a certain time, to take on passengers,
All found their way, all walked to board the train,
The unfortunate no doubt fell on the road.

The train, ready to move, departed suddenly,
Going on its way by order of the stationmaster,
Who, undoubtedly, had not seen, the unfortunate one who had fallen,
And the train on its way passed over him.

The train conductor gave the signal to stop,
While, with great regret, he noticed,
The state of the unfortunate one being crushed in two,
Judge, my dear colleagues, the state of this unhappy man.

The pain was intense when they had to wrest him,
From under the wheels of the carriages which had to pass over him,
To wrest him it was necessary to move him,
And, undoubtedly, to drag him onto the edge of the platform.

Linen was prepared to shroud him,
And they had to put him on some planks to pass the night;
They consulted together carefully,
And they put him on some planks inside the station.

Early the same evening, a telegram was sent,
To the coroner, no doubt, to examine him;
He arrived the following morning,
He decided his death was an accident.

Let us contemplate together tha fate of the human species,
That a death leading us astray from our last bread;
Let us be careful to be well prepared,
Because God reserves the right to judge us.

Let us keep the memory amongst us to-day’
Of this cruel event of the eighteenth of August,
His name is a reminder to remember it better,
It is Joseph Johnston of Acadieville.

This local ballad seems to be extremely rare. No other version has been found anywhere. It tells of a fatal railway accident that took place in Acadieville, New Brunswick. The village of Acadieville is situated not far from Newcastle, where the song was collected.

The song is an excellent example of an Acadian local ballad. The subject of the ballad is presented in the first verse; in following ones, the tragedy is described; and at the end a comment is added about man’s cruel fate, and about a need to be prepared for death. Many ballads that commemorate tragedies have a clearly fatalistic message,

The rareness of this ballad makes it difficult to identify. We do know that its origin can be no earlier than 1876, year of the construction of the Intercolonial Railway, crossing New Brunswick from North to South. Many local ballads about tragedies were composed at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.

Helen Creighton, La Fleur du Rosier,  pp. 241-2


© 1988, University of Cape Breton Press. All Rights Reserved.

THE ESCUMINAC DISASTER by Bernadette Keating

(As sung by Bernadette Keating, of Chatham, at the 1959 Miramichi Folksong Festival, when she was thirteen years old.)

It was the nineteenth day of June it happened,
Nineteen and fifty-nine was the year,
In and around Escuminac
A sudden storm did appear.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

A number of men set out with their nets
That afternoon around three,
Some delayed, and they escaped
The perils of the sea.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

The waves were Oh! So very high,
Like mountains in the sea,
They slashed and tossed and ripped the boats
And wrecked the fishing fleet.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

Children and wives of the fishermen
Waited in despair,
Hoping and praying in tears of grief,
Some sign of life would be there.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

God granted some of the men should be saved,
And thirty-five would be drowned,
That most bodies would be washed ashore,
And a few might never be found.
Oh, wick Read More
THE ESCUMINAC DISASTER by Bernadette Keating

(As sung by Bernadette Keating, of Chatham, at the 1959 Miramichi Folksong Festival, when she was thirteen years old.)

It was the nineteenth day of June it happened,
Nineteen and fifty-nine was the year,
In and around Escuminac
A sudden storm did appear.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

A number of men set out with their nets
That afternoon around three,
Some delayed, and they escaped
The perils of the sea.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

The waves were Oh! So very high,
Like mountains in the sea,
They slashed and tossed and ripped the boats
And wrecked the fishing fleet.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

Children and wives of the fishermen
Waited in despair,
Hoping and praying in tears of grief,
Some sign of life would be there.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

God granted some of the men should be saved,
And thirty-five would be drowned,
That most bodies would be washed ashore,
And a few might never be found.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh wailing wind!

Stories were told of the brave and the bold,
How heroes were born that day;
Men who braved the winds and waves
Out in the Miramichi Bay.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

They in boats which had not capsized
Feared the dangers around,
Yet stayed to help their neighbours and friends,
Knowing some already drowned.
Oh wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

A young fisherman lad of eighteen years
Caught a rope which he was cast.
He passed it on to his brother and Dad,
Thinking of his own safety last.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

We shall never forget those disasterous hours
Of death, sadness and sorrow,
But we know that God in His infinite way
Will give courage to fleets of tomorrow.
On the afternoon of June 19,1959, fifty-four vessels sailed from Escuminac for the salmon fishing. It was fine when they went out, official broadcasts were predicting good weather. No one anticipated the freak storm which burst upon the fishing fleet that night. In the storm twenty-two of the salmon boats were lost, with nearly three-quarters of a million dollars worth of equipment. Thirty-five men and boys were drowned. The news of the two long nights and days of terror, and the heroism of the fishermen made a tremendous impact on the people of Miramichi.

In 1959 Bernadette Keating of Chatham was thirteen years old. She composed the words and music of her own song, the most beautiful of all the tributes to the heroism of the fishermen. It was very touching to see the child, in her simple school-girl’s dress, sharing her own deep emotion with a hushed audience.

- Louise Manny, Songs of Miramichi, pp. 92-93

© 1968, Brunswick Press. All Rights Reserved.

CHANSON SUR LE DÉSASTRE DE BAIE STE-ANNE [THE BAIE SAINTE-ANNE DISASTER]
(Composed and sung by Jerry Hébert, of Lagacéville, in 1959)

We have just heard the news
Of a terrible tragedy
That happened on the sea,
Bringing disaster and death
To the village of Baie Ste-Anne
And the village of Escuminac.
All over, one could see
Loops of black ribbon.
Along the shore could be seen
A panic-stricken people in tears,
Looking far off out to sea,
Waiting for those who did not come.

“Oh, Sea! Oh, Sea! You are deceptive,”
Said many while sobbing.
“Sometimes you look so beautiful,
But now you make us cry.
On sunny days you charm us,
You make us feel like singing,
But when your anger rises,
You cause us great grief.
You leave along the shore
Widows, and orphans too;
In their hearts, a great wound,
But you, you regret nothing.”

The residents of these villages
Were typical hard-working fishermen,
Going out to sea
To earn their living,
Their he Read More
CHANSON SUR LE DÉSASTRE DE BAIE STE-ANNE [THE BAIE SAINTE-ANNE DISASTER]
(Composed and sung by Jerry Hébert, of Lagacéville, in 1959)

We have just heard the news
Of a terrible tragedy
That happened on the sea,
Bringing disaster and death
To the village of Baie Ste-Anne
And the village of Escuminac.
All over, one could see
Loops of black ribbon.
Along the shore could be seen
A panic-stricken people in tears,
Looking far off out to sea,
Waiting for those who did not come.

“Oh, Sea! Oh, Sea! You are deceptive,”
Said many while sobbing.
“Sometimes you look so beautiful,
But now you make us cry.
On sunny days you charm us,
You make us feel like singing,
But when your anger rises,
You cause us great grief.
You leave along the shore
Widows, and orphans too;
In their hearts, a great wound,
But you, you regret nothing.”

The residents of these villages
Were typical hard-working fishermen,
Going out to sea
To earn their living,
Their hearts full of courage,
Always believing they would return.
Suddenly, a storm raged,
And 35 of them died;
Despite the sound of the storm
Mingled with the waves,
The voice of God could be heard:
“Come to me, all my children.”

And all of you listening to me,
I have some advice to give you,
Let us always be on our guard,
Because God will come visit us one day.
We never know
When He will come for us.
Better to take care,
For it is a fact plain and simple,
Here below, life for us is like
A great ocean,
Each day, on a small boat,
We drift toward eternity.

Jerry Hébert called his song Le Désastre de Baie Ste-Anne. Baie Ste-Anne is the French-speaking settlement south of Escuminac. Jerry had many friends there who were lost in the storm. Like so many of our song-makers, he felt irresistibly impelled to add his lament to the tributes to the dead fishermen. His song gives a fine description of the deceitful sea in its beauty and its rage, and ends with the philosophical reflection:

“Life itself is a great ocean
On which every day in our fragile bark
We move toward eternity.”

© 1968, Brunswick Press. All Rights Reserved.

The Murder of Timothy McCarthy: An Acadian Lament 

Come close, dear friends, come listen to
My song about a man named McCarthy,
Who was peacefully living in Moncton,
Never thinking his end was so near.
It was the twelfth of October when he took the train
To go buy a horse on the Island,
Passing through Shediac, on his way,
Never thinking his end was so near.
He went to the Weldons to find out
If the evening boat could take him across.
The wind was unfavourable, forcing him to wait,
And that’s what sealed his fate.
He went to the Osbornes to see all his friends,
When he was at the inn, he felt like he was at home.
“How misplaced was my trust, I only realized too late!”
The old woman said to Harry: “He has a lot of money,
How could we go about getting our hands on it?
Give him a carefully prepared powder
That will be just what we need.”

The old woman went into the inn to empty the vials.
She gave him a glass, a little bit of poison.
“One glass is all it will take
And we’ll Read More

The Murder of Timothy McCarthy: An Acadian Lament 

Come close, dear friends, come listen to
My song about a man named McCarthy,
Who was peacefully living in Moncton,
Never thinking his end was so near.
It was the twelfth of October when he took the train
To go buy a horse on the Island,
Passing through Shediac, on his way,
Never thinking his end was so near.
He went to the Weldons to find out
If the evening boat could take him across.
The wind was unfavourable, forcing him to wait,
And that’s what sealed his fate.
He went to the Osbornes to see all his friends,
When he was at the inn, he felt like he was at home.
“How misplaced was my trust, I only realized too late!”
The old woman said to Harry: “He has a lot of money,
How could we go about getting our hands on it?
Give him a carefully prepared powder
That will be just what we need.”

The old woman went into the inn to empty the vials.
She gave him a glass, a little bit of poison.
“One glass is all it will take
And we’ll have the money from his purse.”
When he drank this glass, he collapsed onto the counter,
His words were cut off.
He called for his wife and children.

And also a priest, of course.
The old woman said to Harry: “What shall we do with him?
If we let him live, he will turn us in.
Here, take this axe, and don’t you worry,
A single blow will finish him off.”
The first blow that was struck dropped him to the floor
Blood flowing from his ears, mouth, and nose.
God almighty, what a sight, it was dreadful!
Seeing this man bathed in his own blood.
Parker watched him, watched him while trembling.
The old woman stepped forward, she took his money.
“Here, there’s your share, and don’t you worry.
— Keep all your treasures, I don’t want any.”

Harry fetched the Bible and made Parker swear
Never to say where McCarthy could be found.
A cable and a rock will hold him,
On the river bottom he will stay.
Dear friends, if you want to travel,
Don’t go to the inn where McCarthy went.
Don’t show the money in your purse,
Or your own dear life will meet its end.


© 1977, Canadian Journal of Traditional Music. All Rights Reserved.

Locally composed songs constitute a field of study that has gone largely unexplored by French-Canadian folklorists. In fact, nothing has yet been published that can be compared, for example, to the excellent work by G. Malcolm Laws entitled Native American Balladry,1 whose first edition dates from 1950, or to the publications by Edward Ives on popular authors and their songs.2 Yet, there is abundant subject matter among the Acadians.

My interest in locally composed songs goes back to the beginning of my folkloric research. A few of the first songs I recorded in 1971 were local laments. I was impressed by their length and above all by the importance attributed to them by my sources. From that point on, my interest in this type of song kept growing. I am currently preparing a master’s thesis on that song category. It consists of a descriptive, historical, and comparative study of the laments composed by the Acadians of Prince Edward Island.

Before embarking on the topic of my presentation, I should offer a few brief observations on locally composed Acadian songs. Such songs are relatively numerous. Marius Barbeau wrote Read More

Locally composed songs constitute a field of study that has gone largely unexplored by French-Canadian folklorists. In fact, nothing has yet been published that can be compared, for example, to the excellent work by G. Malcolm Laws entitled Native American Balladry,1 whose first edition dates from 1950, or to the publications by Edward Ives on popular authors and their songs.2 Yet, there is abundant subject matter among the Acadians.

My interest in locally composed songs goes back to the beginning of my folkloric research. A few of the first songs I recorded in 1971 were local laments. I was impressed by their length and above all by the importance attributed to them by my sources. From that point on, my interest in this type of song kept growing. I am currently preparing a master’s thesis on that song category. It consists of a descriptive, historical, and comparative study of the laments composed by the Acadians of Prince Edward Island.

Before embarking on the topic of my presentation, I should offer a few brief observations on locally composed Acadian songs. Such songs are relatively numerous. Marius Barbeau wrote in 1937 that the Acadian repertoire of folk songs includes many more songs of local composition than does the Quebec repertoire. According to him, such pieces represent more than 20 percent of the repertoire.3 Local songs remain popular in the Acadian repertoire because they are still being collected in fairly high numbers. It is interesting to note that it is possible to record ones that date back more than a century and a half and others that were composed just recently.

Our locally composed songs contain a whole range of themes. Most fall into three categories: 1) satirical songs or songs of popular sanction, 2) laments, and 3) songs composed to mark special events, comical incidents, etc.

Laments are songs composed to commemorate tragic events. Most of the time, in Acadia, they deal with drownings, road and work accidents, fires, and nostalgia. Overall, laments do not make up the largest category of local songs in terms of number. However, it is this category that, to date, has garnered more attention from folklorists.

The topic of the lament I have chosen is the 1877 murder of Timothy McCarthy in Shediac, New Brunswick. It should be mentioned that Acadian laments based on this type of event are relatively rare.

The story behind this mysterious tragedy is a fascinating one. People back then did not soon forget it. Even a century later, the story lives on in a lament and a legend.

Here is the event as described in the newspapers at the time. On November 3, 1877, the Daily Times of Moncton was seeking information concerning Timothy McCarthy, a Moncton hotelkeeper, who had disappeared on October 12. He had last been seen at the Weldon Hotel in Shediac, where he had left his horse in the care of the groom.

In early December, Sheriff Botsford from Shediac began an investigation into the disappearance. Various bits and pieces of information were gathered. Some witnesses had seen him at the Weldon Hotel, others at the Waverly House, an establishment maintained by the Osborne family, who were good acquaintances of Timothy McCarthy. According to several sources, McCarthy was en route to Prince Edward Island where he wanted to buy a horse. At the time, the passenger boat between the Island and the mainland travelled from Shediac to Summerside.

At the start of the investigation, people were unsure how to interpret the disappearance. A newspaper published in Shediac, Le Moniteur Acadien, asked in its December 13th issue whether the disappearance was a case of murder, suicide, or flight. It was known that McCarthy was experiencing marital problems. According to general opinion, it was fully possible that McCarthy had simply temporarily left his wife.

The key account came from Annie Parker, a servant at the Waverly House. She told the sheriff that McCarthy had come to the inn at around 9 o’clock on the evening of October 12. He had had a conversation with Mrs. Osborne and her daughter, Eliza, during which he had shown them a wad of banknotes that he had in his possession. He had left the inn at around 10 o’clock, and that was the last time she had seen him.

She went on to say that she had gone to bed at around 11 o’clock and that, at midnight, she had heard a man come in. She recognized McCarthy’s voice. He went to the bar. The servant heard the voice of Mrs. Osborne and those of her children, Harry and Eliza. She heard them talking until two or three o’clock in the morning. Between one and two o’clock, she heard an unusual gasp coming from the bar. Shortly afterward, she heard Mrs. Osborne tell her son to go hitch the horse to the carriage, which he did. When Harry came back into the house, she heard Mrs. Osborne and her children walking from the bar to the front door as though they were carrying something heavy. Later she watched from her bedroom window as the carriage drove off toward the steam mill, She thought she saw a large package in the back of the carriage. Still, according to the servant, the carriage returned half an hour later. Lastly, she said that, the following week, she had found a roll of banknotes in the inn’s kitchen cupboard. As for Mr. Osborne, he had been confined to bed following an illness. He had not met McCarthy. In short, those are the details that Annie Parker gave to the sheriff and the justice of the peace on December 4 and 5, 1877.4

January 19th of the following year was a turning point in the McCarthy affair. That day, Annie Parker, who had been boarding for a few days with Mrs. McCarthy in Moncton, made some new statements. She admitted that, during her first statement, she had not told the whole story. She revealed that she had seen McCarthy being drugged and struck with an axe by Mrs. Osborne and her son, Harry, that Mrs. Osborne had taken all of his money, and that Harry had gone to throw the body into the Scoudouc River after attaching a large stone to its neck. She also said that Harry had made her swear on the Bible never to reveal what had happened.

As soon as she made this statement, Edward McCarthy, the brother of the missing person, demanded that the Osborne family be placed under arrest. Accordingly, Mr. and Mrs. Osborne and their children, Harry and Eliza, were imprisoned.

The preliminary inquiry soon got under way. During her testimony, Annie Parker justified her first statement by saying that she wanted to “see if the people of Moncton could unearth a murder.”5 She was then incarcerated for having indirectly participated in McCarthy’s murder.

Two months before the trial began, on May 11, 1878, the body of the missing man was found floating in the Scoudouc River, near the location indicated by the servant in her statement.

The discovery of McCarthy’s body both confirmed and contradicted Annie Parker’s revelations. The body was found at almost the exact spot she had indicated. The physicians responsible for the autopsy expressed the opinion that McCarthy had been dead before being thrown into the river. However, there were no marks to show that he had been held at the bottom of the river by a stone attached to his neck. Moreover, McCarthy’s overcoat that the servant swore she had seen in the inn after the evening of the murder was in fact still on the cadaver when it was recovered from the river.

Annie Parker’s words were thrown in doubt after this important find. Also, her less than admirable behaviour at the hearing could not help but reduce people’s confidence in her statements. In that regard, an article in Le Moniteur Acadien stated: “It must be said that the flippancy, the giggling, the misplaced quips that characterized her testimony did not exactly create a good impression in favour of Parker.”6

The trial began on July 18, 1878, and lasted five weeks. A total of 118 witnesses were called. The main witness was unquestionably Annie Parker. Despite her contradictions and her somewhat immature conduct before the court, she was evidently an outstanding witness. Here is how the local press described her:

“The centre of attraction in this whole affair is Annie Parker. The outcome of the trial rests on how much credence the jury gives to her testimony. She saw the murder being committed; she even participated in it indirectly. Her evidence is detailed and direct, and a large number of facts corroborate it. Only her personal character is not very commendable. That detracts from the weight of her statement considerably.

As a witness, Annie has already become famous. The lawyers, as they say, are powerless against her. She disconcerts even the cleverest among them. She triumphs under cross-examination and cannot be made to contradict herself on anything.

The young woman’s observational skills are quite surprising. The most minute details did not escape her. She tells and writes down everything: places, distances, positions, nooks and crannies, dress, everything that it was possible to observe. On the geographical map, she shows the judge and the lawyers a thing or two. She has a ready answer to every relevant question, and a question is no sooner asked than it is answered. As soon as the lawyer utters his first word, she understands the direction in which he wants to go, and, extraordinarily for an uneducated person, answers only that which needs to be answered, without ever contradicting herself.

Nothing disconcerts her, nothing embarrasses her, nothing surprises her. Sitting alone in court, she is just as comfortable as she would be telling a story to her girlfriends and joking around with them.

Annie Parker is very young – just 17 or 18. She was born in Quebec of a French-Canadian mother. She speaks French easily; her English is not good and is spoken with a French accent. Moreover, as we saw her in court, such is she in private. However, she has developed a broad streak of vanity: she believes herself to be an important figure and speaks only about sending this one or that one to prison; she believes her life to be in danger and demands a bodyguard.7

One person’s testimony that elicited a good deal of attention was that of Agnès Buchanan, a friend of Annie Parker. She revealed a secret that her friend had confided in her. The secret was that Mrs. McCarthy had allegedly promised Annie to keep her like a lady if she would swear that the Osbornes had killed McCarthy.”8

The jury was unable to reach a verdict. Ten of the jurors wanted to find the Osbornes guilty, while two wanted to acquit.

A second trial was necessary. It too lasted five weeks, from November 12 to December 19, 1878. However, the new jurors were unable to agree on a verdict either. The newspaper Le Moniteur Acadien wrote that seven of the jurors apparently believed that they were guilty and five, that they should be released.9 Following that trial, Mr. Osborne and his daughter Eliza were released on their own recognizance. Annie was later released as well.

The final phase in the McCarthy-Osborne affair began in January 1879 when the situation reversed itself and the Osbornes became litigants. They accused Annie Parker of committing perjury during both trials. At the time of her arrest, she was still living at Mrs. McCarthy’s. However, there was no third trial owing to legal complications. In the end, the charges against the Osbornes were dropped, and they were all released.

Annie Parker took advantage of her celebrity (the McCarthy affair had attracted the attention of the provincial, the national, and even the international press) to earn a little money. In August 1879, she published an announcement in the Saint John Globe stating that Miss Annie Parker wishes to announce to the public that she will be at the Dorchester Hotel in this city, on the corner of Dorchester and Sewell streets, for one week, where she can be seen from 9:50 to 11:50 a.m., and from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission 25 to 40 cents.10

This mysterious drama haunted the public for a long time. The newspapers still mentioned it 13 years later. In 1890, Le Moniteur Acadien said, “This tragedy, more shrouded in mystery now than ever, sometimes resurfaces and preoccupies people’s minds.”11

A drama as moving and as spectacular as this one could only leave a strong impression on the residents of southeastern New Brunswick. A blacksmith from College Bridge in the Memramcook Valley, named Honoré Leblanc (1845-1925), even came up with the idea of composing a lament on the subject.

The composition entered into popular tradition. Handed down orally to the present time, it spread well beyond the Memramcook region. When I did my research for this study during the winter of 1976, I was able to inventory 16 versions conserved in different archives. Most are from southeastern New Brunswick, i.e., Kent and Westmorland counties. Also, one version was collected in the Gaspé and three were collected on Prince Edward Island. It is interesting to note that the first version was collected at Port-Daniel in the Gaspé, in 1923,by Marius Barbeau. At the beginning of this article, I provide an aesthetic version of the song that I reconstructed after a meticulous comparative study of the 16 versions I had found in the archives. The melody is from the version collected from Mrs. Evéline Arsenault-Filion of Montreal, formerly of Cocagne, New Brunswick.12 Like most locally composed songs, the song’s melody is borrowed from a pre-existing air. Here, the air used as the melody is from the traditional French song Le départ du soldat: le glas, the title matching that in the Catalogue de la chanson folklorique française by Conrad Laforte.13

As to its form, the lament contains 12 heterometric quatrains. The first two lines of each are alexandrine while the last two are decasyllabic. The rhyme scheme is nonalternating, often with assonance of the“é” or “an” sounds.

The narrative element is very important in this song, although the author allows characters in the drama to speak on five occasions.. As is usual with laments, the first verse invites people to listen to the song. In the same verse, the victim is identified and his fate revealed. The body of the song is devoted to telling the story, which is reported in detail. The last verse serves as a warning. The author warns travellers not to stop at the same inn where McCarthy was assassinated, and especially not to reveal the contents of their purse in public, because that money, like their lives, might very well remain there.

According to Exelda Leblanc, granddaughter of the author of the lament, her grandfather had read the story of the McCarthy affair in the newspapers. That is quite plausible since most of the facts related in the song are consistent with Annie Parker’s statement at the preliminary inquiry of January 21, 1878, published in some detail a few days later in Le Moniteur Acadien.14 The only detail that does not appear in the reports on the inquiries and trials is found in the last line of the seventh verse, where the author says that McCarthy asked for a priest after drinking the poison. In all likelihood, the author made that up. As for why he would do that, could it be that he simply wanted to embellish, if not idealize, the victim’s image?

With his song, Honoré Leblanc acknowledges the truth of Annie Parker’s testimony and attributes responsibility for the murder to the Osbornes. It would be interesting to know whether the author composed the lament before the trial was over or after the accused had been released and the charges dropped. If it was not composed until after the trial, then it must be concluded that Honoré Leblanc was convinced the Osbornes were the actual murderers. Whatever the case, a century after the tragedy, the Osbornes are still held responsible, through the lament, for the death of Timothy McCarthy.

The comparative study of the 16 versions of this lament showed that it was fairly well conserved. Thirteen versions contain at least 7 of the 12 verses, and three of them contain all 12.

As with all songs handed down orally over the course of a century, numerous variations have arisen. For example, the names Weldon and Osborne are often distorted and sometimes interchanged. Also, a few lines are very unstable such that their meaning varies from one version to the next. Indeed, without the historical documents such as those published in Le Moniteur Acadien, it would probably have been difficult, if not impossible, to determine the original meaning. This considerable instability of certain lines is likely due to the weakness of the original text. Yet certain lines and details are surprisingly stable. For example, the date of the murder is October 12 in all of the versions.

At the beginning of my article, I said that the story of McCarthy’s murder has also been passed down through a legend. Since that is a topic I am unable to discuss in this article, I will merely say that several legendary tales relating to the murder have been collected recently in southeastern New Brunswick by Catherine Jolicoeur, who has been conducting intensive research into Acadian legends for some time now. By going through the legendary tales she has collected, I discovered that the lament had made it possible for this legend to be passed on and preserved.

In closing, I have to say that, in my opinion, the song Le meurtre de Timothy McCarthy is one of the most interesting Acadian laments of local composition. It could even be said that the story is just as captivating as many laments from the Middle Ages. For Acadian singers, it would be even more meaningful than the old French laments because it brings to mind a tragic event that is much closer to them in time and space.


1 Rev. ed., Philadelphia, American Folklore Society, 1964.
2 Larry Gorman: The Man Who Made the Songs (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1964); Lawence Doyle: The Farmer-Poet of Prince Edward Island: A Study in Local Songmaking (Orono: Univ. of Maine Press, 1971).
3 Marius Barbeau, Romancero du Canada (Montreal: Editions Beauchemin, 1937), p. 184.
4 Le Moniteur Acadien, December 13, 1877, p. 2.
5 Ibid., January 24, 1878, p. 1 [Translation].
6 Ibid., May 23, 1878, p. 2 [Translation].
7 lbid., August l, 1878, pp. 2 and 3 [Translation].
8 Ibid., August 15, 1878, p. 2 [Translation].
9 Ibid., December 19, 1878, p. 2.
10 The French translation of the announcement was published in Le Moniteur Acadien on August 21, 1889, p. 4.
11 Le Moniteur Acadien, October 14, 1890, p. 3 [Translation].
12 Centre d'études acadiennes, Père Anselme Chiasson collection, recording 1228. The musical transcription is by Charlotte Cormier, ethnomusicologist at the C.E.A.
13 Quebec City, Les Presses Universitaires Laval, 1958.
14 Le Moniteur Acadien, January 24, 1878, pp. 1 and 2. 


© 1977, Canadian Journal of Traditional Music. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

Learners will become familiar with the types of traditional folk songs common across New Brunswick. 

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