Arrival of the Greenhorn
(John A. "Old Put" Stone)
I've just got in across the Plains; I'm poorer than a snail,
My mules all died, but poor old Clip I pulled in by the tail;
I fed him last at Chimney Rock, that's where the grass gave out,
I'm proud to tell, we stood it well, along the Truckee route.
But I'm very weak and lean, though I started plump and fat.
How I wish I had the gold machine, I left back on the Platte!
And a pair of striped bedtick pants, my Sally made for me
To wear while digging after gold; and when I left says she,
"Here, take the laudanum with you Sam, to check the diaree."
When I left Missouri River, with my California rig,
I had a shovel, pick and pan, the tools they used to dig;
My mules gave out along the Platte, where they got alkalied,
And I sick with the "di-a-ree," my laudanum by my side.
When I reached the little Blue, I'd one boot and a shoe,
Which I thought by greasing once or twice, would last me nearly through;
I had needles, thread and pills, which my mammy did prescribe,
And a flint-lock musket full, to shoot the Digger tribe,
But I left them all on Goose Creek where I freely did imbibe.
I joined in with a train from Pike; at Independence Rock,
The Indians came in that night, stampeded all their stock;
They laughed at me said, "Go a-foot," but soon they stopped their fun,
For my old mule was left behind so poor he could not run.
So I packed my fancy nag, for the rest I could not wait,
And I traveled up Sweet Water, till I came to Devil's Gate;
When my mule gave out in sight of where I started in the morn,
I'd have given all my boots and shoes if I had not been born,
Or I'd rather stripped at New Orleans, to swim around the Horn.
I arrived at Salt Lake City, on the 18th of July,
Old Brigham Young was on a "bust," he swore they'd never die;
I went to see the Jordan, with a lady, God forgive her;
She took me to the water's edge, and shoved me in the river;
I crawled out and started on, and managed very well,
Until I struck the Humboldt, which I thought was nearly hell;
The Lord got through late Saturday night, he'd finished all around,
But would not work on Sunday, so he run it in the ground.
The Peyouts stole what grub I had, they left me not a bite,
And now the devil was to pay-the Desert was in sight;
And as the people passed along, they'd say to me, "You fool,
You'll never get through in the world, unless you leave that mule."
But I pushed, pulled and coaxed, till I finally made a start,
And his bones, they squeaked and rattled so, I thought he'd fall apart;
I killed a buzzard now and then, gave Clip the legs and head.
We crossed the Truckee thirty times, but not a tear was shed,
We crossed the summit, took the trail, that to Nevada led.
When I got to Sacramento, I got on a little tight,
I lodged aboard the Prison brig, one-half a day and night;
I vamoosed when I got ashore, went to the Northern mines,
There found the saying very true, "All is not gold that shines."
I dug, packed and chopped, and have drifted night and day,
But I haven't struck a single lead, that wo
Wear high-heeled boots, well blacked, instead of rubbers, No. twelves;
But let them come and try it, `till they satisfy themselves.
Words, John A. "Old Put" Stone, 1855; tune, "Jeanette and Jeanot."
Printed in Lingenfelter & Dwyer, "Songs of the American West," 1968.