Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

Southern Appalachians songs with lyrics, commentary & some sheet music.

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Ballads and Songs
LEO FRANK AND MARY PHAGAN See "Leo Frank and Mary Phagan" by Franklyn Bliss Snyder, Journal^ XXXI, 264. Mr. Snyder thinks that this song "represents a piece of folk­lore 'in the making.'" He had it from Miss Helen L. Duncan, of Chicago, "who took it down from recitation while she was a visitor at the Muscoda Mines, Bessemer, Alabama." The singer was a Georgian who could neither "read or write and made no claim to the authorship of what he sang." Miss Duncan states that before she got the ballad from this singer "she had heard
it in various forms from a number of different people...........and that
no one had ever seen it in print." The present song seems to have sufficient variation from the Alabama version to make it worth while to print it for the sake of further study of a piece of folk-lore "in the making." The names of the judge and watchman in the present song differ from the names of the same persons in the Alabama version. No mention of a solicitor is made in the present song. Verbal changes are frequent. Cf. also "Farm Life, "Ju^ 1927, p. 14.
"Mary Fagen." Obtained from Miss Mary E. King, Gatlinburg, Sevier County, Tennessee, Aug. 12, 1929, who had it from Miss Maud King, Sevierville, Tennessee.
1.  Litde Mary Fagen,
She went to town one day: She went to the pencil factory To get her weekly pay.
2.  She left her home at eleven; She kissed her mother goodbye; Not once did the poor girl think She was going off to die.
3. Leo Frank met her
With a brutish heart and grin; He says to litde Mary: "You'll never see home again."
4. Down on her knees fell To Leo Frank and pled.
He picked a stick from the trash pile And beat her o *er the head.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III