Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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Disasters
301
123 THREE GIRLS DROWNED
Mrs. Jane Phelps Coon of Waterford, Pennsylvania, a grandniece of the Luanda Phelps of this song, sent "an original copy of die song," "Three Voices from the Grave," which is more than twice the length of the Michigan text, although the story remains the same. Mrs Coons located the tragedy in "the little branch of French Creek near Drake's Mills," in 1849, and said that Lucinda Phelps was born on Phelps Hill between Waterford and McLane and is buried near there
The present version was sung in 1934 by Mr. E. W. Harns, Greenville, who learned the song from his mother. Mr Harns said that these girls were drowned in Elk Creek, which ran through his parents1 farm in Erie County, Pennsylvania. His parents knew the girls, who lived only a few miles from their farm when this tragedy took place in 1849.
i In western Pennsylvania fair. At Washington three ladies were, All teachers in a Sabbath school Where children learn the Golden Rule. To Gravel Run * the three did ride, To God's own house they did repair With young John Ash to worship there.2
2 They heard the gospel's joyful sound, And they took the sacramental wine And broke the bread for the last time. Bright forked lightning flashed around While awful thunder shook the ground. "This is the voice of God on high, Ye living men, prepare to die.
xThe name of a country church.
2 The melody for the last three lines of the stanza is the same as for the first three.







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