Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

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

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Obtained in 1935 from Mrs. Clyde Best, West Branch This song was written by the Reverend Ben Best concerning the arrest and conviction of his brother Anson for the murder of Vera Schneider at Pontiac, Michigan, in 1920. Anson Best and his family maintain his innocence and say that his confession was ob­tained through use of the third degree. The song is sung to the tune of 'The Red River Valley."
1    As I sit by the fireside a-thmking Of my brother who's far, far away
In a lonesome cell at Marquette prison All these long, long years has had to stay.
2    O how well I remember that parting When I bid my dear brother goodbye, For I know in that safeguarded prison That poor Anson must suffer and die.
3    There's a poor mother's heart that is breaking For her boy that was taken away;
O may God answer prayers of his children And bring Anson back with mother to stay.
4    Mother's steps they are fast growing feeble, And her locks they have turned silver-gray, But she knows that her boy is not guilty Of the crime that has taken him away.
5    But those cruel heartless police of Oakland County Used a method they call the third degree;
Then they said, "If you don't sign this paper, We will hang you to that old maple tree."
6    With a hand that was trembling and shaking As his spirit was broken but true,
Anson signed those papers that evening Thinking then that his troubles were few.
7 He never had a chance to read those papers, Never knew if they were false or true

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