Come all you true-born shanty boys,
Wherever you may be,
Come sit you on the deacon seat
And listen to me.
I'll sing the jam on Gerry's Rock
And a hero you should know,
The bravest of all shanty-boys,
The foreman, Young Monroe.
2. It was on a Sunday morning,
As you will quickly hear,
Our logs were piled mountain high,
We could not keep them clear.
Our foreman said: "Come, cheer up, lads,
With heart relieved of fear,
We'll break the jam on Gerry's Rock
And for Saginaw we'll steer."
3. Now some of them were willing,
While others they were not,
For to work on jams on Sunday
They did not think we ought;
But six of our Canuck boys
Did volunteer to go
And break the jam on Gerry's Rock,
With the foreman, Young Monroe.
4. They had not rolled off many logs
When they heard his clear voice say:
"I'd have you lads on your guard,
For the jam will soon give way."
These words were hardly spoken
When the mass did break and go,
And it carried of those six brave lads,
And their foreman, Young Monroe.
5. When the rest of our shanty-boys,
The sad news came to hear,
In search of their dead comrades,
To the river they did steer.
Some of the mangled bodies
A-floating down did go,
While crushed and bleeding near the bank
Was that of Young Monroe.
6. They took him from his watery grave,
Smoothed back his raven hair;
There was one fair girl among them
Whose sad cries rent the air;
There was one fair form among them,
A maid from Saginaw town,
Whose moans and cries rose to the skies,
For her true lover who'd gone down.
7. For Clara was a nice young girl,
The riverman's true friend;
She with her widowed mother dear,
Lived near the river's bend.
The wages of her own true love
The boss to her did pay,
And the shanty-boys for her made up
A generous purse next day.
8. They buried him with sorrow deep,
'Twas on the first of May,
Come all you brave shanty-boys
And for your comrade pray.
Engraved upon a hemlock tree
That by the grave did grow,
Was the name and date of the sad fate
Of the foreman, Young Monroe.
9. Fair Clara did not long survive;
Her heart broke with her grief,
And scarcely two months later
Death came to her relief.
And when this time had passed away
And she was called to go,
Her last request was granted,
To rest beside Young Monroe.
10. Come all you brave shanty-boys:
I would have you call and see
Those two green mounds by the riverside,
Where grows the hemlock tree.
The shanty-boys cleared off the wood,
By the lovers there laid low:
'Twas handsome Clara Vernon
And our foreman, Young Monroe.