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Lost Boys of East Bay

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The Lost Boys of East Bay

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The Lost Boys of East Bay
(Probably written by Harry Evans in 1894.)

Theres a story so sad I'm about to relate,
Of a ship that has left here and gone to her fate,
Of the fatherless children and the mothers who wait,
The news of their loved ones and  their hard cruel fate.

cho: Oh, your hearts will turn towards them in  pity, I know,
     When the surf beats loud and the stormy winds blow.
     Let their friends look towards Heaven, where their spirits today
     Look down on their sad homes on the shores of East Bay.

'Twas the year '94 on an October day"
They sailed from their homes on the shores of East Bay."
Not a thought of their fate as the farewell they say"
As each kissed some loved one and sailed from the Bay."

But the saddest of all in the tale I now tell,"
How the storm swept Sand Island like the furies of Hell,"
How each raging sea left it's victims that day,"
Those sixteen brave lads from the shores of East Bay."

Oh, that mother who's left without husband or son"
To cheer her at evening when the day's work is done."
But those kind-hearted men will go out never more,"
In struggle to drive the grim wolf from the door."

Note: The song seems localized to the Panama City area only
     but did go into tradition there and was still sung 50
     or more years later.
      Florida has a considerable traditional stock of songs,
     including many Child ballads. Unsurprisingly, most are
     imported in this century from from other states, rather
     than having long histories here.
      "The Lost Boys of East Bay" is interesting to me, even
     though it lacks brilliance in poetry and is multiple cliched
     in the tune. It hasn't had much time to be honed by the folk
     process, but is a rare indigenous song, dealing with actual
     events and which quickly passed into tradition.
10/1/1894: Huricane sweeps the west coast of Florida causing considerable
damage.  The events of this song occur near my in-laws home in Panama City
in the Florida panhandle.  East Bay is the east end of St George's Sound.
Sand Island is (or was) in the unprotected area at the mouth of the Sound.

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