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Red Iron Ore

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Red Iron Ore

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Red Iron Ore

Come all you bold sailors that follow the Lakes
On an iron ore vessel your living to make.
I shipped in Chicago, bid adieu to the shore,
Bound away to Escanaba for red iron ore.
  Derry down, down, down derry down.

In the month of September, the seventeenth day,
Two dollars and a quarter is all they would pay,
And on Monday morning the Bridgeport did take
The E. C. Roberts out in the Lake.
  Derry down, down, down derry down.

The wind from the southard sprang up a fresh breeze,
And away through Lake Michigan the Roberts did sneeze
Down through Lake Michigan the Roberts did roar,
And on Friday morning we passed through death's door.
   Derry down, down, down derry down.

This packet she showled across the mouth of Green Bay,
And before her cutwater she dashed the white spray,
We rounded the snad point, and anchor let go,
We furled in our canvas and the watch went below
   Derry down, down, down derry down.

Next morning we have alongside the Exile
And soon was made fast to an iron ore pile,
They lowered their chutes and like thunder did roar,
They spouted into us that red iron ore.
   Derry down, down, down derry down.

Some sailors took shovels while others got spades,
And some took wheelbarrows, each man to his trade.
We looked like red devils, our fingers got sore.
We cursed Escanaba and that damned iron ore.
   Derry down, down, down derry down.

The tug Escanaba she towed out the Minch
The Roberts she thought she had left in a pinch
And as she passed by us she bid us good-bye
Saying, "We'll meet you in Cleveland next Fourth of July."
  Derry down, down, down derry down.

Through Louse Island it blew a fresh breeze,
We made the Foxes, the Beavers, the Skillageles;
We flew by the Minch for to show her the way
And she ne'er hove in sight till we were off Thunder Bay.
  Derry down, down, down derry down.

Across Saginaw Bay the Roberts did ride
With the dark and deep water rolling over her side.
And now for Port Huron the Roberts must go,
Where the tug Kate Williams she took us in tow,
   Derry down, down, down derry down.

We went through North Passage---O Lord, how it blew!
And all 'round the Dummy a large fleet there came too
The night being dark, Old Nick it would scare
We hove up next morning and for Clevelend did steer.
  Derry down, down, down derry down.

Now the Roberts is in Cleveland, made fast stem and stern
And over the bottle we'll spin a big yarn.
But Captain Harvey Shannon had ought to stand treat
For getting into Cleveland ahead of the fleet.
   Derry down down, down derry down.

Now my song it is ended, I hope you won't laugh.
Our dunnage is packed and all hands are paid off.
Here's a health to the Roberts, she's staunch, strong and true,
Nor forgotten the bold boys that comprise her crew.
  Derry down, down, down derry down.

from Folk Songs Out of Wisconsin, Peters
DT #612
Laws D9
Sung by M. C. Dean, Virginia , Minneso
used the same tune and refrain as is oft@
Bulls. Death's Door is the treacherous @
of  Door  County  and  Washington  Isl:
justifiably)  feared  by  Great  Lakes
nineteenth century.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III