This song was sent to us by
Nelson Forsyth (Showman), Rockdale, Milam Co, Texas.
My name it is Sanford Burns, I came from Nobilville town,
I traveled this wide world over, I traveled this wide world around;
I met with ups and downs in life, but better days I saw.
But I never know'd what misery was till I came to Arkansaw.
I landed in St. Louis with ten dollars and no more;
I read the daily papers till my eyes were sore;
I read the evening papers until at last I saw
Where ten thousand men were wanted In the state of Arkansaw.
I wiped my eyes in great surprise w-nen I read this grateful news,
And straightway off I started to the agent Billy Hughs;
he says, pay to me five dollars and a ticket for you I draw,
And land you safely on the railroad for the state of Arkansaw.
It was in the year of '82, in the merry month of June,
That I landed in Forth Smith, one sultry afternoon.
So up stepped a walking skeleton, with a long and lantern jaw,
And invited me to his hotel, the best in Arkansaw.
I followed my conductor and to his dwelling place,
Where poverty was pictured in his melancholy face;
His bread it was corn dodgers, and the beef I couldn't chew,
This was the kind of hash they fed me in the state of Arkansaw.
I started off next morning to catch the early train;
He says to me, you better work, for I have some land to drain;
I pay you fifty cents a day, your board, washing and all,
And you'll find yourself a different man when you leave old Arkansaw.
I worked six weeks for the son-of-a-gun Jess Harren was his name),
Six foot sewn in his stocking feet, as tall as any crane;
His hair hung down in rat-tails over his long and lantern jaw;
He's the photograph of all the gents that lived in Arkansaw,
He fed me on corn dodger as hard as any rock,
'Till my teeth began to loosen and my knees began to knock;
I got so thin on sassafras tea I could hide behind a straw.
Indeed I was a different man when I left old Arkansaw.
Farewell to swamp angels, to cane brakes and to chills.
Farewell to sage and sassafras and the corn dodger pills;
If ever I see that land again I give to you my paw,
It will be through a telescope from here to Arkansaw.
I jumped aboard the evening train a quarter after five,
I started for St. Louis half dead and half alive;
I bought a quart of whiskey, my misery to thaw,
And I got as drunk as a boiled owl when I left old Arkansaw.