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Rowan County Crew


Come all you fathers and mothers,
And brothers, sisters, too;
I'll relate to you the history
Of the Rowan County Crew;
Concerning bloody Rowan
And many needless deeds
Now friends, please give attention,
Remember how it reads.

It was in the month of August,
All on election day,
John Morton, he was wounded,
They say by Johnny Day.
Old Morton couldn't believe it,
He could not think it so.
His thought was Floyd Tolliver
Who struck the fatal blow.

Oh Morton, he recovered;
Some months had come and passed.
All in the town of Morehead,
These men they met at last.
Old Morton had a friend or two,
About the street did walk,
He seemed to be uneasy;
No one he wished to talk.

He walked in Judge Carriage's grocery
And stepped up to the bar,
But little did he think
He'd met his fatal hour.
The sting of death was near him
As Morton rushed in the door,
And a few words passed
Concerning the row before.

The people being frightened
Rushed out of the room,
And the ball from Morton's pistol
Laid Tolliver in the tomb.
His friends they gathered around him,
A wife to weep and wail,
And Morton was soon arrested
And confined in jail.

He was put in jail of Rowan
And there to remain awhile;
In the hands of law and justice
To bravely stand a trial.
The people talked of lynching him
But presently they did fail,
Some of his friends removed him
To the Winchester jail.

Some persons forged an order,
Their names I do not know,
And the plan was soon agreed upon
And for Morton they did go.
They slipped the handcuffs on him,
His heart was in distress;
They hurried to the station,
Stepped on the night express.

All along the line she lumbered
All at her usual speed,
There was only two in number
To commit this awful deed.
Old Morton in the smoking car
Accompanied by his wife,
They did not want her present
When they took her husband's life.

When they arrived at Farmer's,
They had no time to lose;
And a band approached the engineer
And forbid him not to move.
They stepped up to the prisoner
With pistols in their hand,
In death, he soon was sinking
He died an Ireland band. (1)

His wife heard the sound,
She was in another car.
She cried "Oh Lord, they've killed him!"
When she heard the pistol fire.
The death of these two men
Cause trouble in the land;
Caused men to leave their families
And take the parting hand.

Our relations are still at war,
May never, never cease.
Oh, if I could see our loved ones
Once more in peace.
They shot and killed a deputy sheriff,
Bumgardner was his name;
They shot him from the bushes
After taking deliberate aim.

The death of him was dreadful,
May never be forgot;
His body was pierced and torn
By thirty-three buckshot.
They shot and killed Sol Bradley,
A sober and innocent man,
They left his wife and children
To do the best they can.

They wounded young Ed Sizemore,
Although his life did save;
He seemed to dodge the grog shops
That stood so near his grave.

(1) Should be sung as "He died in iron bands"

Long Time Coming © 1999 - 2001