Saturday, January 5, 2008

"The Song of Harry Orchard”

Excerpt from American Murder Ballads by Olive Woolley Burt

During the time that she (Olive Woolley Burt) worked at the Deseret News as an editor, a man came in to sell a story. She decided against using it, but he replied that inasmuch as he had been a prospector, rancher, and sheepherder, he must know something that would be of interest to her. She asked about murder ballads. “My father was a great singer,” he replied. “Used to sing all the time around the campfire, even at real parties and such. Give me a day or two and I'm sure I can recollect some of his songs." Within a day or so, he brought in seven verses of "The Song of Harry Orchard.”

Harry Orchard is in prison,

The reason you all know;

He killed Frank Steunenberg

Right here in Idyho.

He set his bomb out carefully,

He did not hesitate;

It blew poor Frank to Kingdom Come

When he tried to shut the gate.

Harry says he has killed others,

For them my heart it bleeds;

He should pray for God’s forgiveness

For his terrible misdeeds.

Harry blamed the Wobblies,

And maybe he spoke true,

For no one on this earth can tell

What such a band will do.

The chiefs were brought from Denver,

The were shanghaied as you know;

Bill Haywood and George Pettibone

Were brought to Idyho.

Clarence Darrow stood to shield them;

The result it was so sure,

Bill Haywood and his comrades

Free men walked out the door.

Now listen all you young men;

The lesson it is plain,

Just be prepared to pay the cost

When you set a bomb for gain.

Tools of an Assassin

Items at the ISHS History Museum

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