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Woods Music Collection

Identifier: MF180

Scope and Contents

These are all accessions containing songs from or about the lumberwoods. However, only six belong to this specific collection, the rest (in the related materials note) are from other collections.


  • Creation: 1959-1970

Conditions Governing Access

For digitized items free from access restrictions, we are working to upload this material (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) for public access, but it is an ongoing project. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, contact Special Collections (

Conditions Governing Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. No known restrictions on material.


6 items

Language of Materials



NA0213 Various, interviewed by John Johnson, Machias, Maine. Paper deals with lumbering stories; song; local characters; legends: Wreck of the Van Duzen; tall tales. Text: 11 pp. paper.

NA0219 Mike Gorman, recorded by Marion Kimball for American Folklore, summer 1959. Paper titled "A Miscellany of Poems and Stories Concerning the Penobscot River Lumberjack." Songs by Mike Gorman. Text: 56 pp. paper.

NA0225 James William “Bill” Cramp, interviewed by George R. Keller, October 1964, Oakland, Maine. Keller, then secretary of the Waterville, Maine, YMCA, sent the recording to Edward D. “Sandy” Ives. Camp tells stories concerning Kelly the Swede; the Dead Indian; the Lost Cookee; gorbies and moosebirds; and a few others; and sings songs including “The Depot Camp,” “The Blackwater Side,” “Miss Fogarty’s Cake,” “The Plain Golden Band,” “The West Branch Song” [“John Roberts”], “The Lad from Tyrone,” “Boys of the Island,” “The Last Fierce Charge,” “The Dying Ranger,” “Pat Malone Forgot That He Was Dead,” “When Murphy Ran For Mayor,” “The Flying Cloud,” “McNulty's Family,” “Gay Spanish Maid,” “The Old Elm Tree,” “The Face on the Barroom Floor,” and a song about a train going to Albany. Also included: personal correspondence. Text: 31 pp. partial transcript. Recording: mfc_na0225_t0232_01&02, mfc_na0225_t0233_01&02 1 hour.

NA0248 By Pearl Longley, Bridgewater and Mexico, Maine. Paper deals with collection of songs sung by collector’s mother, originally from Centerville, New Brunswick. Text: 43 pp. paper.

NA0573 George MacArthur, interviewed by Ralph Rinzler, fall 1969, Grand Lake Stream, Maine. Paper deals with George MacArthur: his songs and stories. Song: “Woodcutter’s Alphabet,” by George MacArthur. Parody of “Lumberman’s Alphabet.” Text: 11 pp. catalog. Recording: mfc_na0573_t0291_01-mfc_na0573_t0297_01 7 hours.

NA0588 Nic Underhill, Sam Jagoe, Wilmot MacDonald, others, recorded by Peter Shepheard, August 1970, at the Miramichi Folksong Festival in Newcastle, New Brunswick; Wilmot MacDonald, Lena MacDonald, Bob Ireland, and Flo Ireland, interviewed by Peter Shepheard, 1970, Glenwood and Newcastle, New Brunswick. Dubbed from Shepheard’s recordings by Edward D. “Sandy” Ives March 18, 1971. The narrators sing songs; tell stories; talks about local singers from Miramichi region. Song 1: “It being early in September in 1873...,” by Nic Underhill. Song about lumbering in Miramichi. Song 2: “James Robinson,” by Nic Underhill. Song written by informant about lumber camp. Song 3: “You Choppers Likewise Tenting Attention to Me Pay,” by Nic Underhill. Song about lumbering. Text: 114 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na0588_t0331_01&02, mfc_na0588_t0332_01&02 4 hours.

Existence and Location of Originals

Located at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: AFC 2012/047

Related Materials

Related 29 series from various other collections:

NA0001 Various, interviewed by Margaret Adams for CP 180, spring 1962, Houlton, Maine and Boiestown, New Brunswick. Folklore materials collected as a class project by Margaret Adams in Houlton, Maine, and Boiestown, New Brunswick. Accession includes typewritten stories, songs, jokes, and legends. Songs include an untitled song (“In the Spring of ‘62”?), “The Letter Edged in Black,” “The Jones Boys,” “The Winter of ‘73” (“McCullom Camp”), and “On the Bridge at Avignon.” Tall tales deal with Tom McKee, a Civil War soldier, and a deer story. Forerunners tell of seeing unexplained lights, bad luck, and other happenings. One sheet lists beliefs. Tales and legends include the legend of the Buck Monument in Bucksport, several haunted house stories, a banshee, premonitions, several devil stories, a Frenchman’s joke about “God Lover Oil,” and a Lubec minister’s scheme for extracting gold from sea water. Text: 50 pp. paper. [“The Winter of ‘73,” McCullam Camp, by Alvin Carroll. Singer heard it when he worked in lumber camps. Added note says probably from a printed source.]

NA0022 Various, interviewed by Sara Brooks for CP 180, spring 1962, Island Falls and Sherman Mills, Mills, Maine. Paper deals with devil stories; superstitions; tall tales; legends; jokes; ballads by Ed W. Rand; legends of the Machias area. Also included: map of New England. Text: 84 pp. paper. [“Among the Pines of Maine,” by Ed.W. Rand. Mr. Rand worked in the logging woods starting when he was 18 (1897). Song about longing for home as are several others by this singer. e.s. “The Girl I loved.....” and “Down on the Farm”. It seems to be a theme, perhaps because these songs were sung in a lumber camp. “The Girl I Loved in Sunny Tennessee,” by Ed. W. Rand. He said that every night the men would ask him to sing and that they always requested this song as the last number.]

NA0179 Various interviewed by Geraldine Hegeman, Dolores Daigle, and Marilyn Daigle for CP 180, fall 1962, Fort Kent, Caribou, Allagash, Castine, Madawaska, and Presque Isle, Maine; New Brunswick. Accession includes two tape reels and supplemental documentation. Paper deals with ghost stories and devil stories; place name lore; jokes (many “off color”); word play examples; anecdotes of local people (such as John Stadig, counterfeiter); French songs; Indian legends; folk heroes; Papineau stories (Papino); Kluscap legends; folk songs (some in French); black medicine for babies; Maliseet Indian lore; primarily stories of Kluscap (Glooscap) told in the Maliseet language, “The Lost Hunters and the Corpse Chewer,” “The Man Who Married the Nun,” “How the Trappers Broke the Spell,” and a song “The Indian’s Lament.” See Northeast Folklore VI (1964): “Malecite and Passamaquoddy Tales.” Text: 205 pp. paper. Recording: T 0228 - T 0229 / CD 0591.1 - CD 0591.2 4 hours French and Maliseet. [“Shanty Boys,” by Isaic Gardiner. This song was about 50 years old or older at the time it was collected. It was sung by men in lumber camps. It originated in a lumber camp in Allagash.]

NA0193 Ernie McCarthy and Christopher Dolan, interviewed by Kay Hayes for CP 180, Blackville, New Brunswick, July 1965. McCarthy and Dolan sing songs including “Mantle of Green,” “India’s Burning Sands,” “Howard Carey,” “Bashful Country Lover,” “Norway Bum,” “Sally Monroe,” “Jail Song,” “Poisoned Brothers,” “Two Lovers’ Discussion,” “Handsome Janie Ferguson,” “The Dirty Shirt,“ ”Whiskey in the Jar,” “Mother, the Queen of My Heart,” “Peter Emberly,” “Young Donald,” “Barbary Allen,” and “Harry Harrison” and talk about several stories and legends including a devil story. Text: 62 pp. paper. Recording: T 0230 / PM 0019 - PM 0021 / CD 0017 - CD 0018 1.5 hours. [“Peter Emberly,” sung by Christopher Dolan. A dying lumberman from PEI recalls his life and his family.]

NA0194 Various, interviewed by Ethel Hamilton for CP 180, summer 1965, Dalhousie, New Brunswick. Paper deals with legends; phantom ship; place names; treasure story; songs. Text: 48 pp. paper. [“Sullivan Murder,” by Manny Monzello. Song Mr. Monzello heard while working in the woods. Song about a man in a jail cell regretting having murdered a widow and her son. Song 2: “The Jam on Gerry’s Rock,” by Margaret Hamilton. Collector’s mother had song written in book but didn’t know where it came from. The song is about six lumbermen who are killed along with the young foreman on a log jam on Gerry’s Rock.]

NA0196 Various, interviewed by Bernita Harris for CP 180, summer 1965, Fredericton and Grand Manan, New Brunswick. Paper deals with ghost dog; witch in rabbit; headless horseman; haunted house; ghost stories; place names; devil stories: card players, refuses to go through town; forerunners; buried treasure; anecdotes; tall tales; songs. Text: 66 pp. paper. [“Loggin’ Song,” by Helena Damery. Informant was a cook for a gang of 28 Frenchmen, probably heard it there. Alternate title “Lumberman’s Alphabet.”]

NA0217 Various, interviewed by Nola Johnson for CP 133, fall 1966, UMaine, Orono, Maine. Paper deals with ghost stories: Penobscot Hall, Kents Hill ghost; Joe Ware, Indian hunter; counting rhymes. Text: 25 pp. paper. [“The Legend of the St. John River,” by Earl Atkinson. Informant learned this song while he was a cook in lumber camps along the Charlo River.]

NA0270 Various, interviewed by Elsie McIntosh for CP 180, summer 1965, Glassville, Ketchum Ridge, New Brunswick. Paper deals with tall tales; songs; ghost tales; legends: Injun devil; local characters; child left in high chair. Text: 65 pp. paper. [“The Lumberman’s Dream.” Set to the tune of “My Bonnie.” Moniker song from the lumber camp that the informant cooked for.]

NA0271 Various, interviewed by Gladys McLaughlin for CP 180, summer 1965, Andersonville, Oak Bay, Chamcock, St. Stephen, and Lawrence Station, New Brunswick. Paper deals with ghost stories: ghost rock, Dungarvon Whooper; devil stories: devil and card players; place names; local legends; local characters; tall tales; ballads. Variations on the St. John River Song. Text: 56 pp. total. Song: “Alimeda [Alameda?],” by Earl Atkinson. Song comes from lumber camps up around River [Charlo?]. Song set in California about a woman who kills her own sister out of jealously.

NA0278 Various, interviewed by Clair Michaud for CP 180, fall 1962, Monticello, Maine. Paper deals with tall tales; devil story; witch story; ghost; jokes; forerunners; folk hero: George Knox. Text: 36 pp. paper. [“The Blacksmith’s Little Boy,” by Ashley Brewer, niformant could not remember exactly where he had heard this song, but he had worked in the woods and thought he might have learned it there.]

NA0360 Various, interviewed by Gladys Somes for CP 180, spring 1960, Edgecomb, Newcastle, and Damariscotta, Maine. Paper deals with remedies and cures; superstitions; forerunners; proverbs; weather; jokes; songs; local legends. Also included: s ballad clipped from a paper. Text: 51 pp. paper, newspaper clipping. Photo: P 8327. [“Lumberman’s Lament,” by James R. Bragg. Song about old woodsman.]

NA0525 Ernest B. Lord, interviewed by Douglas Baston for FO 134, spring 1969, Wells, Maine. Paper deals with a collection of Lord’s songs, which he sings for his grandchildren; includes poems and rhymes, traditional songs by Charlie DeWitt. [“The Boston Burglar.” Mr. Lord heard this song in a lumbercamp in the winter of 1913 or 1914. Text: 39 pp. text. Recording: PM 0445.]

NA0568 Harry Harold Dyer, interviewed by Jeanne Milton, April 1, 1970, Caribou, Maine. Dyer, retired lumberman, his life as recorded and written by his granddaughter, discusses woods work in the early twentieth century; working for the Fraser Lumber Company; description of a lumber camp; walking to work; progression of the cutting; ice carts to ice roads; his responsibilities at age 14; hauling yards; labor-saving techniques; making a gum book; salt pork for lunch; sings “Johnny Doyle” (lumbering song) and “The Bloody Waterloo;” and plays harmonica and trots the feet, “Devil’s Dream,” “Money Musk,” “Casey Jones,” and “Yankee Doodle.” Text: 15 pp. transcript, plus 19 pp. biography and 5 pp. interviewer notes. Recording: T 0288, T 0289 / PM 0109.

NA0575 Asa Flagg, inteviewed by Rhoda Mitchell for FO 107, October & November 1970, Carthage, Maine. Accession includes a cassette tape with the three interviews, a paper describing the fieldwork, and transcripts of the interviews. Flagg, a retired woodsman (b. 1898), talks about lumber camps; Sunday pastimes; cooks and cookees; getting hired; oxen and horses; singing and music; log jams; sorting; yarding; skidding; sluicing; meals; ax handles; Christmas; card playing and other entertainment; weather and frostbite; outhouses; the dingle; getting paid; camp facilities; hunting; nicknames; fighting; transportation; tools; the wangan; teams and teamsters; sleds and harnesses; swampers; marking logs; scalers and scaling; blacksmiths; scraping roads; conditions; fiddling; dancing; and sings “Guy Reed,” “Floyd Collins” and “Lumberman’s Alphabet.” Text: 118 pp. transcript (pp. 112 - 118 missing). Recording: T 0299 / PM 0189 2 hours.

NA0581 Harry Dyer, interviewed by Jeanne Milton for FO 107, October and November 1970, Caribou, Maine. Dyer, a retired lumberman, talks about his life. Text: 81 pp. transcript. Recording: T 0306, T 0307 / PM 0110 - PM 0112 4 hours. Photos: P 1014 - P 1016. [“Johnny Doyle,” sung by Harry Dyer. Lumbering song.]

NA0665 George Edwards and others, Norman Cazden, Catskills, New York. Edwards and other sing songs. Text: 24 pp. transcript with brief catalog. Recording: T 0363 1 hour. [“A Shantyman’s Life,” by George Edwards, a lumbering song. Song 2: “Cutting Down the Pines,” by George Edwards, lumbering song.]

NA0717 Ralph Thornton, interviewed by Wayne Bean for FO 107, 1972 and 1973, Topsfield, Maine. Series of interviews with Thornton, 87, talks about local history of Topsfield; woods work and river work; songs; stories. Also included: brief biographical sketch of Thornton. Text: 792 pp. transcript with brief catalog. Recording: T 0473 - T 0501 13 hours. Photos: P 0447 - P 0449, P 1812 - P 1847. [“Ballad of Ann Briggs,” sung by Ralph Thornton. Song fragment about funny incident in lumbercamp. “Dan Lane’s Crew,” sung by Ralph Thornton. Song about a lumber camp.]

NA1956 Lester White, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, spring 1986, East Andover, Maine. 10 pp. Tapes: 1 1/2 hrs. w/ brief cat. White, age 75, talks about his experiences working in the woods and on river drives in Western Maine. He describes the types of songs, music and dancing that he remembers from the logging camps. Also includes Mr. White singing and playing the harmonica. Text: brief catalog. Recording: T 1948, T 1949 1 1/2 hours. Harmonica Tunes Melody, Lester White. 1967 rerecording of informant playing harmonica, includes: “Poddy on the Turnpike”, “Put Your Little Foot”, “Girl I Left Behind Me”, “BG on the Banjo”, “Boston Fancy”, “St. Anne’s Reel”, “Blue Skirt Waltz”, “Little Brown Jug”, “Pop Goes the Weasel”, “Wabash Canon Ball”, “Old Spinning Wheel in the Parlor”, “Wildwood Flower”, “Redwing”, “Irish Washwoman”, “Under the Double Eagle”, and “The Woodsman’s Reel”.

NA2232 Jim Cahill, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Moscow, Maine. 15 pp. Tape: 65 minutes with transcript. Cahill talks about living in the woods camps as a boy with his family; working in the woods camps as a boy with his family; working in the woods on the drives on the Kennebec. Some MUSIC. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0862, CD 2147 65 minutes. [“Jam on Gerry’s Rock,” sung by Jim Cahill. A lumber song. “Just Before the Battle, Mother,” sung by Jim Cahill. This song was sung in the lumber camps.]

NA2233 Eddie Rollins, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Moscow, Maine. 13 pp. Tape: 40 minutes approx. with transcript. Rollins, who worked in the woods and on river drives as a young man in the upper Kennebec area, sings on the tape songs such as: “Spring of 65,” The Red River Shore,” “Hungry Hash House,” “Peter Emberley,” and several others. LOTS OF MUSIC.Text: transcript. Recording: C 0863, CD 2148 40 minutes approx.

NA2234 Linwood Brown, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Alexander, Maine. 16 pp. Tape: 45 minutes with transcript. Brown worked in the woods and on river drives as a young man in the upper Kennebec area. Text: 1 pp. index, 38 pp. transcript. Recording: C 0864 - C 0865, CD 0938 - CD 0941 45 minutes. [“Come all ye jolly lumbermen...,” sung by Brown. Only first verse - lumbering song. “Come all you jolly lumberment that mean to pay your bills...” sung by Brown. About life in the lumber camps. “Guy Reed,” sung by Brown. Lumbering song. A man gets killed trying to get the logs in.]

NA2235 Joseph Walker, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Fort Fairfield, Maine. 26 pp. Tape: 145 minutes with transcript. Walker talks about life in the lumbercamps as a young man; his mother working as camp cook; working on St. John River and Chiemticook Stream. Lots of Music! Text: transcript. Recording: C 0866.1, C 0866.2, CD 2149 145 minutes. [”The Moncton Tragedy,” sung by Joseph Walker. Informant learned this song in the lumbering woods.]

NA2236 Calvin Hafford, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Allagash, Maine. 14 pp. Tape: 45 minutes with transcript. Hafford, who worked in the woods around the St. John and Allagash Rivers, describes the work and the lifestyle and sings several songs. Music on recording. Track: 10 Wild Winds that Crossed. Track: 13 Androscoggin Shore. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0867, CD 2150 45 minutes. [“Shanty Boys” (track 07), sung by Hafford. This song is about lumbering in the woods. “The Bogan Brook Line, “ sung by Hafford. Song about a local place on the Allagash River. It’s about working in the lumber woods. “The Bogan Brook Line.” Song about a local place on the Allagash River. It’s about working in the lumber woods.]

NA2237 Frank Dowling, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Machias, Maine. 11 pp. Tape: 1 with transcript. Dowling talks about life in the woods; the camps around the Machias River and Grand Lake Stream; teaching school; and working for the Maine Central Railroad. No music. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0868, CD 2151. [“Cremation of Sam McGee,” by Frank Dowling. Mentioned as being sung in the lumber camps.]

NA2238 Newell Beam, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Machias, Maine. 23 pp. Tape: 1 with transcript. Beam discusses lumbering on the Machias; the song “Jam on Gerry’s Rock,” and sings it. Lots of music. Text: transcript. Recording: C 0869, CD 2152. Track: 07 Shanty Boys. Track: 09 Old Arm Chair (not to be confused w/ Old Rocking Chair). Track: 16 Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake (funny). Track: 19 story of other chair song. Track: 20 “The Silvery Colorado.” Track: 21 Recitation of “French farmer from Canada.”

NA2240 David Calder, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Skowhegan, Maine. 13 pp. Tape: 1 with transcript. Calder discusses the last years of riverdriving; the transition to using trucks for hauling; worked for the Kennebec Log Driving Company; sings “The Last Drive” (track 07). Text: transcript. Recording: C 0871, CD 2154.

NA2241 Lester White, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, East Andover, Maine. Tape: 2 with no transcript. White plays the harmonica and discusses working in the woods. Lots of music. Text: no transcript. Recording: C 0872 - C 0873, CD 0929, CD 0930.

NA2242 Ernest Tweedie, interviewed by Jeffrey “Smokey” McKeen, summer 1991, Parkman, Maine. Tape: 1 with no transcript. Tweedie talks about working in the logging industry and the music in the bunkhouses. Sings a few shanty songs and gives an example of Bunkhouse Wake Up Call. See companion accession NA 2243. Text: no transcript. Recording: C 0874, CD 2170. [Track 3 “Eastbound Train” (Learned it in the lumbering woods.) Track 4 “Whisper Your Mothers Name.” Track 5 “A Drunkard’s Child.” Track 14 Bunkhouse wake up call.]

NA3614 Recorded by Edward D. “Sandy” Ives. Recording of songs. “Howard Carey”, first version sung by John O’Conner and second by Wesley Smith, as well as “Guy Reed” sung by Philip Walsh, “The Plain Golden Band” sung by Sam Jagoe and “Benjamin Deane” sung & recited by William Bell. On the second side of the tape are the songs “Benjamin Deane” version 2 sung by Chester Price and version 3 sung by Wilmost MacDonald, Also “The Norway Bum” sung by James Brown and “The White Cafe” sung by Fred Campbell. Cassette and CD are meant to accompany the book, “Joe Scott: The Woodsman Songmaker.” Recordings: C 2603, CD 2065.

Materials Specific Details

Audio files are the primary source material. Transcriptions are the transcriber's best effort to convert audio to text, but should be considered secondary to the audio.

Guide to Woods Music Collection
Digital Objects Available
Thomas Libby
May 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States