Collected and transcribed by Mary Celestia Parler
Sung by Harrison Burnette Fayetteville, Arkansas July 3, 1958
Reel 292, Item 6
In the beautiful hills in the midst of Rome County, That's where I roamed for a many a long year;
That's where my heart's been, yes tending most ever, That's where the first step of misfortune I made.
At thirty years old I courted and married;
Amanda Gilberth was then called my wife,
Her brother he stabbed me for some unknown reason,
Just three months later I taken Tom's life.
For twenty long years through this old world I rambled, I went to old England, to France, and to Spain,
I thought of my home way back in Rome County,
So I boarded a steamer, came back home again.
I was captured and tried in the village of Kingston;
Not a man in that county would speak a kind word;
The jury came in with a verdict next morning;
It's "Life-time in prison" was all that I heard.
The train it pulled out, poor Mother stood weeping; Sister she set all alone with a sigh,
The last words I heard was "Willie, God bless you,"
Was "Willie, God bless you, God bless you, goodby."
In the scorching hot sands of the foundry I'm working, Just working and toiling my life all away,
They'll measure my grave on the banks of Old Cumberland As soon as I finish the rest of my days.
No matter what happened to me in Rome County,
No matter how long my sentence may be,
I love my old home way back in Rome County,
Because it is way up in East Tennessee.
Napoleon was great, and Pryor was much greater,
There're better and worse all over you see;
Boys, when you write home from the prison in Nashville Put one of my songs in your letter for me.
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