Hamlet Wreck


“Hamlet Wreck,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed April 16, 2024, https://omeka.library.appstate.edu/items/show/31575.

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Hamlet Wreck


This item is part of the I. G. Greer Folksong Collection which consists of more than 300 individual song titles and their variants as collected by Isaac Garfield Greer (1881-1967) from informants, primarily in Ashe, Wilkes and Watauga counties. The collection includes manuscripts, typescript transcriptions produced by Dr. Greer’s clerical staff, and handwritten musical notations. Songs range from traditional Child Ballads, traditional English and Scottish ballads as well as their American variants, to 19th century popular music to musical compositions of local origin.


Railroad accidents--Songs and music
Death--Songs and music
Grief--Songs and music


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University


Greer, I. G. (Isaac Garfield), 1881-1967







Spatial Coverage


Negro Songs and Ballads

The North Carolina Folklore Society.
Frank C. Brown, Secretary-Treasurer
Durham, North Carolina-
“The Hamlet Wreck”

“See the women and children going to the train,
Fare-you-well, my husband, if I never see you again,
The engineer turned his head
When he saw so many were dead,
So many have lost their lives.


Isn’t Ains it sad, isn’t ains it sad?
Ex/cur/si/on left Durham, going to Charlotte, North Carolina,
Isn’t it sad, isn’t it said?
So many have lost their lives.

Some of us have mothers a standing at the train,
Say Fare-well-well, my daughter, I may never see you again,
And the train began to fly
And some didn’t come back alive,
So many have lost their lives.

[illegible] The fireman said to the engineer,
“We are something late,
We don’t want to meet up with the local freight,”
The local was on the line
And theye could not get there on time ,
So many have lost their lives.

3 omit these 2 stanzas
When the news got to Durham, some said it was a lie,
But there was some in the hospital almost ready to die,
And their poor old mothers, you know,
They were running from door to door,
So many have lost their lives.

Now colored people I will tell you and tell you to your face,
The train that left Durham, was loaded with our race,
And some did not think of dying
When they rode on down the line,
So many have lost their lives.

They put the dead in their coffins and sent them back to town,
And then they were taken to the burying ground,
You could hear the coffin sound
When they let those bodies down,
So many have lost their lives.”

“(by Franklin Williams and William Firkins)”

Note:This is the form of the song as it appears in a broadside published
by the Reform Publishing Company, an African-American printer in Durham.
The song was likely not composed by Williams and Firkins,
who ran operations in the Liggett and Myers Tobacco Co’s factory in


Franklin Williams, William Firkins

Other Name(s)

Frank C. Brown

Scholarly Classification

Brown, North Carolina Ballads - 290

File name


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