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GUEST,Don C resident of Leeds, Alabama Origin Of John Henry--part TWO (240* d) RE: Origin Of John Henry--part TWO 10 Sep 06


I had an opportunity to read Dr. John Garst's J. Henry article more than 3 years ago prior to its being published in "Tributaries"- Journal of Alabama Folklife Association. Just because an article is published does not necessarily make it true and accurate. This thesis has all the attributes of a well written academic paper and acknowledges numerous source references including several that are noted as "anonymous".   It also makes use of what I consider to be extreme convoluted logic attempting to connect some historical information and some rationalized and obtuse dots between people, local names, phonics, and possible local areas.

Dr. Garst's conclusion states "So far, no definite documentation of J. Henry has been found. This leaves room for argument from those who may believe that J. Henry never existed or that he ever raced a steam drill elsewhere. However, to make such a claim one would……..have to argue that C. C. Spencer is not a creditable witness ……he is the "star witness" on this subject. When checked against the facts that can be determined from other sources, Spencer's story is found to contain errors….."{?} Earlier the article notes that the C. C. Spencer story is not first person but second person as told in undocumented letters written to two other researchers named Johnson and Chappell circa 1929.   At best this article suggests that John Henry may have been in the Leeds, Alabama area once upon a time but does not offer any factual proof of a Leeds – John Henry connection.   In other words, the hypothesis outlined in the article is pure conjecture.


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