The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #32947   Message #470401
Posted By: Jim Dixon
25-May-01 - 01:35 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: appalachian murder ballads
Subject: Lyr Add: OMIE WISE (Doc Watson version)^^
An unknown person posted this in a help thread, so I copied it here. There are other versions in DT, where it says the song is about a real murder in Randolph County, NC, 1908.


Oh, listen to my story. I'll tell you no lies,
How John Lewis did murder poor little Omie Wise.

He told her to meet him at Adam's Springs.
He promised her money and other fine things.

So, fool-like she met him at Adam's Springs.
No money he brought her nor other fine things.

"Go with me, little Omie, and away we will go.
We'll go and get married and no one will know."

She climbed up behind him and away they did go,
But off to the river where deep waters flow.

"John Lewis, John Lewis, will you tell me your mind?
Do you intend to marry me, or leave me behind?"

"Little Omie, little Omie, I'll tell you my mind.
My mind is to drown you and leave you behind."

"Have mercy on my baby and spare me my life.
I'll go home as a beggar and never be your wife."

He kissed her and hugged her and turned her around,
Then pushed her in deep waters where he knew that she would drown.

He got on his pony and away he did ride,
As the screams of little Omie went down by his side.

Was on a Thursday morning, the rain was pouring down,
When the people searched for Omie but she could not be found.

Two boys went a-fishin' one fine summer day,
And saw little Omie's body go floating away.

They threw their net around her and drew her to the bank.
Her clothes all wet and muddy, they laid her on a plank,

Then sent for John Lewis to come to that place,
And brought her out before him so that he might see her face.

He made no confessions, but they carried him to jail.
No friends nor relations would go on his bail.

[Laws F 4. Similar versions have been recorded as "Ommie Wise," "Naomi Wise," "Little Omie Wise," "Omie Wise's Tragic Romance," and "John Lewis." This version recorded by Doc Watson on "Doc Watson," 1964, and on several later albums. @murder]