Not sure if it's of interest but I perform in a play about John Henry in which we perform the JH song at the very end of the play. Upon doing research and reading the books above mentioned, we figured theres alot more to know than anyone can figure. Not only did he really live, but did he really die in the contest. Since we could not find any recored of his death we decided to let him live in the end. there were no death certificates or headstones anywhere to prove otherwise.