Really, Matthew B., in THE END? HaHa
Yes, I have seen the alternate words in Hugill's book to indicate a relationship between a black man and a white woman. Instead of "railroad navvie" he says "railroad nigger". I've heard it sung "Sally in the garden picking peas with her golden hair hanging down to her knees". A definate black/white connection it would seem.
Can you imagine if hogeye is really such an obscene reference, and me going around singing about the hogeye man in front of my kids.............