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Origins: Beaver Island Boys/Lost on Lake Michigan

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BEAVER ISLAND BOYS


Joe Offer 20 Jun 22 - 07:53 PM
Joe Offer 20 Jun 22 - 08:35 PM
pattyClink 20 Jun 22 - 08:39 PM
pattyClink 20 Jun 22 - 08:45 PM
Joe Offer 20 Jun 22 - 09:07 PM
Joe Offer 22 Jun 22 - 12:03 AM
Joe Offer 22 Jun 22 - 12:16 AM
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Subject: Origins: Beaver Island Boys
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jun 22 - 07:53 PM

Needs research:
The Gallagher Boys or Lost on Lake Michigan    http://www.evergreentrad.com/the-gallagher-boys/


https://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=567


BEAVER ISLAND BOYS (DT Lyrics)
(Daniel Malloy)

Come all brother sailors, I hope you'll draw nigh
For to hear the sad news, it will cause you to cry
Of the noble Johnny Gallegher, who sailor to and fro
He was lost on Lake Michigan where the stormy winds do blow.

"Oh, Johnny, my dear son, in the dead of the night
I woke from a dream which gave me a fright
And to Traverse City I beseech you not to go
For you'll never cross Lake Michigan where the stormy winds do blow."

"Oh mother, dear mother, those dreams are not true
I will shortly return and prove it to you
For the Lord will protect me wherever I go
And I'll cross o'er Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow."

It was in October in '73
We left Beaver harbor and had a calm sea
Bound away, Traverse City was our destination to go
We were crossing Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.

We left Traverse City at nine the next day
And down to Elk Rapids we then bore away
We took in our stores and to sea we did go
We were crossing Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.

At nine that same night a light we did spy
That is Beaver Island, we are drawing nigh
We carried all sails, the Lookout, she did go
We were crossing Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.

Oh, Johnny got up and he spoke to his crew
He says, "Now brave boys, be steady and true
Stand by for your halliards, let your main halliards go,
There's a squall on Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow."

The Lookout she's a-running before a hard gale
Upset went her rudder and overboard went her sail
The billows were foaming like mountains of snow
We shall ne'er cross Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.

Siz own brother Johnny, "It grieves my heart sore
To think we will never return to shore
God help our poor parents, their tears down will flow
For we'll sleep in Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow."

DT #789
Laws D17
@ship @wreck @American @Lakes
From Lomax, Our Singing Country
Collected from Johnny Green of Beaver Island MI in 1938
filename[ BEAVRISL
TUNE FILE: BEAVRISL
CLICK TO PLAY
SOF
oct96

Popup Midi Player



Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Beaver Island Boys, The [Laws D17]

DESCRIPTION: Johnny Gallagher sets out across Lake Michigan despite a warning from his mother. On the way home, the boat is almost to Beaver Island when it sinks with all hands in a storm
AUTHOR: Daniel Malloy (1874)
EARLIEST DATE: 1938 (Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry)
KEYWORDS: ship death storm
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1873 - Death of Johnny Gallagher on Lake Michigan
FOUND IN: US(MW)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Laws D17, "The Beaver Island Boys"
Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry, pp. 215-218, "The Beaver Island Boys" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lewis-FavoriteMichiganFolkSongs, pp. 22-23, "Beaver Island Boys" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 789, BEAVRISL

Roud #2238
File: LD17

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

The music notation in the online Digital Tradition got mismatched somehow. I've corrected that above, so the notation above is from Our Singing Country by Lomax.
Here's a recording by Will Branch that uses the notation from the Lomax book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmuoE6UewVo

This is the 1938 Alan Lomax recording of Andrew and Dominic(k) Gallagher singing "Gallagher Boys": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6n8eubaukU


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Subject: ADD Version: The Gallagher Boys
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jun 22 - 08:35 PM

THE GALLAGHER BOYS
(Dan Malloy)

Come all brother sailors I hope you’ll draw nigh,
For to hear of the sad news, it will cause you to cry,
Of noble Johnny Gallagher, who sailed to and fro,
He was lost on Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.

It was in October in seventy three,
We left Beaver harbor and had a calm sea,
Bound away to Traverse City, our destination to go,
We were crossing Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.

We left Traverse City at nine the next day
And down to Elk Rapids we then bore our way,
We took in our store and to sea we did go,
We were crossing Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.

At nine that same night a light we did spy,
That is Beaver Island, we are drawing nigh,
We carried all sails, the Lookout, she did go,
We were crossing Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.

Oh Johnny got up and he spoke to his crew,
He says, “My brave boys, now be steady and true,
Stand by your fore halyards, let your main halyards to,
There’s a squall on Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.”

The Lookout’s she’s a-runnin’ before a hard gale.
Upset went her rudder and overboard went her sail,
The billows were foaming like mountains of snow.
We shall ne’er cross Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.

Says Owen, “Brother Johnny, it grieves my heart sore,
To think we will never return to the shore,
God help our poor parents, their tears down will flow,
For we’ll sleep in Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.”

    I am looking forward to a talk on the Irish music of Beaver Island, Michigan that I will be giving in June at the Center for Irish Music’s Minnesota Irish Music Weekend! In anticipation of that, I thought I would share song composed on Beaver Island this month: “The Gallagher Boys.”

    Island singer Dominick Gallagher was six years old in 1873 when word came to the island that a boat went down in a gale while making the 70 mile return trip from a supply run to Traverse City. Dominick’s own father, Dominick Sr., had left on the same boat and was assumed to be among the lost.

    “…when the news came and the report was that all hands was lost, I remember runnin’ and hangin’ around mother. I couldn’t realize what they were all cryin’ about. I had six sisters and they were all home and they were all cryin’, too. That night they had a wake and all, just as though he was there, and all the next day the neighbors came around.”
-Dominick Gallagher to Alan Lomax, 1938

(TRANSCRIBED FROM THIS RECORDING)

Miraculously, Dominick Sr. returned the next day. His friend Captain Roddy had also been in Traverse City and had convinced him not to make the crossing. Still, the Beaver Islanders who did venture out (including a Johnny Gallagher) were lost and the above song was composed shortly after by local song-maker Dan Malloy.

Above is my transcription of Dominick’s own melody and four verse text as sung for Lomax with the addition of three verses (1, 4 and 5 above) that were sung that same year by fellow Islander Johnny Green who had a much longer version of the song.

http://www.evergreentrad.com/the-gallagher-boys/


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lost on Lake Michigan
From: pattyClink
Date: 20 Jun 22 - 08:39 PM

Two problems with the DT entry. The title is wrong, should be The Gallagher Boys or Lost on Lake Michigan. And notice the tune is for a song about 'the Beaver Dam Road'.

There is better info on Brian Miller's website Evergreentrad. He has done a lot of scholarship work in recent years organizing and performing Great Lakes and Lumberwoods songs and tunes. So this is his entry on this song. The Gallagher Boys


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lost on Lake Michigan
From: pattyClink
Date: 20 Jun 22 - 08:45 PM

Whoops, you posted all that other stuff right as I submitted that.

Only other stuff I know:
In the book Windjammers, Songs of the Great Lakes Sailors, by Ivan H. Walton and Joe Grimm 2002, a relative of author Daniel Malloy dictated the fullest (10 verse) version to Ivan Walton in 1932.

The song was included in Lomax's "Our Singing Country" in 1949.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beaver Island Boys/Lost on Lake Michigan
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jun 22 - 09:07 PM

Here are the notes from "The Beaver Island Boys" from John & Alan Lomas, Our Singing Country (1941), pp 215-217

THE BEAVER ISLAND BOYS
Number 2174. Tune, Dominick Gallegher: text, A.A.F.S. No. 2273. Johnny Green, Beaver Island, Mich., Sept., 1938. See Ri, p. 159.        7

It was in '74 that this song was composed by a man by the name of
Daniel Malloy. He was an old whale fisherman. He spent two years among the Eskimos up in the North Pole when he was whale fishing.
Three men went out of this harbor in a small boat to go to Traverse City for supplies, and they left there in a gale of wind. They only had a twenty-four foot boat, and she foundered and they were all lost.

That was in '73, and I was born in '67. The way I remember, my father left home with those boys that was drownded, and when he got to Traverse City and was ready to come back, old Captain Roddy, who had a little sailing vessel there, coaxed him to stay over and come home with him next day when it would be comfortable. He knew it wasn’t ft for them to go out in that open boat, that small boat, understand? It was blowin’ a gale, it was, blowin’ the tops right off the seas.

My father was gain’ right down in the boat, and Roddy said, ‘Dominick, you aren’t crazy, are you, to go in that boat today?’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I’ll tell you: my wife is sick, and I want to get home.’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘it’s better for your wife to be without you for two or three days than to be without you for ever.' And my uncle Roddy went down into the boat, and he took my father by the shoulder an' he kept him from goin'.

“We heard the next morning that the boat was lost. Well, my mother knew that my father was in the boat, you see, because he had left the harbor and went to Traverse City with them, and she didn't know of this Roddy bein' in Traverse City. And when the news came and the report was that all hands was lost, I remember runnin' and hangin' around mother. I couldn't realize what they were all cryin' about. I had six sisters and they were all home and they were all cry in', too. That night they had a wake and all just as though he was there, and all the next day the neighbors came around.

“Well, when this Captain Roddy came home the next day in his vessel and when they come to St. James, the harbor, they heard there that we had held a wake over father that night. My father and this Captain Roddy was great friends, and some of 'em got a jug of whisky and they started home rejoicing that he didn't come in the boat that was lost. When my father come home he started to dance—he was always for singin' and dancin' when he had drinks. (He never drank much except occasionally.) I remember he had some toys for me, the first toys I ever had in my life, a little cast-iron shovel and a little pail, and I left the old folks in the house and went out to dig sand with my little shovel and my little pail. . . . But this is the way old Dan Malloy's song of it goes."


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Subject: ADD Lost on Lake Michigan (The Gallagher Boys)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jun 22 - 12:03 AM

LOST ON LAKE MICHIGAN / THE GALLAGHER BOYS
(Dan Malloy)

Come all brother sailors, I hope you’ll draw nigh,
For to hear of your shipmates, it will cause you to cry;
It’s of noble Johnny Gallagher, who sailed to and fro,
He was lost on Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow!

Oh Johnny, my dear son, in the dead of the night
I awoke from a dream which gave me a fright,
And to Traverse City I forbid you to go
To cross o’er Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow!

“Oh Mother, dear Mother, those dreams are not true,
I will shortly return and prove it to you;
And the Lord will protect us, let it blow high or low
When we cross o’er Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow.”

“Oh Nancy, lovely Nancy, don't stop me, my dear,
I’ll surely return, come dry up your tears.
At home in our cottage full bumpers will flow
When I’ve crossed o’er Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow!”

It was in October of seventy-three,
They left Beaver Harbor out to a calm sea;
And to Traverse City, their destination to go,
They crossed o’er Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow!

They left Traverse City at nine the next day,
And down to Elk Rapids they then bore away;
They took in their stores and to sea they did go,
They were crossing Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow!

At ten that same night a light they did spy:
That's Beaver Island, we are drawing nigh!”
They carried all sail and the Lookout did go,
They were crossing Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow!

Says Johnny, “My boys, there’s land on our lee,
That’s Beaver Island, but there’s a high sea!”
With the wind from the nor’east, oh boys, it does blow!
There's a squall on Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow!

Johnny looked at his craft and then to his crew
Each man's at his station, they're brave hearts and true;
"Stand by your fore halyards, let your main halyards go."
There's a squall on Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow!

Now the Lookout is running before a hard gale,
Her rudder unships and overboard went her sail!
The billows are foaming like fountains of snow,
She sinks in Lake Michigan where the stormy winds blow!

Notes:
Lost on Lake Michigan (The Gallagher Boys)
Late in October 1873, four men set sail from Beaver Island in the twenty-four-foot sailboat Lookout to get winter supplies. Brothers Johnny and Owen Gallagher and their friend Tommy Boyle sailed off with the brothers’ father, Seamus Gallagher.

After sailing out of Beaver Harbor, they made the forty-mile passage to the entrance to Grand Traverse Bay and the thirty-mile trip southward to Traverse City, where they loaded provisions, including supplies for Johnny's upcoming wedding to an island girl named Nancy. A late-season storm began to whip up as they loaded, and by the time they were ready to set sail for home the wind was blowing the tops off the waves. Captain Andrew Roddy, who was in Traverse City with his own boat, prevailed upon the elder Gallagher not to venture out into the gale. The younger men sailed off without him and evidently made it almost all the way home. Although the Lookout washed up on the island, it came in empty. The islanders held a wake for their four lost friends, only to have one of the dead men come sailing home with Roddy, unaware that he had lost his sons. The tragedy was immortalized in two songs, this and "The Gallant Tommy Boyle," both written by Dan Malloy.

John Malloy, then eighty, dictated this, except for the tenth stanza, without hesitation, in 1932.

Source: Windjammers: Songs of the Great Lakes Sailors, by Ivan H. Walton and Joe Grimm, pp 172-174 (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 2002.


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Subject: ADD: The Gallant Tommy Boyle (Dan Malloy)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jun 22 - 12:16 AM

THE GALLANT TOMMY BOYLE
(Dan Malloy)

Come all you Beaver Island boys, I hope you will draw near,
To hear my lamentation, I’m sure you’ll drop a tear.
Concerning a young fisherman, he would your hearts beguile,
He was drowned in Lake Michigan, his name was Tommy Boyle.

When his father heard the news, distracted he did run.
Crying, “Neighbors dear, what shall I do? I've lost my darling son!
Like a pilgrim I will wander, and I’ll travel many a mile,
And all my lifetime I will mourn for my own son Tommy Boyle."

The Reverend Father Gallagher, great praise to him is due,
He reconciled his father, and he preached the Gospel true.
He prayed for his salvation, that the angels on him smile,
I hope he’s at rest in Paradise now, that gallant Tommy Boyle.

He was proper, tall, and comely, his age was twenty-three;
He was as fine a young man as you could wish to see.
He was proper, tall, and kind to all, and on his face a smile,
And I hope he’s well rewarded now, that gallant Tommy Boyle.

He was a gallant boatman, and fishing he did know;
And when they were imperiled, to release them he did go.
He saved a crew and his uncle too, and Heaven did on him smile
And I hope he’s well rewarded now, that gallant Tommy Boyle.

Now to conclude and finish, “Dear Jack,” you’ll understand:
“I’m going to meet my mother dear, she’s in that blessed land.
She was always kind and true to me, and I think it but little toil
To sing her praise, God rest her soul, my brother, Tommy Boyle.”

Notes: The Gallant Tommy Boyle
In this song, Dan Malloy focuses on the 1873 passing of Tommy Boyle, one of the unlucky three in the foundering of the Lookout. The song refers to his older brother Jack and an earlier incident in which Tommy had saved his uncle Hughie and two other fishermen when their boat capsized as they were driving net stakes. Pat McDonough recalled this song, except for the second stanza, which came from Mike O’Donnel in 1940.

Source: Windjammers: Songs of the Great Lakes Sailors, by Ivan H. Walton and Joe Grimm, pp 172-174 (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 2002.


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