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Lyr Add: Ballad of Frankie Silver

30 Jan 02 - 06:47 PM (#638958)
Subject: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER^^
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

THE BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER ^^

This dreadful dark and dismal day
Has swept my glories all away;
My sun goes down, my days are past,
And I must leave this world at last.

Oh! Lord, what will become of me?
I am condemmed, you all now see;
To heaven or hell my soul must fly,
All in a moment when I die.

Judge Donnell my sentence has passed,
These prison walls I leave at last;
Nothing to cheer my drooping head
Until I'm numbered with the dead.

But Oh! That awful judge I fear.
Shall I that awful sentence hear:
"Depart, ye cursed, down to Hell
And forever there to dwell."

I know that frightful ghosts I'll see,
Gnawing their flesh in misery;
And then and there attended be
For murder in the first degree.

Then shall I meet that mournful face,
Whose blood I spilled upon this place;
With flaming eyes to me he'll say,
"Why did you take my life away?"

His feeble hands fell gently down.
His chattering tongue soon lost its sound.
To see his soul and body part
It strikes with terror in my heart.

I took his blooming days away,
Left him no time to God to pray;
And if sins fall upon his head,
Must I not bear them in his stead?

The jealous thought that first gave strife
To make me take my husband's life,
For months and days I spent my time
Thinking how to commit this crime.

And on a dark and doleful night
I put the body out of sight,
With flames I tried to him consume.
But time would not admit it done.

You all see me and on me gaze.
Be careful how you spend your days;
And never commit this awful crime,
But try to serve your God in time.

My mind on solemn subjects rolls.
My little child, God bless its soul;

All you that are of Adam's race,
Let not my faults this child disgrace.

Farewell, good people, you all now see
What my bad conduct's brought on me;
To die of shame and disgrace
Before the world of human race.

Awful indeed to think of death,
In perfect health to lose my breath;
Farewell my friends, I bid adieu,
Vengeance on me you must now pursue.

Great god! How shall I be forgiven?
Not fit for earth, nor fit for heaven;
But little time to pray to God,
For now I try that awful road.

@murder @folk @Appalachian
The above song taken from "The Ballad of Frankie Silver, Sharyn McCrumb, 1998. In 1831, Charles Silver was murdered in his cabin in Burke County, NC. His body was dismembered and parts found in and around the cabin, some in the fireplace. His wife, Frances Stewart Silver, her mother barbara Stewart and brother Blackstone were taken to Morgantown, NC and charged. Frankie was indicted by the grand jury in 1832 and tried. She was sentenced to be hanged. The sentence was carried out in July, 1833. Charlie Silver is buried behind the Old Kona Baptist Church in Mitchell Co., NC, in three separate graves. Frankie Silver is buried about nine miles west of Morgantown. Information compiled by Lana A. Whited, Ferrum College. ^^

FRANKIE SILVERS ^^^

That dreadful dark and dismal day
Has swept my glory all away
My sun gone down, my life is spent
An' I must leave this world at last.

Jedge Daniels has my sentence passed
These prison walls I'll leave at last
Nothing to cheer my drooping head
Until I'm numbered with the dead.

Oh, dreadful thought for any wife
To try to take my husband's life
By weeks an' months was all my time
For me to do this awful crime.

Come you young folks and on me gaze
Take warning how you spend your days
My sun gone down, my life is past
I leave this wicked world at last.

Ozark Folk Songs, vol. 2, Ed. Randolph, reproduced in Digital Tradition Mirror, with music. Here ^^^


31 Jan 02 - 04:07 AM (#639209)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: Joe Offer

Dicho, can I assume the tune is the same as the one from the shorter lyrics in the Digital Tradition?
Thanks.
-Joe Offer-


31 Jan 02 - 05:29 PM (#639558)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

Joe, the clickie I gave will give you not only Midi, but ABC, SongWright, Postscript, and Lilypond- whatever all those are. In addition, Penny whistle and Dulcimer tab are available as clicks. What more could anyone want except a singer to come to your door?
I can't get the DT Midi to come up right now. I noticed on a thread of tunes wanted, someone, Mrzzy(?) noted that the Midi was faulty.
There are Silver family reunions every year, and Stewarts attend. No one knows how the murder occurred. Sharyn McCrumb, in her novel, suggests the husband, drunk and belligerent, threatened the baby and Frankie.
It is not clear from McCrumb's book, but the longer version may be her revision and subject to ©
Through Google, pictures of the sites associated with the crime, and notices about a play, a musical suite, a dance version of the story, a cd and other goodies are available.


06 Apr 03 - 01:47 PM (#927321)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: GUEST,ruthanne

Hello,

I am just beginning research of the ballad of frankie silvers....I am looking to find the real deal lyrics....is tis the trues authentic/orginl ballad??? (the current mudcat posting)...do you or anyone know of any recordings by a female singer. need help on this for a theater project.
any avaible cd's ith this ballad on it?


06 Apr 03 - 02:37 PM (#927347)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: GUEST,Q

The lyrics placed in the DT and the sheet music are probably as close as you will get to the old folk song (see link at bottom of Dicho's post, added by Joe Offer).
The ballad lyrics by Sharyn McCrumb are hers and have been set to music (1998).

From Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, vol. 2, p. 124-125: "Muriel Early Sheppard (Cabins in the Laurel, 1935, pp. 25-29) tells the whole story and prints two songs about the murder, one of them credited to Frankie herself." The one from Randolph, posted by Dicho, above, was sung by Marie Wilber, Pineville, MO., 1934. She said she heard the song about 1910.
Notes: The "Jedge Daniels" in the Randolph text was really Judge John R. Donnell.
The Traditional Ballad Index (CSU, Fresno) lists some recordings, the earliest 1934. They refer to an 1886 mention of the song.
Some authorities believe (quite a stretch of the imagination) that this song is the ancestor of "Frankie and Johnnie."


06 Apr 03 - 02:52 PM (#927353)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: GUEST,Q

See the Frankie Stewart Silver memorial website for more information: Frankie Silver
Also see Frankie Silver Resources, compiled by Dr. Lana Whited: Silver
Some good photos at Silver


06 Apr 03 - 03:51 PM (#927382)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: Joe Offer

Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index.
-Joe Offer-
Frankie Silvers [Laws E13]

Frankie Silvers [Laws E13]

DESCRIPTION: The singer, Frankie Silvers, has been condemned to die for murdering her husband. She describes the deed and its consequences with horror: "This dreadful, dark, and dismal day Has swept all my glories away." "But oh! that dreadful judge I fear...."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1886 (Lenoir Topic, quoting the "Morganton paper")
KEYWORDS: murder husband wife punishment execution
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Dec 22, 1831 - Frankie Silvers murders her husband Charles Silvers in North Carolina
July 12, 1833 - Frankie Silvers is hanged
FOUND IN: US(SE,So)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Laws E13, "Frankie Silvers"
Randolph 158, "Frankie Silver" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownII 301, "Frankie Silver" (1 text)
DT 776, FRANSILV

RECORDINGS:
[Clarence] Ashley & [Gwen] Foster, "Frankie Silvers" (Vocalion 02647, 1934?)
Byrd Moore & his Hot Shots, "Frankie Silvers" (Columbia 15536-D, 1930)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Frankie Silver" (on NLCR04)
Notes: Brown has extensive background notes on this murder, without clear conclusions as to why Frankie Silvers murdered her husband, noting that the jury apparently believed the motive was jealousy.
This incident has frequently been reported as the inspiration for "Frankie and Albert" also; see the notes to that song.
In Brown's and Randolph's texts, the judge who convicted Frankie Silvers is called "Judge Daniels," but Randolph reports that he was actually named John R. Donnell. - RBW
File: LE13

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2003 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


06 Apr 03 - 06:13 PM (#927448)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: raredance

The long set of lyrics above cannot be McCrumb's since they are identical except for one word to the lyrics collected by Brwon and published in the FCBCNCF. The Brown text says these lyrics were contributed by M I Pickens, a student at Trinity College, in 1922. Tradition has it that the words were written by Frances Silver and delivered by her from the scaffold. Brown indicates that this tradition is "persistant and, it would seem, undisputed" The correction made by McCrumb is to change the name of the judge from "Daniels" in the Pickens text to "Donnell" who was the actual judge. This error in the Pickens text was noted by Brown. There is no musical transcription in the Brown collection. Brown also collected a version called "Susie Silvers" which was essentially the same as the Pickens text but minus the last three verses. A somewhat different version noted by Brown was contained in "The Serpent Slips into a Modern Eden" by James A Turpin (1925). Turpin's "chain of facts" as it were goes to an article in the Waynesville "Courrier" which was based on an older clipping from some local paper that was given to the "Courrier" editor. The older clipping, in turn, purported to quote Alfred Silver, "half-brother of the murdered man....living today...eighty seven years old". Alfred Silver is reported to have said "It was hoped that she [Frankie] would make a public confession of the scaffold and she seemed prepared to do so, but her father yelled our from the crowd, 'Die with your secret, Frances.'" However, Turpin goes on to say that the verses "were printed on a strip of paper and sold to people who assembled at Morganton to see Frances Silver executed. It is claimed that she composed them and gave them out as her confession." Robert Menzies and Edmond Smith had an article, "The Scarlet Enigma of Toe River" in "True Detective Mysteries" in 1935 that included the father's call for silence, but follows it with response by Frankie that "I have...a lot to say". Returning to the Turpin verses that he printed, the first six "correspond with verbal differences" (Brown) to the first six of the Pickens version. The last two verses are different:

In that last calm sleep I see him now,
The beautiful peace on his handsome brow;
Our winsome babe on his heaving breast
The crimson blade and the dreamless rest.

Now, that I can no longer live
Oh, pitying Lord, my crime forgive.
When I hear the call of judgment roll
May I appear with a bloodwashed soul!


rich r


06 Apr 03 - 06:21 PM (#927451)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: katlaughing

THAT is why I love McCrumb's books AND why I love Mudcat!! Thank you, everyone, for all of your postings!!


06 Apr 03 - 06:41 PM (#927464)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: Stewie

The earliest old-time recording of it, by Byrd Moore & His Hot Shots in Oct 1929 and issued in May 1930, has been reissued on CD on Clarence 'Tom' Ashley 'Greenback Dollar' County CO-CD-3520.

The Hot Shots were Clarence Ashley and Clarence Greene. As mentioned above, Ashley and Foster recorded it later - Sept 1933, issued June 1934. Byrd Moore and Clarence Greene recorded 'Frankie Silvers' Confession' for Gennett in Feb 1930, but this was unissued. [Discographical info from Meade et alia 'Country Music Sources'].

--Stewie.


06 Apr 03 - 07:31 PM (#927492)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: GUEST,Q

Sharyn McCrumb appended these words to the Ballad posted by Dicho from her book.
"A rumor was prevalent in Burke County that Silver wrote some verses which were tantamount to a confession of her guilt and read them while on the scaffold to the surrounding throng just before she was executed.
"The mind of Squire Waits A. Cook, a highly respected justice of the peace in the Enola section, was a veritable storehouse of legends and events of Burke County's earlier days. He told me that the verses Frankie had allegedly written were composed by a Methodist minister whose surname was Stacy.
"Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr., in 'Burke County Courthouses and Related Matters'."

McCrumb does not mention Brown's Folk Lore of North Carolina. Randolph mentions "Henry (JAFL 45, 1932, pp. 63-65) reports a long text of "Frankie Silvers" from the Appalachians and apparently regards it as a comparatively recent song, and remarking that Frankie was supposedly hanged in 1908." Was this about someone else or applied to someone else?

Was Frankie Silver literate?


06 Apr 03 - 07:44 PM (#927504)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: GUEST,Q

The group "Sweetwater" has performed with Sharyn McCrumb and has recorded "Frankie Silver" from the McCrumb novel and other ballads. Sweetwater


06 Apr 03 - 10:22 PM (#927582)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: raredance

Returning again to the notes in the Brown text for the following bits of information.

"Melinger E. Henry ("Songs Sung in the Southern Appalachians", 1934 p48-50)prints a version with a footnote from his informant stating: 'The above occurred about 1908. It is a true story. Mrs. Silvers lived at Morganton.... She composed the above while in prison and sang it just before she was hanged at Morganton."
This appears to be the source of the erroneous 1908 date. Brown indicates that the Silvers lived at the mouth of the South Toe River which is abut 30 linear miles from Morganton (much longer by road), so that would suggest another bit of misinformation by Henry's source. According to Brown, the Henry (and the Ervin) text is close to the Pickens text in the number, order and content of the stanzas, but "differs from them in a dozen or more particulars of wording and phrasal order." The Henry and Pickens text shared the wrong judge's name.

Brown also mentions the S J Ervin account although from a different source. Ervin, described as an attorney in Lexington wrote "Frankie Silver" which appeared in the Morganton News-Herald in April 1934. Ervin was of the opinion that the gallows reading was an "untrustworth tradition". Ervin also said, "Frankie Silver, it seems, was possessed of a higher degree of education than was common at that day." Brown doesn't say what evidence led to Ervin's opinions, but the latter would make it plausible that she could have penned the verses. That could become circular reasoning if the evidence that she was educated comes from believing she wrote the words.

Muriel Sheppard's version (see citation several posts above)is lacking the first two stanzas common to the PIckens, Henry and Ervin texts and apparently also has differences in the order of the stanzas. This is also from Brown

Ther is also a versdion with 14 stanzas cited from Davis "Folk Songs of Virginia" Anybody have access to that?


rich r


06 Apr 03 - 11:00 PM (#927591)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: GUEST,Q

The North Carolina Folklore Journal, Vol. 47, # 1, Winter-Spring 2000 (not seen) contains "The Frankie Silver Issue," comprising historical and folkloristic materials dealing with the documentary film, "The Ballad of Frankie Silver." Bobby McMillon, a "traditional artist," constructed the film "from local legend, belief and history." It may add little to solving the mystery of the ballad- who wrote it and when- but should be interesting. Ballad


06 Apr 03 - 11:07 PM (#927595)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: GUEST,Q

My link to the Lana Whited website on "Silver Resources" was incorrect: Silver
www.ferrum.edu/lwhited/silver.htm


06 Apr 03 - 11:53 PM (#927607)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: katlaughing

It is interesting to note that some of her descendants have her genealogy and theirs listed at www.ancestry.com. Could be on other sites, too. One of them does make note about her being hanged. I thought it also of interest that Frankie was only 18 years old or thereabouts and that her daughter was only three when Frankie was hanged.


07 Apr 03 - 02:19 PM (#928005)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: GUEST,Q

The Samuel James Ervin (1844-1944) mentioned in posts above was a prominent lawyer in western North Carolina. He was born at Morgantown, a member of a very old American family.
Many of his papers are at the Univ. North Carolina.

His son, Samuel James Ervin Jr. (1896-1985), was an important and longtime US senator, active on committees including Judiciary, Rackets, and Watergate (a book by him on Watergate). His massive papers, over 40,000 items. are at the Univ. North Carolina. Important to the folk researcher is the collection on Burke County, North Carolina, Social Life and Customs.
He wrote several books, of most interest to folk researchers is "Humor of a Country Lawyer."
The Ervins family was interested in Genealogy, and traced their antecedents in America from the 17th century (Society of Mayflower Descendents) down through the Sons of th Confereracy.


01 Jul 03 - 08:20 PM (#974894)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: Helen

refresh


02 Jul 03 - 12:39 AM (#974934)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: tar_heel

the pold classic song,"frankie and johnny"is also about frankie silver and the story of how she killed her husband..


02 Jul 03 - 03:20 AM (#974974)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: GUEST,Denise:^), house-sitting

I'll have to see what I can do about learning this one in a jiffy--it's the current "One Book, One Community" library reading selection, and I've already done one program of Appalachian songs and tunes (singing, autoharp, hammered dulcimer), and I have three more scheduled before the program ends. I'll have to check out the lyrics/music/midi...

Denise:^)


02 Jul 03 - 02:00 PM (#975317)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
From: Walking Eagle

Thanks for posting this again. I'd forgotten about it when I posted my request for the music recently.


12 Nov 09 - 04:34 PM (#2765025)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of Frankie Silver
From: Janie

Here is a wonderful documentary about the story behind the Ballad of Frankie Silver, as well as a fine rendition of the ballad itself. (Only you have to watch the entire documentary to hear the whole thing sung.

The first I ever heard of Frankie Siver was a novel. I'm not sure it was Sharyn McCrumb' book, but probably it was. If so, it was a good read.


12 Nov 09 - 05:06 PM (#2765057)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of Frankie Silver
From: Janie

The documentary is referenced in at least one of the posts above, but am letting you know it is available for viewing on-line at folkstreams.


10 Feb 12 - 07:37 AM (#3305284)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of Frankie Silver
From: GUEST,Riley Henry

My wife is a g-g-g-granddaughter of Frankie. We have letters written by Frankie's daughter, Nancy. She has written on the first page the poem that Frankie read at the hanging. It is a very short poem. The rest has been added later to try to make a better story. You all have only heard the Silver side of the story. Coming this summer there will be a book coming out telling the Stuart's side.


18 Apr 18 - 10:37 PM (#3918368)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of Frankie Silver
From: GUEST,Hofguy21

She was buried 3 miles from Morganton NC were she hung
.body had bad smell guys couldn't go no more distance with .buried her on hill 3 rocks on top each other...the ild man his dad helped bury her...filled wooden box with rocks.took it to Tenn..djfan19992000@yahoo.com.   Ray Merrill Glen Alpine NC 3 miles from Morganton NC