To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
22 messages

Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine (Pat Garvey)

17 Jan 99 - 10:51 AM (#54520)
Subject: REQ: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: Lesley N.

Does anyone have any information on The Blacksmith of Brandywine? It was evidently done by the New Christy Minstrels and was supposedly based on an actual occurrance. It'sabout a blacksmith whose family was killed by a company of British soldiers. He came home, found them dead, picked up a fifteen-pound sledge, set off after them. He managed to kill about twenty of them with a hammer before they shot him enough times to kill him.

Is this a traditional tune or something the Minstrels wrote? Does anyone have the lyrics - even better a single line midi or gif that I could use to make a midi?

I'm in a Colonial/Revolution Mood at the moment - any suggestions for songs to sequence?

17 Jan 99 - 10:59 PM (#54613)
Subject: RE: REQ: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: Don Meixner

I heard this song from a New Christy Minstrals recording about America Folk heroes. Its based on the discovery of a body found after the battle of Brandywine. A colonial, armed with a single jack had dispatched 20 Hessian mercinaries. All the songs were supposedly based in fact. Also on the record was a song called "El Camino Real" an interesting song about the fight to free California.

The only person I have ever heard sing this song outside of the NCM is a friend in Atlanta named Michael Waters. I can supply the lyrics but it will take time.

Don Meixner

17 Jan 99 - 11:16 PM (#54621)
Subject: RE: REQ: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: Sandy Paton

These Mudcateers are astounding! You ask about a song you've been looking for for years, and an answer pops up eight minutes later. Incredible! Well done, Don.


17 Jan 99 - 11:20 PM (#54623)
Subject: RE: REQ: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: Don Meixner


I is merely skill, speed, agility, and the will to win.


18 Jan 99 - 12:34 AM (#54642)
Subject: RE: REQ: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: Lesley N.

I'm impressed!

The bad news is that I didn't turn up the song in any track searches in Amazon, CDNow or CD Universe. What a bummer.

18 Jan 99 - 09:50 AM (#54678)
Subject: RE: REQ: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: rich r

As cited above, Blacksmith of Brandywine can be found on the New Christy Minstrels album :"Land of Giants" (Columbia CS 8987- stereo or Columbia CL 2187 -mono). The song is not traditional but was written by Pat and Victoria Garvey. The twosome also wrote a song called "The Loving of the Game" that was recorded by Judy Collins on the album "Judith" and is also found on several JC collection re-releases. "The Blacksmith of Brandywine" has been recorded at least 2 other times. Once on a cacsette by Michael Longcor titled "Lovers, Heroes & Rogues". Searching for Michael Longcor on the web reveals that this cassette has apparently been reissued and the necessary information is there. An apparent third recording was by Julie Ecklar on an album called "Brandywine". There have also been a couple parodies of the song that probably best fall into the "filk" category. I saw the lyrics to one of them and had no idea who they were talking about. The NCM album can be found around the used record venues. I bought a copy about 3 months ago and will transcribe the words as soon as I can. As for the historical accuracy, I cannot verify, if it is true or based on a nugget of fact or merely a 1777 "urban legend". The NCM album has songs about Joe Magarac, John Henry, Paul Bunyan, Stormalong, Johnny Appleseed et al., characters that are much more legend than history. A web site dedicated to the Phildelphia campaign of the Revolution (Brandywine, Germantown, Paoli, Battle of the Clouds etc) in 1777 did not describe the incident of the song. Furthermore the song itself describes part of the "events" occuring in Chestertown, which is in Maryland a ways away from the site of the Brandywine battle. There is also a town of Brandywine in Maryland. So it is at least possible that the "incident" if true happened in Maryland. Some historical expert will need to discover this. I personally do not trust RAndy Sparks liner notes as the last words on historical facts.

rich r

19 Jan 99 - 07:06 PM (#54796)
Subject: RE: REQ: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: Lesley N.

How interesting - another traditional song that isn't!

I've come to believe we should trust very few notes on albums as historical facts. One album with all Carolan tunes does not, in fact, have all Carolan tunes - and I get people who argue with me because it was on the notes for the CD...

Of course, being a historian I don't think you can necessarily believe anything that is written and should even be suspect when two people write the same thing because they could be relying on the same source or have the same agenda...

Getting off my soapbox... Thanks for the info.

23 Jan 99 - 12:56 AM (#55308)
From: Don Meixner

Lesley, here you go. The song is pretty basic with no abundant story. As I recall, most of the songs from the album are. I like this one and El Camino Real best of the bunch. Both these songs have a shred of believable history in them. What gem of fact that goes to create a legend is often nearly as good as the legend itself. Revolutionary War buffs I know swear this is based in fact. Just as Molly Pitcher's story was. People do amazing things when called upon by conscience.

Pat Garvey

As we marched into Brandywine, it was a sight to see:
A giant of a man with a hammer in his hand beneath the old oak tree,
And all around him on the ground, in fatal disarray,
Lay a score of men who'll never fight again, or travel on the King's highway.

CHORUS: Make it one for Washington and all his gallant men,
One for the girl that once was mine;
Make it one for the darling boy I'll never see again,
And one for the blacksmith of Brandywine.

We dug his grave, covered him o'er, and sadly wept a tear,
Spent the day ridin' on our way till we met with a musketeer.
From him we learned the story of this brave and angry man,
Who undertook the British enemy with a hammer in his hand. CHORUS

In Chestertown there lived a man away from the cannon's roar.
Of manner mild, his woman and child, no man could ever love more;
But the Tories spoke of a plot one day to waylay Washington,
And he left his home and family alone. To the general he did run. CHORUS

His errand done, he journeyed home but sorrow there he found.
By British guns his wife and son lay still on the cold hard ground.
Well, that blacksmith reached for his heavy sledge and he gave a practice swing,
And they say on the line at Brandywine, they hear that hammer sing.

CHORUS: Make it one....

And don't forget the blacksmith....

23 Jan 99 - 04:59 PM (#55385)
Subject: RE: REQ: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: Lesley N.

Thanks Don! As legends go I like this one much better than the cherry tree or the silver dollar across the Potomac!

04 Jan 07 - 07:13 PM (#1926844)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: GUEST,Tom Lucatorta

I took this information from an old ebook on the web:

Terrible in the field at Brandywine was the figure of a man armed only
with a hammer, who plunged into the ranks of the enemy, heedless of his
own life, yet seeming to escape their shots and sabre cuts by magic, and
with Thor strokes beat them to the earth. But yesterday war had been to
him a distant rumor, a thing as far from his cottage at Dilworth as if it
had been in Europe, but he had revolted at a plot that he had overheard
to capture Washington and had warned the general. In revenge the Tories
had burned his cottage, and his wife and baby had perished in the flames.
All day he had sat beside the smoking ruins, unable to weep, unable to
think, unable almost to suffer, except dumbly, for as yet he could not
understand it. But when the drums were heard they roused the tiger in
him, and gaunt with sleeplessness and hunger he joined his countrymen and
ranged like Ajax on the field. Every cry for quarter was in vain: to
every such appeal he had but one reply, his wife's name--Mary.

Near the end of the fight he lay beside the road, his leg broken, his
flesh torn, his life ebbing from a dozen wounds. A wagoner, hasting to
join the American retreat, paused to give him drink. "I've only five
minutes more of life in me," said the smith. "Can you lift me into that
tree and put a rifle in my hands?" The powerful teamster raised him to
the crotch of an oak, and gave him the rifle and ammunition that a dying
soldier had dropped there. A band of red-coats came running down the
road, chasing some farmers. The blacksmith took careful aim; there was a
report, and the leader of the band fell dead. A pause; again a report
rang out, and a trooper sprawled upon the ground. The marksman had been
seen, and a lieutenant was urging his men to hurry on and cut him down.
There was a third report, and the lieutenant reeled forward into the
road, bleeding and cursing. "That's for Mary," gasped the blacksmith. The
rifle dropped from his hands, and he, too, sank lifeless against the


24 May 07 - 09:25 PM (#2060347)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine

Thanks so much. My mom taught this song to us and I wanted to find all the lyrics for my girls since we are studying the Revolutionary War. Even though this may be more legend than fact, it's a nice insight into the mindset of those who were willing to lay down everything for the start of this country. Thanks to all who answered the original poster!

25 May 07 - 01:59 PM (#2060849)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: Susan A-R

Wow, two NCM posts in one afternoon. Now I really have to go and listen to that album (see the Joe maggerac thread)

There was a time when I knew all of those songs by heart. I could probably still get pretty far with El Camino Reyal and Johnny Appleseed.

17 Sep 07 - 12:55 AM (#2150895)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: GUEST,Elisabeth in Florida

Another great source for this song is Charlie Zahm's album "The American Scrapbook" ( His rendition of the song is so rich and beautiful! There's a sample piece there on his site, or you can see him perform it (very low quality, and he actually messes up one line, which I've never seen him do before this) on YouTube here:

19 Sep 07 - 12:23 AM (#2152385)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: Jim Dixon

Google Book Search finds a version of the story in "Blanche of Brandywine, or, September the Eleventh, 1777: A Romance, Concerning the Poetry, Legend, and History of the Battle of Brandywine" by George Lippard, Philadelphia : G.B. Zieber & Co., 1846. The book is classified as fiction. Click to view.

Lippard retold the story in "Washington and His Generals: Or, Legends of the Revolution," Philadelphia : T.B. Peterson, 1847. Click to view.

19 Sep 07 - 08:23 PM (#2153094)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: Ref

Thanks for the memory! I remember seeing the NCM do this on the old "Hootenanny" TV show.

20 Sep 07 - 01:18 AM (#2153211)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: michaelr

Guest 9:25 -- I would hardly call the legendary blacksmith's condition an "insight into the mindset of those who were willing to lay down everything for the start of this country". He was obviously insane with grief and rage, not involved in a struggle for independence of his colony.


20 Sep 07 - 04:03 PM (#2153695)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: GUEST,Stephanie

I live a couple of miles from the battlefield,and had an interesting experience a few years ago.I knew the song from the NCM's and more recently had heard Tom O'Carroll sing in on numerous occasions at O'Friels Irish pub (sadly now defunct)in Wilmington De.I was in Pete Renzetti's shop in Dilworthtown(I think before I had heard Tom sing the song) looking for info on an old metal helmet.I knew Pete slightly,enough to know he was a ironmonger,and then for whatever reason asked if he'd ever heard of the Blacksmith of Brandywine,heaven knows why, as I hadn't thought of the song in years plus I had always assumed it took place in Chester Pa --or possibly West Chester,given artistic license.He looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said"You are standing in his shop"whereupon he went upstairs and brought down a sketch of the blacksmith dead with bodies all around him under a huge tree.I always thought it an odd occurance.

29 Dec 09 - 09:16 PM (#2798942)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: GUEST,Papa Smith

Here's a fella singing the song
Don't forget the Blacksmith of Brandywine.
He does it really fine.


29 Dec 09 - 10:50 PM (#2798991)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine

Apologies if this has already been posted. I'm inna hurry.

It's a real pain in the arse when someone has already posted stuff that some idiot comes along and re-posts the same stuff. If I'm guilty of that, sorry.

29 Dec 09 - 11:04 PM (#2798997)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine
From: GUEST,999

I keep forgetting to put the 999 in the "From:" rectangle.

02 Sep 18 - 08:13 PM (#3947722)
Subject: "My Last Farewell"
From: GUEST,Irish Tom

I am looking for the music to the Irish song " MY last FAREWELL" THE SONG IS ABOUT pADRIG PIERCE THE REBEL WHO WAS SHOT BY THE ENGLISH IN 1916. I am looking for a book with the song in it or a music sheet with the words and music. Is there some one who can help me? Thank you very much.

05 Sep 18 - 01:58 PM (#3948308)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blacksmith of Brandywine (Pat Garvey)
From: Jim Dixon

Irish Tom: Lyrics to MY LAST FAREWELL have been posted here in another thread.