Sung by: Mrs. Ben Johnson
Recorded in Cave City, AR 8/27/57

Click here to listen to the original recording

Come, friends and relations, and listen unto me.
I'll tell a sad story of Little Johnny Lee.
On the second day of February in eighteen and eighty-six,
When the snow began to fall and the clouds began to mix.

"Oh, now," says the father," You must now go to the mill."
The snow, it was so deep, they could hardly climb the hill.
His wife began to beg for them and says, "The boys will freeze."
But the father still insisted and says, "I'll do as I please."

The boys started out together; they seemed to be very bold.
They did not travel very fast, for they were very cold.
They at last arrived at Uncle Sam's, who lived up on the hill,
Now Johnny says to Nathan, saying, "I'll go on to the mill."

When Nathan at last arrived at the mill, the miller, he was no sinner;
He took him up to his house and give to him his dinner.
Then Nathan started back for Uncle Sam's; his load was not so light.
It was getting very late and they had to stay all night.

Now Johnny said to Nathan, "Think that I am beat,
For I am very hungry and nothing yet to eat."
The boys got their supper and lay upon the bed,
And they almost froze to death, they slept so near the door.

When morning came, they started for home, but the saddest is not yet.
They heard it said to them, it was time for them to get.
The boys started on together; they traveled with might and main.
It took them just one hour to go through Coleman's Lane.

Now Johnny says to Nathan, "I can no longer go.
My limbs are froze already," and he fell down in the snow.
No mother's hand to smooth the brow, no pillow to lay his head.
And Nathan crying aloud, "What shall I do? Poor little Johnny's dead."

When Nathan got home to tell the news, it gave them all a fright.
The night was very dark and he lay there all that night.
The friends all gathered to bury him out on the west hillside.
But on the resurrection morning, he'll not be denied.

Note: Composed by Rev. John Crafton, who lived at St. Paul, near Sidney, Arkansas, 1886.

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
Back to the Song Index
Back to the Wolf Collection Homepage
©Copyright 2002 Lyon College