Sung by: Mrs. Almeda Riddle
Recorded in Miller, AR 8/22/57

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'Twas in the town of Oxford,
Where I did live and dwell.
'Twas in the town of Oxford
I run a flour mill.

I fell in love with an Oxford girl
With dark and darling eyes.
I asked her if she'd marry me,
And me she never denied.

I called her at her sister's house
At eight o'clock one night.
I asked her if she'd walk with me
And appoint our wedding day.

We walked along and talked along
'Til we came to level ground.
Then I picked up a hedgewood stick
And knocked this fair maid down.

She fell upon her bended knees;
"Oh, Willie," she did cry.
"Oh, Willie, dear, don't murder me;
I'm not prepared to die."

I paid no attention to her piteous appeal,
Just beat her more and more,
'Til all around where the dead body lay
Was almost in a roar.

Then I picked her up by her little white hand,
And I threw her 'round and 'round.
I dragged her down to the riverside
And threw her in to drown.

I then returned to my mother's home
About twelve o'clock that night.
My mother, being worried,
Woke up in a fright.

"Oh, God, my son, now what have you done
That's bloodied your hands and clothes?"
The answer that I gave to her
Was, "Bleeding at the nose."

I asked her for a handkerchief
To bind my aching head,
And also for a candle
To light myself to bed.

But I rolled and I tumbled
And no rest could I find,
For the flames of hell rolled 'round me
And in my eyes did shine.

I rolled and tumbled,
I prayed but found no rest,
For a burning, burning, burning hell
Was burning in my breast.

'Bout two or three days after this,
That Oxford girl was found
A-floating down the river
That led through Oxford town.

Her sister threw my life away
Without a fear or doubt.
Her sister swore I was the man
Who led her sister out.

Oh, God, they're going to hang me now
Between the earth and sky.
Oh, God, they're going to hang me,
The death I hate to die.

But I'd not mind the hanging,
If only I had rest
From this burning, burning, burning hell
That's burning in my breast.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. II, #150, "The Noel Girl"; Brown, Vol. II, #65, "The Lexington Murder"; Belden, p. 133, "The Oxford Girl."

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

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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