The Jam on Gerry's Rock

(Young Monroe at Gerry's Rock; Young Munroe)

Come all you true-born shanty-boys, wherever you may be,
Come sit you on the deacon seat and listen unto me.
I'll sing the jam on Gerry's Rock and a hero you should know,
The bravest of all shanty-boys, the foreman, Young Monroe.

It was on a Sunday morning, as you will quickly hear,
Our logs were piled mountain high, we could not keep them clear.
Our foreman said: "Come, cheer up, lads, with hearts relieved of fear,
We'll break the jam on Gerry's Rock and for Saginaw we'll steer."

Now some of them were willing, while others they were not,
For to work on jams on Sunday they did not think we ought;
But six of our Canuck boys did volunteer to go,
And it carried off those six brave lads, and their foreman, Young Monroe.

They had not rolled off many logs when they heard his clear voice say:
"I'd have you lads on your guard, for the jam will soon give way."
These words were hardly spoken when the mass did break and go,
And it carried off those six brave lads, and their foreman, Young Monroe.

When the rest of our shanty-boys, the sad news came to heard,
In search of their dead comrades, to the river they did steer.
Some of the mangled bodies a-floating down did go,
While crushed and bleeding near the bank was that of Young Monroe.

They took him from his watery grave, smoothed back his raven hair;
There was one fair girl among them whose sad cries rent the air;
There was one fair form among them, a maid from Saginaw town,
Whose moans and cries rose to the skies, for her true lover who'd gone down.

For Clara was a nice young girl, the riverman's true friend;
She with her widowed mother dear, lived near the river's bend,
The wages of her own true love the boss to her did pay,
And the shanty-boys for her made up a generous purse next day.

They buried him with sorrow deep, 'twas on the first of May;
Come all you brave shanty-boys and for your comrade pray.
Engraved upon a hemlock tree that by the grave did grow,
Was the name and date of the sad fate of the foreman, Young Monroe.

Fair Clara did not long survive; her heard broke with her grief,
And scarcely two months later death came to her relief.
And when this time had passed away and she was called to go,
Her last request was granted, to rest beside Young Monroe.

Come all you brave shanty-boys: I would have you call and see
Those two green mounts by the riverside, where grows the hemlock tree.
The shanty-boys cleared off the wood, by the lovers there laid low:
'Twas handsome Clara Vernon and our foreman, Young Monroe.

From An American Sailor's Treasury by Frank Shay (1991)