ROANE COUNTY (aka Roane County Prison)
(Traditional - Joe Ahr)
Bill Monroe - 1957
Mac Wiseman - 1975
Also recorded by: The Stanley Brothers.
In the beautiful hills, way back in Roane County
There's where I roamed for many long years
There's where my heart's been tending most ever
That's where the first step of misfortune I made
I was about thirty years when I courted and married
Amanda Gilbraith was then called my wife
Her brother stabbed me for some unknown reason
Just three months later I'd taken Tom's life
For twenty five years this whole world I rambled
I went to old England, to France and to Spain
But I thought of my home way back in Roane County
I boarded a steamer and came back again
I was captured and tried in the village of Kingston
Not a man in the county would speak one kind word
When the jury came in with the verdict next morning
A lifetime in prison was the words that I heard
When the train pulled out poor mother stood weepin'
And sister she sat alone with a sigh
And the last words I heard was "Willie, God bless you"
Was "Willie, God bless you, God bless you, good bye"
In the scorching hot sand of the foundry I'm workin'
Toiling and working my poor life away
They'll measure my grave on the banks of old Cumberland
Just as soon as I finish the rest of my days
Sweet Martha was grave but Corey was better
There's better and worse, although you can see
Boys when you write home from the prison in Nashville
Place one of my songs in your letter for me
(Contributed by - October 2009)