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Pennsylvania Miner, song lyrics

Song: Pennsylvania Miner
Lyrics: Phillips Thompson

Year: circa late 19th century
Country: USA

Come, listen, fellow working men, my story, I'll relate,
How workers in the coal mines fare in Pennsylvania State;
Come, hear a sad survivor, from beside his childrens' graves,
And learn how free Americans are treated now as slaves.

They robbed us of our pay,
They starved us day by day,
They shot us down on the hillside brown,
And swore our lives away.

For years we toiled on patiently - they cut our wages down;
We struck - they sent the Pinkertons to drive us from the town;
We held a meeting near the mine, some hasty words were said,
A volley from the Pinkertons laid half-a-dozen dead.
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I had a little family, the youngest scarce could creep;
Next night the hireling ruffian band aroused us out of sleep;
They battered in our cabin door - we pleaded all in vain.
They turned my wife and children out to perish in the rain.


They died of cold and famine there beneath the open sky,
While pitying neighbors stood around, but all as poor as I;
You never saw such misery - God grant you never may.
The sight is branded on my soul until my dying day.
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Half-crazed I wandered round the spot, and just beyond the town
I met a dastard Pinkerton and struck the villian down;
My brain was frenzied with the thought of children, friends and wife,
I set my heel upon his throat and trampled out his life.


And now I roam an outlawed man, no house or friends have I,
For if the law can track me down I shall be doomed to die;
But very little should I care what many become of me,
If all the land would rise and swear such things no more shall be.



1 - The Labor Reform Songster, 1892, by Phillips Thompson, published in Philadelphia, Journal of the Knights of Labor, 1892, p.7-8.

2 - The Legend of the Molly Maguires, from the Pennsylvania Center for the Book.