Mudcat Café message #3838722 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161381   Message #3838722
Posted By: Richie
13-Feb-17 - 03:15 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Died for Love: Sources: PART II
Subject: RE: Origins: Died for Love: Sources: PART II

The source of the Rena Hicks' version "I Am a Rambling Rowdy Boy" and the Buna Hicks' version "Rude and Rambling Boy" is Rebecca Harmon.

Buna got it directly from her mother-in-law, Rebecca. Roby Monroe, (Buna's husband) and Ben Hicks (Rena's father-in-law) were brothers and sons of Rebecca.

This is important because Rebecca (1842-1919) was Council Harmon's daughter and "Old Counce" was progenitor of the ballads and Jack tales for the family in the early 1800s.

Counce got his ballads from grandfather Big Sammy 1753-1835 who he lived with after his father Andrew Harmon was killed by a tree when Counce was very young. Big Sammy and his father David brought the ballads from Virginia before the Revolutionary War. David was a loyalist and apparently came to the mountains to avoid the rising conflicts with England.

So there's a good chance this ballad is from the 1700s. Here's Buna's version which seems to be more accurate:

Rude and Rambling Boy- sung by Buna Hicks of Beech Mountain, NC collected in 1941, collected by Frank and Anne Warner.
Learned from her mother-in-law Rebecca Harmon Hicks.

I am a rude and a rambling boy,
And a rude and a rambling boy I'll be;
I give this world, I am but sure
If I had she knew she loved me so.

Her old father came this to know,
That his daughter loved me so,
He cursed, he swore among them all
He swore he'd use the cannonball.

He came home so late at night
A-grieving for his heart's delight.
Upstairs he run, the door he broke,
He found her hung by her own bed rope.

Out with his knife, and he cut her down,
And in her bosom a letter he found;
Said: Dig my grave, both deep and wide;
And bury sweet William by my side.

All on my breast lay a turtle dove,
To show the world I she died for love.