“E. P. Walker”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1912 (composed)
Keywords: farming harvest technology work worker
Found in: Canada(West)

Description

E. P. Walker's thresher gets caught and fails to work. Someone drops in a wrench; the engineer can't be found. Another farmer buys a different threshing machine. Cho: "E.P. Walker mounted to the separator/E.P. Walker, with his oilcan in his hand...."

Long description

E. P. Walker, a thresher, gets caught in the machinery, then the machine repeatedly fails to work. Someone accidentally drops in a monkey wrench; they try to stop the machine, but the engineer can't be found. Finally another farmer, not wanting to take a chance, goes and buys a different brand of threshing machine. Cho: "E.P. Walker mounted to the separator/E.P. Walker, with his oilcan in his hand...Took his farewell trip to the thresher's land"

Notes

According to Barbara Cass-Beggs, "This song was composed in the fall of 1912, during the delays in threshing, by the young homesteaders who made up the threshing crew. E. P. Walker's threshing machine was the first to be brought into the newly settled district of Malvern Link.... All the names are authentic and so are the incidents.... The song was very popular and is still remembered."

A very local traditional song, but traditional nonetheless. The song was collected from Winnifred Turner of Swift Current, Sask., whose late husband was one of the farmers mentioned. - PJS

Cross references

Recordings