“Hanging of Charlie Birger”

Author: Carson Robison (or, possibly, Andrew Jenkins)
Earliest date: 1928 (recording, Vernon Dalhart)
Keywords: accusation betrayal crime execution homicide punishment death suicide outlaw
Found in: US

Description

Charlie Birger is feared throughout the Midwest; after the shooting of Joe Adams, Birger's henchman Thomasson turns state's evidence and Birger is sentenced to hang. Despite appeals and an unsuccessful suicide attempt, he is hanged on April 19, 1928.

Long description

Charlie Birger, bandit, is feared throughout the Midwest; after the shooting of Joe Adams and a public outcry, Birger's henchman Thomasson turns state's evidence and Birger is sentenced to hang. Despite appeals and an unsuccessful suicide attempt, he is hanged on April 19, 1928. The singer draws lessons in morality from this story

Notes

Birger's gang, and the rival Shelton Bros. gang, made Williamson Co. in southern Illinois a battleground in the mid-1920s, fighting over the rights to the regional bootlegging trade. The first bomb ever dropped on United States soil was a load of dynamite the Sheltons dropped on Birger's hangout from an airplane. The song accurately tells what happened after that. - PJS

Historical references

Recordings

References

  1. Burt, pp. 214-215, "(The Death of Charlie Burger)" (1 text)
  2. DT, CBIRGER
  3. BI, DTcbirge