“Bald Knobber Song, the”


"Adieu to old Kirbyville, I can no longer stay. Hard Times and Bald Knobbers have driven me away." He does not wish to leave family and home, but the vigilante Bald Knobbers drove him away. He describes their various villainies


The Bald Knobbers were named after the rise of ground on which they met. They organized in 1884 to combat outlaws in Taney County, Missouri, but soon turned outlaw themselves, being regarded by some as the Ozark equivalent of the Klan. More details can be found in Randolph, who describes their leader and some of their victims, including the alleged author of the song. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1884 - Organization of the Bald Knobbers
  • 1889 - Dispersal of the Bald Knobbers


  1. Randolph 154, "The Bald Knobber Song" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune, plus a third brief fragment of another piece)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 175-177, "The Bald Knobber" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 154A)
  3. Burt, p. 164-165, "(Bald Knobbers' Song)" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Roud #5486
  5. BI, R154


Author: Andrew Coggburn?
Earliest date: 1932 (Randolph)
Found in: US(Ro,So)