“James Munks's Confession”


Munks tells the story of how he turned from his parents' good ways. He killed Reuben Guile, took his horse and money, hid his body, and fled. Captured and taken, he has been sentenced to die. He now reveals details of the murder

Supplemental text

James Munks's Confession
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

From Mary O. Eddy, Ballads and Songs from Ohio, #113, pp. 256-257.
From Mrs. S. T. Topper, Ashland, Ohio.

 1. Oh, come all ye good people, it's now I have come to view
      The sad and unhappy fate which I now come unto;
    I pray you all take warning by my unhappy fate
      And shun vice and folly before it is too late,
        And alas, I am undone.

 2. Oh, it was in Center County where I first drew breath,
    And in that same county I met my shameful death;
    Had I took the council my parents gave to me
    I never should have suffered all on the shameful tree,
        And alas, I am undone.

 3. Oh, come, friends, all remember James Munks is my name,
      This day I confess it with sorrow and shame;
    I shot Reuben Guile whom I never saw before,
      I left him lie waldring all in his bloody gore,
        And alas, I am undone.

 4. Oh, the Devil so possessed me before he was quite dead,
      I took my tomahawk and gave him two blows on the head,
    Still thinking this wilful murder should never come to light
      Being done in the wilderness in the dead of night,
        And alas, I am undone.

 5. Oh, his horse and saddle bag they soon became my prey,
      His watch and his pocketbook I also took away,
    And in his saddle blanket I rolled his bloody clothes,
      I left his naked body to the wild beasts exposed,
       And alas, I am undone.

 6. Oh, I hid his bloody shirt in the trunk of a tree,
      Which quickly was found and presented to me,
    To show this private murder should never be concealed;
      The dog told the secret, and the whole was revealed,
        And alas, I am undone.

 7. Oh,'tis God who all secrets knows, he has ordained it so
      That this author should not unpunished go;
    His bones were presented and brought before my trial;
      This last shock and proof would permit of no denial,
        And alas, I am undone.

 8. Oh, council endeavored to save me from the tree
      But the judge and the jury no favor showed to me;
    And soon I was found guilty, sentence on me passed,
      And now I have come to suffer by this fatal account at last,
        And alas, I am undone.

 9. Oh, here is one thing I tell you before I do quit time,
      I blamed Andy Alison for this my cruel crime;
    But since I am to die, to tell a lie I scorn;
      He is as clear and as innocent as the babe unborn,
        And alas, I am undone.

10. Oh, I hope there is none so wretched would be
      As to cast this crime to my young posterity;
    I bid a long farewell to all I leave behind,
      I die a true and impenitent and peace to all mankind,
        And alas, I am undone.


This song is item dE40 in Laws's Appendix II. - RBW


  1. Eddy 113, "James Munks's Confession" (1 text)
  2. ST E113 (Full)
  3. Roud #4100
  4. BI, E113


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1939 (Eddy)
Found in: US(MW)