“Pearl Bryan (III)”


Pearl Bryan appeals to Jackson for help; he is not interested and, with (Alonzo) Walling, cuts off her head and abandons the body


To tell this song from the other Pearl Bryan ballads, consider this first stanza (from Eddy):

In Greencastle lived a maiden

She was known the wide world o'er;

She was murdered by Scott Jackson

Whom she fondly did adore.

Comparison with Eddy's other text (which also lacks a melody) would seem to imply that the two could be one -- but Laws separates them, so the Index does the same. - RBW

Historical references

  • Feb 1, 1896 - Discovery of the headless body of Pearl Bryan, killed along with her unborn child by Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling, near Fort Thomas, Kentucky
  • Mar 20, 1897 - Execution of Jackson and Walling

Cross references

  • cf. "The Jealous Lover (I), The (Florella, Floella) (Pearl Bryan II) (Nell Cropsey II) [Laws F1A, B, C]" [Laws F1], particularly the "B" subgroup of Pearl Bryan ballads
  • cf. "Pearl Bryan I" [Laws F2]
  • cf. "Pearl Bryan IV"


  1. Laws F3, "Pearl Bryan III"
  2. Eddy 105, "A Fatal Acquaintance" (2 texts, but Laws considers only the B text part of this ballad; the A text may belong with Pearl Bryan II)
  3. DT 755, PERLBRY3
  4. Roud #2213
  5. BI, LF03


Author: unknown
Keywords: homicide abandonment
Found in: US(Ap,MW)