“The Fatal Oak”


"'Tis a mournful story I relate, Of three young men who met their fate." The logging team takes their raft downriver and stops for the night. The captain says the site is bad. Come morning, an oak crashes and kills the three loggers.


Rickaby's source stated that this song was "written by Mrs. Abbie Payne," but I suspect Payne merely wrote it out. Surely an actual author would have produced a more coherent place -- as the song stands it reads as though the Captain deliberately condemned his men to death by not mocing the campsite.

The accident is said to have taken place on the Kickapoo river in the early 1870s.

This is item dC39 in Laws's Appendix II. - RBW


  1. Rickaby 29, "The Fatal Oak" (1 text)
  2. Roud #9060
  3. BI, Rick116


Author: Mrs. Abbie Payne?
Earliest date: 1926 (Rickaby)
Keywords: logger death river
Found in: US(MW)