“The Meeks Family Murder (IV)”


George Meeks is in prison, but is offered a pardon to testify against the Taylors. The Taylors offer him a job and money to come with him, but then kill him and his family. Nellie escapes and laments being an orphan


For more historical details on this piece, see the notes to "The Meeks Family Murder" (I).

This is item dF49 in Laws's Appendix II.

To tell this ballad from the other Meeks Murder songs, consider this first stanza:

In Milan, Sullivan County,

There lived a family poor,

A father and a mother,

Three children around the door. - RBW

Historical references

  • May 11, 1894 - Gus Meeks, his wife, and two children are killed by William and George Taylor (who are suspected of cattle stealing). William Taylor was hanged; George escaped and was not recaptured

Cross references


  1. Belden, pp. 404-412, "The Meeks Family Murder" (11 texts, 2 tunes, grouped into types A-E; the "B" group of 5 texts and 1 tune is this song, though Laws lists only three texts -- B1, B3, and either B2 or B4, probably the latter -- as this piece; in addition, some of Belden's "A" texts, which belong to "The Meeks Family Murder (I)", appear to have mixed with this piece. Belden's "D" is too brief to categorize, and "E" is not traditional)
  2. Roud #2269
  3. BI, Beld408A


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1912 (Belden)
Found in: US(So)