“The Murdered Wife or the Case of Henry G. Green”


"Come young and old attention give and lend a listening ear" as the singer tells of "a gay and sprightly youth who lived in Berlin Town." Henry Green becomes enamored of beautiful singer Mary Ann Wyatt, marries her, then murders her, and confesses


This rather rare broadside on the Mary Wyatt/Henry Green story can be distinguished from the more common ballad "Henry Green (The Murdered Wife)" by the lines quoted in the description and by its length.

According to Burt, Mary Ann Wyatt was a performer in a troupe which staged temperance dramas. Her appearance so excited Henry Green that he joined the troupe to court her. They were married in February 1845.

The marriage was so sudden that Green felt compelled to publicize it with a sleighing party for his friends, at which a former love told him that she had once wished to marry him. Wyatt felt sick the next day, and Green went to get some medicine. He shoved more and more down her throat, and she died by poison.

Burt claims that there are seven different songs written about this story, but cites only this, parts of the Laws ballad, and a single stanza of a third (which might, however, be part of the Laws piece). - RBW

Historical references

  • 1845 - Murder of Mary Ann Wyatt Green (February) and execution of Henry Green (September)

Cross references


  1. Burt, pp. 8-11, "The Murdered Wife or the Case of Henry G. Green" (1 text)
  2. BI, Burt008


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1937 (Bulletin of theFolk Song Society of the Northeast)
Found in: US