“The Rowan County Crew (Trouble, or Tragedy)”


An account of the Tolliver-Martin feud, which the legal system is powerless to end. Casualties of the fighting include John Martin, Floyd Tolliver, Sol Bradley (an innocent bystander), and Deputy Sheriff Baumgartner; even this does not end the feud


Jean Thomas, who knew both James W. Day (who had been in the area when the feud started) and Lucy (Mrs. John) Martin, has extensive notes about the arguments which led to this feud.

Interestingly, Thomas attributes this song to James W. Day, not "Jilson Setters," even though she always calls him "Setters" elsewhere. I can't even find a hint in Thomas that the two were the same. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1884 - Date of the Tolliver-Martin shootings

Cross references


  • Dock Boggs, "Rowan County Crew" (on Boggs1, BoggsCD1)
  • Ted Chesnut, "The Rowan County Feud" (Champion 15524 [possibly as Cal Turner], 1928; on KMM)
  • Robert L. Day, "The Rowan County Crew" (AFS, 1938; on KMM)


  1. Laws E20, "The Rowan County Crew (Trouble, or Tragedy)"
  2. Thomas-Makin', pp. 5-9, "Rowan County Troubles" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Randolph 169, "The Rowan County Crew" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Combs/Wilgus 61, pp. 161-162, "The Tolliver Song" (1 text)
  5. JHCox 39, "A Tolliver-Martin Feud Song" (1 text)
  6. JHCoxIIB, #1A-C, pp. 111-118, "The Rowan County Crew" (2 texts plus a fragment, 2 tunes)
  7. Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 891-892, "Rowan County Troubles" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Darling-NAS, pp. 194-195, "The Rowan County Crew" (1 text)
  9. DT 703, ROWANCRW
  10. Roud #465
  11. BI, LE20


Author: James W. Day ("Jilson Setters")
Earliest date: 1918 (Cox)
Keywords: feud death fight injury
Found in: US(Ap,SE,So,SW)