“The Virginia Strike of '23”


"In the dear old town of Princeton... Fire hundred railroad employees were as happy as could be... But they believed in Satan and quit their jobs that fall." The singer was one of those fooled into striking. Now he wishes he had his job back.


According to Cohen, Roy Harvey was an engineer on the Virgina Railroad, and was one of those who struck in 1923. He and many of his fellow workers came to believe that they had been deceived by their union. He reportedly wrote this song to try to get his job back. Reportedly there was some sympathy for him in the company, but not enough. And then, of course, came the Depression. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1923 - about two thirds of the employees of the Virginia Railroad go on strike. The union brings in replacements; the company suffers several accidents in coming years but never rehires the strikers

Cross references


  • Roy Harper [pseud. for Roy Harvey] and Earl Shirkey, "The Virginia Strike of '23" (Columbia 15535-D, 1930; rec. 1929)


  1. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 591-595, "The Virginia Strike of '23" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, LSRai591


Author: Roy Harvey
Earliest date: 1929 (recording, Roy Harvey and Earl Shirkey)