“Who Would Have Tho't Harmon”


"Who would have tho't Harmon, that hum drum old fox, Who looks so bemeaning with his tousled locks, Would have had resolution to stand to the tack?" The speakers (Ned [Fanning] and Frank [Nash] ?) lament the troubles the regulators cause


One of four "regulator" songs in Brown. The regulators were a group of protesters against high taxes and fees, found mostly in North Carolina though some also were active in South Carolina.

The Regulators formally organized in 1766, when William Tryon (1725-1788) was governor of North Carolina (1765-1771) ; he defeated them at Almance in 1771. That was Tryon's way; as governor of New York (1771-1778) he was equally harsh. His successors then turned to compromise.

Edmund Fanning (the "Ned" of the song?), a Yale graduate of 1757, was a favorite of Tryon's; after moving to North Carolina, he went from being a local attorney to a Superior Court clerk and legislator. He also built a reputation for extreme avarice, making him a particular target for the regulators (and vice versa). A loyalist during the Revolution (commanded the King's American Regiment of Foot), he died in London

"Frank" is probably Francis Nash, the county clerk. - RBW

Cross references


  1. BrownII 280, "Who Would Have Tho't Harmon" (1 text)
  2. BI, BrII280


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1952 (Brown)
Keywords: political nonballad
Found in: US(SE)