Guide to the James R. York Family Folksong Collection, 1930 - 1972

Summary Information

Title: James R. York Family Folksong Collection, 1930 - 1972
Collection: AC.110
Extent: 0.5 linear feet (1 box)

James R. York (1907-circa. 1980s) and his wife Lessie York were singers of traditional songs which they learned from family members in Iredell and Davie Counties. The James York Family Folksong Collection contains both handwritten and typed folksongs.

Creator: York, James; York, Lessie

Biographical/Historical Note

James R. York (1907-circa. 1980s) and his wife Lessie York were singers of traditional songs which they learned from family members in Iredell and Davie Counties. Mr. York, a public school teacher and principal, and Mrs. York, a beautician, were recorded by W. Amos "Doc" Abrams while James was a student at Appalachian State Teacher's College in the early 1940s. Later, Appalachian State Teacher's College professor Cratis Williams recorded their singing.

Lessie York played the guitar while James York sang. In the 1940s, they participated in two of the annual meetings of the North Carolina Folklore Society and Mr. York was president of the Society in 1954 and another unknown date. The North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs awarded the Yorks a special citation in 1973. In 1977, the North Carolina Folklore Society awarded them with the Brown-Hudson Award. The James York Family Folksong Collection contains both handwritten and typed folksongs.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains traditional folksongs and ballads which folklorist and Appalachian State Teachers College English professor W. Amos Abrams encouraged York to collect and perform.


Contents are arranged alphabetically.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room without restrictions. An appointment for research is recommended. The Dougherty Reading Room is located on the 4th floor of Belk Library in Special Collections.

Acquisitions Information

The Yorks donated their recordings and song manuscripts to the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection in 1972. The recordings were relocated into Collection 102. Cratis D. Williams Papers, Miscellaneous Files Series, Audio-visual Materials Subseries prior to 1998. The James R. York Family Folksong Collection was opened to the public in 2000.

Processing Information

Processed by Kathryn Staley, 2000; Encoded by Kathryn Staley, Rachel Critzer, 2005

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], AC.110: James R. York Family Folksong Collection, W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA.

Container List

Collection 110. James R. York Family Folksong Collection.
Box Folder
1 1 Song Titles Beginning with "A"
    "Ain't Gonna Rain No More" [Papa]  
    "The All-Go-Hungry Has House"  
    "Another String to my B O Bow" [Both Families]  
Box Folder
1 2 Song Titles Beginning with "B"
    "Baby Bye, Here's a Fly" [Lyrics: Mama; Tune: Odessa Foster]  
    "Bachelors Hall"  
    "Barbara Allen" [Both Families]  
    "The Barrin' of the Door"  
    "Be Ashamed Tommy" [Papa]  
    "The Beauteous Maid" [Papa]  
    "Better Get in that Number" [Papa]  
    "Big Black Dog" [fragment: Papa]  
    "Billy Boy" [Both Families]  
    "Billy Grimes" [Papa and Mama Weatherman]  
    "Black-Eyed Suzy" [Papa]  
    "The Blind Girl" ["Learned as a child"]  
    "Blue Ridge Mountain Blues" [Papa]  
    "Bobby Shafto" [Mama]  
    "Bold Robin"  
    "The Boston Burglar" [Papa]  
    "The Burglar Man" [Papa Weatherman's sister, Bell]  
    "The Butchers Boy" [Papa; to the tune of Rake and Ramblin' Boy]  
    "By Lo Land" [Both Families]  
Box Folder
1 3 Song Titles Beginning with "C"
    "The Cap'n and the Walker"  
    "Careless Love" [Papa]  
    "Carry me to the Waters" [Papa and Mama]  
    "Casey Jones"  
    "Chanchung City- or the Ditch of the Briars" [Papa]  
    "Charles Guiteau" [Papa]  
    "Charming Betsy" [Papa]  
    "Chewing Gum Song" [Papa]  
    "Chick-A-Dee-Dee" [Mama]  
    "Chicken" [Grandpa and Papa]  
    "Cindy" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "Cindy (Papa's Words to Paul)" check!!  
    "Cluck old Hen" [Papa]  
    "Cripple Creek" [Papa]  
    "Cumberland Gap" [Papa]  
Box Folder
1 4 Song Titles Beginning with "D"
    "Darlin' Nellie Gray" [Papa]  
    "Dis Ol Hammer"  
    "The Ditch of Briars of Chanceburg City" [Granny Baity]  
    "Don't Cry My Bonnie Blue Eyes" [Papa W.]  
    "Don't Your Hear Jerusalem Moan?"  
    "Drowsy Sleeper" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "The Dying Cowboy" [Papa]  
Box Folder
1 5 Song Titles Beginning with "E"
    "Early, Early in the Spring" [Both Families]  
    "The Eastbound Train" [Papa]  
Box Folder
1 6 Song Titles Beginning with "F"
    "The Farmers Boy" (a fragment) [Aunt Alta]  
    "The Farmers Curst Wife"  
    "The Farmers Curst Wife" [Mama's Sister]  
    "Fly Around My Blue Eyed Girl" [Papa]  
    "Foggy Mountain Top"  
    "A Ford" [Papa W.]  
    "The 42nd Number" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "Frankie and Albert" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "Froggie Went a Courtin'" [Both Families]  
    "Froggie Went a Courtin" (collected)  
    "Fun Song-Yoner They Go" [Aunt Duck, Mama's Sister]  
Box Folder
1 7 Song Titles Beginning with "G"
    "Geordie" [Grandma York]  
    "George Callins" [Both Families]  
    "Georgie" [Papa; fragment]  
    "Georgy Buck" [Papa]  
    "The Girl I Left Behind Me"  
    "Gittin' on Down to Town" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "Give My Love to Nell"  
    "Go In and Out the Window" [Play Song]  
    "Go Shoot that Turkey Buzzard" [Mama]  
    "Go Tell Aunt Patsy" [Papa, Mama, Mother York]  
    "Go to Sleep, Little Baby" [Papa]  
    "Go to Sleep my Little Picaninny" [Odessa Foster]  
    "Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad" [Papa W.]  
    "Goin' to see Jennie Augusta" [A Game]  
    "Golden Willow Tree"  
    "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" [Song made by the Yorks' for One of their children]  
    "Good-Bye, Pretty Molly" [Papa]  
    "Green Gravel" [Game Played as a Small Child]  
    "The Green Growing Tree" [Papa]  
    "Groundhog" [Grandpa Dave Weatherman]  
    "Gyspy Dovie (Collected Tune)"  
    "Gypsy Dovie" [Papa Weatherman]  
Box Folder
1 8 Songs beginning with "H"
    "The Hammer Keeps a Ringing" [Papa]  
    "Hand Me Down my Walkin' Cane' [Papa; fragment]  
    "Hand Me Down my Walking Cane" [Papa]  
    "Hang Me Buttons if I don't Love Suzy"  
    "The Hangman's Song" [Papa]  
    "Hard Times in Here"(Old Cotton Mill Song) [Papa]  
    "Henry Ford Car" [Papa]  
    "Here, Rattler, Here"  
    "Here, Rattler, here, No. 2" [Papa]  
    "He's Gonna Reap Just What He Sows" [Papa]  
    "Hesitating Blues" [Papa]  
    "Honey, Don't You Wear No Black" [Papa]  
    "Honey, Where You Been So Long?" [Papa]  
    "The House Carpenter" [Papa and Mama]  
    "The House Carpenter" (Collected Tune)  
    "How Old Are you, My Pretty Little Miss?" [Papa]  
Box Folder
1 9 Songs beginning with "I"
    "I Came Home the Other Night as Drunk as I could Be" [Papa]  
    "I Courted in the Rain" [Papa]  
    "I Dreamed That I was Granddaddy" [Mama York]  
    "I Have No Mother Now"  
    "I Know You're Tired and Sleepy, Too" [Papa]  
    "I Love Sweet Willie" [Mama and Papa]  
    "I Wouldn't Have Him" [Mama and Papa Weatherman]  
    "Ida Red" [Papa  
    "I'll Remember You Love in My Prayers"  
    "I'm Gonna Drink of the living Waters" [Mama and Papa]  
    "In the Pines" [Papa]  
    "It Just Suits Me" [Papa]  
Box Folder
1 10 Songs beginning with "J"
    "Jennie Jenkins" [Papa]  
    "Jesse Jones" [Papa]  
    "Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land" [Papa W.]  
    "Jimmy Ranson" [Mama; a fragment]  
    "Joe Bowers" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "John Brown Had a Little Indian" [Both Families]  
    "John Hardy" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "John, I'll Tell Your Daddy" [Papa]  
    "Johnny Sands" [Mama York]  
    "Johnson Boys" [Papa]  
Box Folder
1 11 Songs beginning with "K"
    "Katy Kline" [Papa]  
    "Katy Kline"  
    "The Keeper"  
    "King Jesus Makin' Up a Dyin' Bed"  
    "Kitty Wells" [Papa]  
Box Folder
1 12 Songs beginning with "L"
    "Last Year I Ploughed a Long Horned Ox" [Papa W.]  
    "The Letter Edged in Black" [Song Sang as a Child]  
    "The Lexington Murder" [Papa]  
    "Little Black Mustache" [Mama Weatherman]  
    "Little Brown Jug" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "Little Matty Groves"  
    "Little Mohee" [Papa W.]  
    "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" [Papa W.]  
    "Little Rosewood Casket"  
    "Little Willie Weaver" [Mama and Papa W.]  
    "Locks and Doors" [Papa]  
    "Logan County Jail" [Papa]  
    "The Lone Prairie" [Both Families]  
    "Lord Bateman" [Mother York]  
    "Lord Bonnie" [Mama Weatherman]  
    "Lord, I Wish I was a Single Girl Again" [Papa and Mother York]  
    "Lord Ullin's Daughter"  
    "Lula Wall" [Papa]  
Box Folder
1 13 Songs beginning with "M"
    "The Master has Come Over Jordan" [Poem: Tune Made by Lessie at age 7]  
    "May I Sleep in Your Barn To-night Mister" ["I Learned This as a Child"]  
    "Me and My Donie" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "Midnight on the Stormy Deep"  
    "Mollie Malonie"  
    "Mama, Mama Have you Heard?" [Papa]  
    "Mama Sent Me to the Spring" [Mama Weatherman]  
    "Mandy Better be Quiltin'" [Papa]  
    "Most Done Traveling" [Papa W. another "add to" song, for as many verses as you want. Add "mothers, fathers, brothers, etc."]  
    "Mother Queen of My Heart"  
    "Mule Skinner Song" [Papa]  
    "My Blue-Eyed Boy" [Papa; a fragment]  
    "My Father Died a Shouting" [Papa]  
    "My Lord, What a Morning" [Papa and Mama York]  
Box Folder
1 14 Songs beginning with "N"
    "I Never 'Spect to Marry Anymore" [Papa]  
    "New River Train" [Papa]  
    "No Home, No Home, Cried a Little Girl"  
    "No Sign of a Marriage" [Mother York]  
    "Nobodys Business" [Papa Weatherman]  
Box Folder
1 15 Songs beginning with "O"
    "Oh I Give Her Kiss a One" [Papa and Mama]  
    "Oh, What Does the Deep Sea Say" [Papa and Mama, and the mother Family]  
    "Oh, Where is my Sweetheart?" [Learned As A Child]  
    "Okum Bessie Okum Poodle" [Papa; a fragment]  
    "Old Dan Tucker" [Papa]  
    "Old Jimmy Suttonton" [Papa]  
    "Old Joe Clark" [Both Families]  
    "Old Molly Hare" [Papa]  
    "Old Woman" [Both Families]  
    "The Old Woman and Her Pig" [Papa and Mama Weatherman]  
    "On the Banks of the Ohio" [Our families]  
Box Folder
1 16 Songs beginning with "P"
    "Pass Around the Bottle" [Papa]  
    "Pharoah's Army" [Papa  
    "Please, Mr. Conductor" [Only Remember A Small Part]  
    "Poor Jack Has Gone a Sailing" [Mother York, This Song is from the War of 1812]  
    "Poor Tommy" [Papa and Mama]  
    "The Paper of Pins" [Papa and Mama]  
    "Preacher in the Pulpit"  
    "The Preacher and the Bear" [Papa W.]  
    "Pretty Fair Field" [Mama]  
    "Pretty Fair Maid Out in the Garden" [Mama]  
    "Pretty Flowers Were Made" [Papa]  
    "Pretty Polly"  
    "Pretty Polly" [Mother York]  
    "Pretty Polly (collected tune)"  
    "The Prisoner at the Bar"  
    "The Prisoners Song" [Papa]  
    "The Promised Land" [Both Families]  
    "Puttin' on the Style" [Papa and Mama]  
Box Folder
1 17 Songs beginning with "Q"
    "Quack, Quack" Said the Duck" [Papa and Mama]  
Box Folder
1 18 Songs beginning with "R"
    "The Raggle Taggle Gypsies"  
    "A Rake and a Rambling Boy" [Papa]  
    "Raleigh Trains" [Papa]  
    "Red Wing" [Papa]  
    "Rye Whiskey" [Papa]  
    "The Rich Merchant" [Granny Baity]  
    "Rock-a-bye-Baby" [Mama]  
    "Role your Hands" (a game played as a child)  
    "The Romish Lady" [Uncle Thea Dilly, Mama's Brother]  
    "Row Us Over the Tide" [a fragment]  
    "Reuben's Train"  
Box Folder
1 19 Songs beginning with "S"
    "Sally Goodin" [Papa]  
    "Seven Long Years I've Been Married" [Papa; a fragment]  
    "She'll be Comin' Around the Mountain" [Papa; first a religious song]  
    "Shoo, Fly" [Papa W.]  
    "Shortin' Bread"  
    "Shout Along and Pray" [Papa and Mama]  
    "Shout Little Lula" [Papa; a fragment]  
    "Shout oh the Highway" [Papa]  
    "Shout, Shout We're Gaining Ground" [Papa]  
    "Silly Bill" [Papa]  
    "'Simmon Beer and Apple Jack" [Papa]  
    "Simon Slicks Mule" [Papa]  
    "Sing, Sing, What Shall I Sing" [Papa]  
    "Single Girl, Single Girl" [Papa]  
    "Single Life's a Happy Life" [Papa]  
    "Sir Hugh and the Jew's Daughter"  
    "Six Fat Ducks" [Mama and Papa]  
    "The Six Kings Daughters"  
    "Somebody Kickin' my Dog Around" [Papa]  
    "Sour-wood Mountain"  
    "The Storms are on the Ocean" [Papa]  
Box Folder
1 20 Songs beginning with "T"
    "T for Texas"  
    "Take Warning" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "Ten Little Indians" [Papa]  
    "The Texas Rangers" [Papa Weatherman]  
    "They Stood in the Moonlight"  
    "Tickled" [Papa]  
    "Tidlie Taldie"  
    "Time Enough Yet" [Papa]  
    "To Be Baptized" [Papa]  
    "Tom Dooley" [Papa; a fragment]  
    "Tommy Dooley"  
    "Tom Dooley"  
    "Tossed and Driven" [Papa]  
    "Turkey in the Straw"  
    "Twenty-one years"  
    "Two Little Children"  
    "The Iwa Sisters"  
Box Folder
1 21 Songs beginning with "W"
    "Waitin' for a Train" [Papa]  
    "We have Fathers Over Yonder" [Mama and Papa]  
    "What are Little Boys Made Of?" [Papa and Mama W.]  
    "What're You Gonna Do With the Baby" [Papa and Mama]  
    "When I was Single on Then" [Papa]  
    "That Good Road" [Papa]  
    "When This Worlds on Fire" [Papa and Mama W.]  
    "Where Shall I Be?" [Both Families]  
    "Where The Red, Red Roses Grow"  
    "Where'd You Get that Hat" [Papa]  
    "William Riley" [Mother York]  
    "Willie (oh They Say It is Sinful to Flirt)" [Papa and Mama]  
    "Who Killed Cock Robin" [Tune: Papa]  
    "Who'll Be a Witness for my Lord?" [Papa]  
    "Whoopee! Liza Jane" [Papa W.]  
    "Why Don't You Pray For Me" [Papa]  
    "The Wife of Usher's Well" [Mother York]  
    "Workin' on the Railroad"  
    "The Wreck of Old 97" [Papa]  
Box Folder
1 22 Songs beginning with "Y"
    "Yonder Goes a Rabbit"  
    "You Shall be Free" [Papa; a fragment]  
    "Young Johnny" [Mother York]