Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Ballad of Eugene Butcher

"Working for the railroad was not an easy job and certainly not for the fainthearted. The trackmen worked in the weather, rain or boiling sun, and the men had to be a hearty breed. The men worked with sledge hammers, rails, ties, ballast stone and spikes, and there were many mashed fingers, bruised ribs, and aching backs, as well as the tragic deaths."1

The ballad Eugene Butcher tells the story of a young railroad worker who was killed on the job in 1912. He was in Weston, but the experience was repeated throughout the region.2 In this home-made 1986 recording, 82 year old Georgia Ann Carr of Glenville sings the ballad Eugene Butcher.3

Please click on the image to the left to hear Georgie Carr's song. Be patient, it may take a while to load.

Dave Hyre is Eugene Butcher's grand-nephew. Dave's paternal grandmother, Virginia Mae Butcher, was Eugene's sister. The portraits of Gene and Bessie as well as the obituary and additional information that follow are from Dave.

(Weston Democrat. Fri. 2 Feb. 1912)
Obituary BUTCHER, EUGENE (GENE) Freight brakeman, of Haleville, died of injuries received in a railroad accident Wednesday. He died Thursday morning. Body was brought to Weston for interment. Mr. Butcher survived by wife and several children.

"Eugene Butcher was the son of Granville S. M. Butcher and Madora Ann (Knicely) Butcher. He was born October 8, 1889 in Lewis County, and died February 1, 1912 at Weston following a train accident. He was married to Bessie Beatrice Butcher daughter of James Newton Butcher and Margaret Ann Johnson.

"Georgie Carr's ballad speaks of a surviving "Wife and Child". Eugene's obit in newspaper says 'several children' even though they had only been married 2 1/2 years. Bessie re-married to Lester Lemmel Lemons, September 6, 1915.

"Eugene had a life long fascination with trains, I have pictures of him as a boy playing around box cars, with his brother. I have another photo of Eugene as a railroad employee standing next to his fellow railroad employee Lester Lemons."

See the following entries
Oct 06, '06
Orlando Train Wreck in the 1920s
Nov 12, '06
Trackmen & Maintenance of Way Workers
Nov 18, '06
Railroad Tragedies
Nov 30, '06
Another Death On The Rails

1. David Parmer, from the entry November 18, '06 Railroad Tragedies
2. By road, today, Orlando is just under 20 miles from both Glenville and Weston, Glenville and Weston are about 27 miles apart.

3. Glenville State College West Virginia Oral History Collection
4. Dave Hyre, Brockton, MA

1 comment:

  1. I have been trying to get a mp3 recording of this song for some time with no results. My mother used to sing the song when I was a young boy. I have the poem copy of the song but I would like to have a cd with the song on it. Also any pictures of Eugene would be appreciated. I do Geaneology. You can email me
    Thanks JWM