The Hunter's Death

from by The Lost Forty

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about

Reuben Phillips said this unusual song was composed in northern New York around 1849 in the vicinity of Hopkinton, his birthplace, and that it was based on an actual man, John Lomace, who lived in the area. Westfield, Vermont is about 100 miles east of Hopkinton on the other side of Lake Champlain. Both towns are near the “northern line” where one crosses into Canada.

Collector Gordon was drawn to “The Hunter’s Death” and published the song’s text in the August 20, 1924 edition of his column “Old Songs That Men Have Sung” calling it “a curious little song, particularly in its use of the short but effective line without rime at the end of each stanza.”

lyrics

Well, you hunters brave and bold I pray attend,
To this relation hear what I have seen,
It’s of a hunter bold,
’Twill make your blood run cold,
To hear the story told,
How he suffered there.

To hunt when he was young was his delight,
And when to manhood grown, his favorite,
To hunt the fallow deer,
The roe buck and the bear,
The turkey, coon and hare,
With smaller game.

The people gathered round on hill and dale,
No venison could be found his hunting failed,
He went in forty-nine,
Towards the northern line,
It was his whole design,
To hunt that grove.

Well now comes on the day that was his last,
Old Boreas blew away an awful blast,
It both rain, hailed and snowed,
The stormy winds did blow,
Well, it chilled his body so,
Poor man was lost.

All in the drifting snow laid himself down,
No further could he go, there he was found,
His powder so complete,
Was strewed from head to feet,
That the vermin might not eat,
His body there.

Well you wish to know his name and where he’s from,
And of what stock he came and where he’s born,
He’s of as noble a race,
As any in the place,
And his name was John Lomace,
Born in Westfield.

credits

from The Lonesome Hours of Winter, released November 23, 2018
Brian: vocals, guitar
Randy: guitar

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The Lost Forty Saint Paul, Minnesota

Brian Miller and Randy Gosa craft intricate arrangements of rare old songs entwined with the history of the Great Lakes region. Their sources and their approach celebrate two centuries of Irish musical influence on the under-explored folk song traditions of the north woods. ... more

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