Eastbound Train ballad second favorite in genre

Published 2:49 pm Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Among ballads that told stories with a train venue, An Eastbound Train was the second favorite of Dark Corners mountain people. It tells of a young girls trip to visit her father in prison.

While recalling the lyrics recently, I was reminded of a modern-day parallel. So many children in this country today have parents in prison serving sentences of varying lengths. With all our support groups, both governmental and private, in so many areas, few are groups or ministries that assist the children of prisoners.

This ballad, like most, was performed a cappella, allowing the voice and personality of each singer to add unique nuances to the story with each retelling.

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Here are the lyrics:

An Eastbound Train

An eastbound train was crowded,

One cold December day;

The conductor shouted, Tickets,

In his old-time fashioned way.

A little girl in sadness,

Her hair was bright as gold;

She said, I have no ticket,

And then, her story told.

My father, hes in prison,

Hes lost his sight, they say;

Im going for his pardon,

This cold December day.

My mothers daily sewing

To try to earn our bread;

While poor, old Dads in prison,

Hes blind and almost dead.


My brother and my sister

Would both be very glad

If I could only bring back

Our poor, dear old blind Dad.

The conductor did not answer,

Nor could he make reply;

But taking a rough hand and wiping

A tear down from his eye,

He said, God bless you, little one,

Just sit right where you are;

Youll never need a ticket

While I am on this car.


Our national Barton Historical Society will be holding its annual meeting at the Hyatt in Greenville, Oct. 1-3. We will be taking an all-day tour on Friday, Oct. 1, to cover much of the Dark Corner and old home sites of Tyger River area Barton ancestors. An historical marker will be placed at the David Barton (1785-1838) home site as part of the tour.

A new, CCB Coalition of volunteers, to assist the Greenville County Recreation District in maintenance of grounds at the all-new Campbells Covered Bridge Historic Park on Pleasant Hill Road, has been formed. A work day to reseed areas of fescue grass is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to noon. All volunteers are welcome. Call me at 864-468-4949 if you can help then, or at some future time.