Nell Cropsey (III -- Swift Flowing River)
DESCRIPTION: "Oh, swift flowing river, A secret you hold, Way down in the depths Of the water so cold." The singer begs the river to tell its secret. A "fair girl" is missing, "stolen away in the night." "The secret, Oh River, You surely must know."
EARLIEST DATE: 1934 (Elizabeth City _Daily Advance_); reportedly collected 1902
KEYWORDS: homicide river
1901 - Murder of Ella Maude "Nellie" Cropsey, presumably by her former lover Jim Wilcox
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Chappell-FSRA 62, "Nell Cropsey, II" (1 text)
ST ChFRA062 (Partial)
cf. "Nell Cropsey (I)" (subject of some versions) and references there
NOTES: Although Chappell lists this as a Nell Cropsey song, and the details (such few as the song contains) fit that case, Cropsey is not mentioned in the text; it might be about another murder.
Roud lumps this with all the other Nell Cropsey songs, but it is clearly distinct. The real question is, Is it traditional? The only collection is Chappell's, from a printed source, allegedly based on a poem (song?) taken down around the time of the murder. - RBW
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