James Whalen [Laws C7]
DESCRIPTION: Jim Whalen is told by his foreman to help clear a logjam. When the jam breaks, he is thrown into the rapids and drowned.
AUTHOR: John Smith (?)
EARLIEST DATE: 1926 (Rickaby)
KEYWORDS: logger death drowning lumbering
FOUND IN: US(MW,NE) Canada(Mar,Ont)
REFERENCES (13 citations):
Laws C7, "James Whalen"
Doerflinger, pp. 243-244, "Whalen's Fate (George Whalen)"
Rickaby 3, "Jim Whalen" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Gardner/Chickering 110, "James Wayland" (1 text)
Fowke/Johnston, pp. 82-83, "Jim Whalen" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke-Lumbering #31, "Jimmy Whelan" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke/MacMillan 25, "Jimmy Whelan" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ives-NewBrunswick, pp. 39-41, "James Whalen" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke-Ontario 49, "Jimmy Whelan" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sandburg, p. 389, "James Whaland" (1 text, 1 tune)
Beck 53, "James Whalen" (1 text)
DT 601, JMMYWHEL*
ADDITIONAL: Walter Havinghurst, _Upper Mississippi: A Wilderness Saga_, Farrar & Rinehart, 1937, 1944, p. 228, "(Swan Swanson)" (1 fragment, clearly this, with the source unidentified but with a character name seemingly not found elsewhere)
Emerson Woodcock, "Jimmie Whelan" (on Lumber01)
cf. "Lost Jimmie Whalen" [Laws C8] (subject)
NOTES: Rickaby reports this to be based on an actual incident, in which James Phalen (so spelled; pronounced Whalen) died at "King's Chute" on the Mississippi River. (That's the Canadian Mississippi, a tributary of the Ottawa). Rickaby's informant, Cristopher Forbes, is the source of the claim that John Smith of Lanark wrote the song.
The date of the event is uncertain; Rickaby states it was in 1878, but Fowke quotes Phalen's grand-niece to the effect that the date was 1876.
There is one other sidelight to this, the significance of which I do not know. The song "Mickey Free," about logging in northwestern Wisconsin, claims that the singer "held me own with Whalen." This song is believed to have been written 1878. Is it the same Whalen? There were, of course, loggers from Canada in the Wisconsin woods in that period, and "James Whalen" eventually was known in the adea, but would they have been treating such a recent event as legendary? I don't know. - RBW
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