Silver Jack [Laws C24]

DESCRIPTION: Robert Waite condemns the Bible as fictitious and Jesus as "just a common man." Silver Jack proceeds to beat the "infidel" until he admits the error of his ways.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1915 (article, John A. Lomax)
KEYWORDS: Bible fight
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Laws C24, "Silver Jack"
Rickaby 32, "Silver Jack" (1 text)
RickabyDykstraLeary 32, "Silver Jack" (1 text)
Hudson 78, pp. 206-207, "Silver Jack" (1 text)
Lomax-FSNA 60, "Silver Jack" (1 text, 1 tune)
Beck 38, "Lumberjack's Revival" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Tristram P. Coffin and Hennig Cohen, _Folklore in America: Tales, Songs, Superstitions, Proverbs, Riddles, Games, Folk Drama and Folk Festivals_, Doubleday, 1966, pp. 85-87, "Silver Jack" (1 text)
Hal Cannon, editor, _Cowboy Poetry: A Gathering_, Giles M. Smith, 1985, pp. 21-23, "Silver Jack" (1 text)

Roud #705
cf. "Clementine" (tune)
cf. "Bung Yer Eye" (character)
cf. "The Protestant Maid" (subject: religious conversion) and references there
Religion in Camp
Silver Jack the Evangelist
NOTES [173 words]: John "Silver Jack" Driscoll seems to have been the subject of this ballad; a quarrelsome, fighting man from the Saginaw valley of Michigan, he apparently fought too hard one time, and was sent to prison. To quote T. G. Belanger: "He died with his boots off, in the Ottawa Hotel, in L'Anse, Michigan, April 1, 1895. Beside him ...were found the following: a bottle of cough medicine, $85.00 in bills, and a note: 'This will be enough to bury me.'" - PJS
This particular example of Christian charity and peacefulness is suspected by both Hudson and Lomax (without supporting evidence) of having been originally published in a newspaper. Given its anti-intellectual tone (stanza 1 describes Waite as "Kind of cute and smart and tonguey; Guess he was a graduate"), I am inclined to doubt this. - RBW
I'm not; newspapers could be rabidly anti-intellectual. Read the Chicago Tribune during the McCormick era, or the early Hearst press. - PJS
But would any newspaperman claim that "the spread of infidelity Was checked in camp that day"? - RBW
Last updated in version 4.3
File: LC24

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