Floyd Frazier (Ellen Flannery) [Laws F19]

DESCRIPTION: Floyd Frazier kills Ellen Flannery and hides her body. A search is started after her orphaned children are found crying. Her body is discovered, and Floyd is arrested. He confesses to the crime; the singer hopes he will be hanged
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1937 (catalogued by Alan and Elizabeth Lomax)
KEYWORDS: homicide children orphan
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
May 21, 1907 - Reported death date of Ellen Flanary
May 19, 1910 - Scheduled date of the execution for Floyd Frazier for the murder of Ellen Flanary (ee NOTES)
FOUND IN: US(Ap)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Laws F19, "Floyd Frazier (Ellen Flannery)"
Combs/Wilgus 68, pp. 155-157, "Floyd Frazier" (1 text)
Roberts, #31, Floyd Frazier" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 735, FLOYFRAZ

Roud #695
NOTES: Roberts, pp. 333-334, was given a lead by one of his informants which led him to discover details of the case. Ellen Flanary was "a widder with five or six children," according to a local official. Frazier, it is believed, tried to rape her, then murdered her and partly covered her body with rocks. He was tried twice and sentenced to death both times. The account in Roberts does not reveal any of the evidence against him.
Although the excerpt printed by Roberts says Frazier was supposed to die on July 9, 1909, I found an online copy of a Whitesburg, Kentucky newspaper (May 26, 1910), which says that he was hung on May 19, 1910. He was still in his early twenties, reportedly having been born in 1886.
Roberts reports that, contrary to the song, he never confessed. Supposedly three thousand people witnessed the execution.
Earlier editions of this Index reported a date for the song of 1909, but did not reveal where I found that date. My guess is that it was someone's error for the date of Frazier's trial. The date is barely possible, since the longest versions (Combs's and Roberts's) don't actually refer to the execution, but I very much doubt it. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: LF19

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