Floyd Collins [Laws G22]
DESCRIPTION: Floyd Collins is trapped in a cave from which a rescue party cannot free him. He tells his parents that he had dreamt this would happen. At last, still trapped, he dies
AUTHOR: Words: Andrew Jenkins
EARLIEST DATE: 1925 (copyright)
KEYWORDS: disaster dream death family
Jan 30, 1925 - Floyd Collins is trapped in a "sandhole" cave near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, where he is caught by a landslide. He was discovered by his brother the next day, but attempts to rescue him failed
Feb 16, 1925 - Collins is found to be dead
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,Ro,SE)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Laws G22, "Floyd Collins"
BrownII 212, "Floyd Collins" (1 text plus 2 excerpts)
Gardner/Chickering 125, "Floyd Collins" (2 texts)
Carey-MarylandFolkloreLife, pp. 55-56, "Floyd Collins" (1 text)
MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 82-83, "Floyd Collins" (1 text)
Thomas-Makin', pp. 110-111, "The Doom of Floyd Collins" (1 text)
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 261-262, "Floyd Collins" (1 text)
Darling-NAS, pp. 223-224, "Floyd Collins" (1 text)
DT 769, FLOYDCOL
Fiddlin' John Carson, "The Death of Floyd Collins" (Okeh 40363, 1925)
Vernon Dalhart, "Death of Floyd Collins" (Victor 19821, 1925)(Columbia 15031-D [as Al Craver or Dalhart Texas Panhandlers], 1925) (Banner 1613, 1925; Conqueror 7068, 1928) (Edison 51609 [as Vernon Dalhart & Co.], 1925) (Gennett 3197Champion 15048, 1926; Challenge 160/Challenge 315, 1927; rec. 1925) (Bell 364, 1925) (CYL: Edison [BA] 5049 [as Vernon Dalhart & Co.], prob. 1925) (Regal 9916, 1925)
Vernon Dalhart, "Floyd Collins Waltz" (Victor 19997, 1926) [a bizarre recasting of 'Death of Floyd Collins' in waltz time, with truncated verses]
Charlie Oaks, "The Death of Floyd Collins" (Vocalion 15099, 1925; Vocalion 5069, c. 1927)
Harry Smith, "The Death of Floyd Collins" (OKeh 45260, 1928)
NOTES: As the dates of the recordings show, this is really a popular song. But the number of versions collected show that it did become a folk song.
There are various claims about the authorship of this song. Brown quotes Thomas to the effect that it was written by one Adam Crisp. Laws, following Wilgus, accepts the attribution to Andrew Jenkins, who wrote other songs which became traditional. The attribution to Jenkins seems certain, however. Paul Stamler cites the statement of OKeh records A&R man Polk Brockman, who commissioned the song from Jenkins.
The 1925 sheet music (published by Shapiro Bernstein & Co and copyrighted by P. C. Brockman) credits the words to Rev. Andrew Jenkins and the music to Mrs. Irene Spain. Irene Spain was Jenkins's daughter. I would suspect that Jenkins fit the tune himself but put her name on it so the copyright could be held longer. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.8
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.