Mister Garfield

DESCRIPTION: Song-story about the assassination of President Garfield. Garfield, shot, tells doctor he's badly wounded. He gives dying advice, and hopes to go to heaven. Sheriff arrests Charles Guiteau for the murder; he says "I'll hang on the 6th day of June."
AUTHOR: Unknown, but much of the text may have been written by Anderson Williams
EARLIEST DATE: 1949 (recording, Bascom Lamar Lunsford)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Song-story describing the assassination of President James Garfield. Garfield's been shot; tells doctor he's badly wounded. Preacher asks where he'd like to spend eternity; Garfield says "Heaven." His wife asks if he should die, should she remarry? He tells her, "Don't you never let a chance go by." Sheriff arrests Charles Guiteau for the murder; he says "I'll hang on the 6th day of June." Mrs. Garfield brings her husband roses
KEYWORDS: grief marriage questions violence crime execution homicide punishment death dying wife doctor
July 2, 1881 - James A. Garfield is shot by Charles Guiteau, who thought Garfield owed him a patronage job. Garfield had been president for less than four months
Sept 19, 1881 - Death of Garfield
June 30, 1882 - Hanging of Charles Guiteau
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Jones-MinstrelOfTheAppalachians-Bascom-Lamar-Lunsford, pp. 212-214, "Mr. Garfield' (1 text, 1 tune)
NorthCarolinaFolkloreJournal, John Forbes (transcriber), "Songs Collected by Mr. Bascom,'" Vol. XXV, No. 1 (May 1977 -- special issue for Bascom Lamar Lunsford), pp. 17-20, "Mr. Garfield" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #9138
Bascom Lamar Lunsford, "Mr. Garfield" (LOC AAFS L29, 1949) (Folkways FP 40, c. 1952) (on BLLunsford02)
J. C. "Jake" Staggers, "Garfield" (on FolkVisions2)
Art Thieme, "Mister Garfield" (on Thieme04)

cf. "Charles Guiteau" [Laws E11] (subject)
cf. "Garfield" (form)
NOTES [82 words]: Lunsford is usually thought to have written this, but Art Rosenbaum believes it originated in the Black community. - PJS
Rosenbaum-FolkVisionsAndVoices is comparing it to his song "Garfield," which is a story song about a murder involving a "Garfield." But it never says that the "Garfield" is the President. I have split Rosenbaum's "Garfield" from "Mister Garfield," although Roud lumps them.
For the story of James A. Garfield and his death, see the notes to "Charles Guiteau" [Laws E11]. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.1
File: RcMrGarf

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