James MacDonald [Laws P38]
DESCRIPTION: James promises his pregnant sweetheart Annie that he will marry her, and bids her meet him secretly. When he has her alone he attacks her and flees. She is found the next day and lives just long enough to tell what happened. James is sentenced to death
EARLIEST DATE: 1908 (Greig/Duncan2); c.1867 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 19(109))
KEYWORDS: homicide execution pregnancy betrayal
FOUND IN: US(MA,NE) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Laws P38, "James MacDonald"
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #137, p. 2, "The Longford Murderer" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan2 204, "The Longford Murderer" (4 texts, 2 tunes)
Ord-BothySongsAndBallads, pp. 477-479, "The Longford Murder" (1 text)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H37, pp. 485-486, "[Pat O'Brien]" (1 fragment in the notes, tune referenced)
Peacock, pp. 622-623, "The Murder of Ann O'Brien" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Creighton-SongsAndBalladsFromNovaScotia 21, "James McDonald" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner-TraditionalAmericanFolkSongsFromAnneAndFrankWarnerColl 6, "The St. Albans Murder" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Ballard/Brown/Barry-NewGreenMountainSongster, pp. 71-73, "James MacDonald" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ives-FolksongsFromMaine 15, "James MacDonald" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 515, JIMMACD*
George Carew, "Mary Brien" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
Theresa White, "The Murder of Ann O'Brien" (on NFMLeach); "Ann O'Brien" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
Bodleian, Harding B 19(109), "James M'Donald, Who Was Executed in Longford for the Murder of Anne O'Brien," W. Birmingham (Dublin), c.1867; also 2806 c.15(230), "James M'Donald, Who Was Executed in Longford for the Murder of Anne O'Brien"; 2806 c.15(309)[some lines illegible], "James M'Donnell"
Murray, Mu23-y1:079 "James M'Donnell," James Lindsay (Glasgow), 19C
cf. "John T. Williams"
The Logford Murder
The Murderer Repaid
NOTES [181 words]: Yet another John T Williams gallows-confession type: Peacock includes a fragment "My name is James MacDonald, from life I must now part, For murdering of young Ann O'Brien I'm sorry to the heart; I hope the Lord will pardon me all on the Judgement Day, And when I'm on the gallows, good Christians for me pray."
The Peacock fragment is the last verse of the Murray broadside. It is also the fragment quoted in Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople from the Houston collection [see Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople, p. 485], the only significant difference being that the murderer's name is [mis]stated as Pat O'Brien; the note to "Henry, the Sailor Boy," referring to the tune printed for that song, is that "almost all the [Irish] murder ballads [including 'Pat O'Brien'] were composed to it." [In so far as they can be read, the Bodleian broadsides have the last verse but omit the last line.]
Leach (notes to NFMLeach) believes "that the murder took place in Longford Co. Ireland, and that, as was customary, a broadside was published at the time." - BS
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