[home]                     [song index]                         [about miriam]


(learned from UC Hiking Club in 1959, written by Tom Aley, caver)

staff with melody

I'll tell you a tale of the mountains
A tale when this country was new
I'll sing you of Billy A. Rollin,
Who left with the early morning dew.

His hair was the color of corn silk,
His hat was as black as the night,
His eyes were like coals ever burning,
And nothing escaped his clear sight.

His cabin stood on the Ohio;
His backyard a cliff of worn rock;
Across the river Fort Steuben,
With its sides made of sturdy wood stock.

It was here that young Billy fought Mingoes,
That the Iroquois bent 'neath his might,
For Billy, oh, Billy, my hero,
Was as strong as the devil in a fight.

Oh, why did you go from this valley?
Oh, why did you go to the West?
Why did you cross over the high mountains,
When you knew that this valley was best?

They say that you wanted adventure,
They say you'd a craving for fun,
But, Billy, oh, Billy A. Rollin,
Why did you strap on that sixgun?

They soon knew of Billy A. Rollin
From Texas clear up to Montan',
The West knew of Billy A. Rollin,
For he was a fightin' lawman.

In a lonely gulch in west Texas
Way out where the cottonwoods grow,
Lies the grave of Billy A. Rollin,
Killed by a man I don't know.

(from miriam berg's folksong collection)