The Wreck of the Old 97

They gave him his orders
at Monroe Virginia
Saying Pete your away behind time
This is not 38 but its old 97
You must get her in Spencer on time

He turned around to his black greasy firemen
Saying shovel in a little more coal
And when we crais that wide Oak Mountain
You can watch old 97 roll

Its a mighty rough road from Linchheard to Danville
Its a line on a three mile grade
It was on that grade that he lost his average
And you see what a jump he made

He was going down grade making ninty miles an hr
When his whistle broke into a scream
He was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle
And was scalded to death by the steam

Now ladies all you must take warning
And for this time now and all
never speak harsh words to your true love or husband
He may leave you and never return

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2 comments so far

  1. Richard Gainer on

    “Linchheard” is incorrect. The city is Lynchburg [in Virginia, just a few miles south of Monroe]. Spencer is in NC. The engineer’s name was Joseph “Steve” Broady [not Pete], born 04/01/1870, and he died in this wreck on September 27, 1903.

    • batoned on

      Thank you, That is very interesting but the point of this project was not to find the most accurate lyrics but to note the differences that came about due to the way they were learned, spread and known in the particular region where this sample came from. While your information may be true, it does not change the ‘correctness’ of the song in this context.


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