Dalhousie University Archives

Nova Scotia Ballads

[Page 96]

John Sullivan.

The Moncton Tragedy.

Come all you boys of Westmoreland,
I want you to attend,
And listen with attention
To these true lines I pen,
I'll sing to you a little song,
Which I made up today,
Concerning John E. Sullivan
And the Moncton tragedy,1,2
I do reside in Westmoreland,
I don't deny the same,
Moncton is my native home,
John Sullivan is my name,
I'm handcuffed down in Dorchester,
And sentenced for to die
On Friday the twelfth day of March,
Upon the gallows high,
I come from honest parents,
They raised me true and kind,
They gave me an education,
Which I must leave behind.
[Page 97]
They taught me how to fear the Lord
And do His holy will.
They little thought they'd raised a son.
That human blood would spill.
There was a wealthy widow,
Lived in that fatal place.
With her I had been intimate,
Since first I saw her face.
She trusted me as you may see
To all I did require,
But to take away her precious life,
It was my heart’s desire.
On the eleventh of September last,
Sad curse attend the day,
The devil whispered in my ear,
These words to me, did say:
"Why don't you do your work, John,
It never shall be told.
It's easy to announce her death,
And you'll enjoy her gold."
[Page 98]
’Twas at the hour of five o'clock,
My steps I quietly took,
Till I arrived at Duchess
On the banks of Meadowbrook.
My way I cautiously did trace
The day was nearly done,
The evening sun was getting low,
The night was coming on,
'Twas there I so concealed myself
I soon construed a plan,
I only wanted liquor,
And she kept the like on hand,
I went there in the dead of night,
For fear I would be seen,
I thought suspicion it would fall
On Hughie and Lizzie Green.
[Page 99]
I killed the widow and her son,
To accomplish my desire.
I gathered in what cash she had,
And set the house on fire.
'Twas early the next morning
The news went all around
About the Duchess residence,
That burned unto the ground.
The widow and her little son,
They perished in the flame,
While little Maggie she survived,
On me to lay the blame.
'Twas then I grew uneasy
And troubled in my mind,
My friends they all advised me
To leave my home behind.
I steered my course for Calais,
That city of great fame,
'Twas there I was arrested.
They brought me back again.
[Page 100]
It's now I'm in my little cell,
In a dejected state,
'Waiting for the day to come
When I shall meet my fate.
Four long weary months have passed,
The future did require.
The judges found me guilty,
I am condemned to die.
On Friday, on the twelfth of March,
I take my last adieu
To Moncton and to Westmoreland,
Where my first breath I drew.
If I had died upon that day,
What a blessing it would be,
To see me die a decent death,
Not on the gallows tree.
Oh, fare ye well, my pretty girl,
The pride of all my life,
If I had lived a year or two,
You would have been my wife.
[Page 101]
No more I'll kiss your rosy lips,
Or embrace you any more,
Till Death's dark valley I have crossed
To Canaan's happy shore.
Now, to conclude and make an end,
My pen I'll lay away,
I will wind up ray little song,
I have no more to say.
I hope I have said nothing,
My neighbours to offend.
I simply wrote these verses,
To satisfy a friend.


Some more information on the Moncton Tragedy can be found at the Fresno State University Digital Ballad Collection.
Another source of interest can be found via OCLC WorldCat.
As per source material.
Anonymous. Date: 2014-10-27