by Wallace Saunders, oral tradition elements, tune from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag,
reworked by Andrew Calhoun from the historical record. John Luther Jones, born in Cayce, KY, died in a wreck on April 30, 1900. Recorded on Grapevine.
Come all you railroaders for I want you to hear
A story told of an engineer;
Casey Jones was the hogger's name,
On the Illinois Central, he rode to fame.
He pulled into Memphis on Number Four,
The engine foreman met him at the roundhouse door;
Said, "Joe's got sick, can't make his run
I'm asking you to double back on Number One."
Out of South Memphis yard on the fly,
His fireman Sim Webb said, "You got a white-eye,"
All the switchmen knew by the whistle's moans
That the man at the throttle was Casey Jones.
Pulling out an hour and a quarter late,
Making up time at a breakneck rate.
He turned to his fireman, and said, "All right,
She's got her high-heeled slippers on tonight."
Around a curve, in the pouring rain,
He spied the lights of a stalled freight train;
He turned to his fireman, with a face of ash, saying,
"Sim, you better jump, she's going to crash."
With his warnin' whistle and his whining brake,
Vaughan, Mississippi went wide awake;
Sim Webb jumped but Casey stayed on,
He's a good engineer but he's dead and gone.
His wife and family got the news,
How he saved the passengers and crews;
They buried him in Jackson, Tennessee,
Close by the tracks of the old IC.