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My Government Claim, song lyrics

Song: My Government Claim
Lyrics: unknown

Music: to the tune of "The Irish Washer Woman"
Year: c.1890(1)
Genre: Ballad
Country: United States of America


Frank Baker's my name and a bachelor I am,
I'm keeping old patch on a elegant plan,
You'll find me out west in the country of Lane.
I'm starving to death on a government claim(2).

My house it is built out of natural soil,
Its walls are erected according to Hoyle,
Its roof has no pitch, but is level and plain,
I always get wet if it happens to rain.

Hurrah for Lane County, the land of the free,
The land of the grasshopper, bed bug and flea,
I'll sing of its praises, I'll tell of its fame,
While starving to death on a government claim.

My clothes are all ragged, my language is rough,
My bread is case-hardened both solid and tough.
The dough is is scattered all over the room,
And the floor it gets scared at the sight of a broom.
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
My dishes are scattered all over the bed,
They are covered in sorghum and government bread.
Still I have a good time and live at my ease,
On common sop-sorghum, old bacon and grease.

Then come to Lane County, here is a home for you all,
Where the winds never cease and the rain never fall.
And the sun never sets but will always remain,
Till it burns you all up on a government claim.

How happy I feel when I crawl into bed,
And a rattlesnake rattles a tune at my head.
And the gay centipede, void of all fear,
Crawls over my neck and down into my ear.
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
And the little bed bugs so cheerful and bright,
They keep me a-laughing two-thirds of the night.
And the gay little flea with sharp tack in his toes,
Plays "Why don't you catch me" all over my nose.

Hurrah for Lane County, hurrah for the west,
Where farmers and laborers are ever at rest.
For there's nothing to do but to sweetly remain,
And starve like a man on a government claim.

How happy am I on my government claim,
For I've nothing to lose nor I've nothing to gain.
I've nothing to eat and I've nothing to wear,
And nothing from nothing is honest and fair.

Oh, it is here I am solid and here I will stay,
For my money is all gone and I can't get away.
There is nothing that makes a man hard and profane,
Like starving to death on a Government claim.
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
Hurrah for Lane County, where blizzards arise,
Where the winds never cease and the flea never dies.
Come join in the chorus and sing of its fame,
You poor hungry hoboes that's starved on the claim.

No, don't get dicouraged, you poor hungry men,
For we are all here as free as a pig in a pen.
Just stick to your homestead and battle the fleas,
And look to your Maker to send you a breeze.

Now all you claim holders I hope you will stay,
And chew your hardtack(3) till you are toothless and grey,
But as for myself I'll no longer remain,
And starve like a dog on a government claim.

Farewell to Lane County, farewell to the west,
I'll travel back East to the girl I love best.
I'll stop in Missouri and get me a wife,
And live on corn dodgers the rest of my life.


(Version 2)

My name is Tom Hight, an old bach'lor I am,
You'll find me out west in the country of fame,
You'll find me out west on an elegant plan,
A-starvin' to death on my government claim.

Hurrah for Greer County, the land of the free,
The land of the bedbug, grasshopper and flea,
I'll sing of its praises, I'll tell of its fame,
While starving to death on my government claim.

My house it is built out of national soil,
Its walls are erected according to Hoyle,
Its roof has no pitch, but is level and plain,
I always get wet if it happens to rain.
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
My clothes are all ragged, my language is rough,
My bread is corndodgers, both solid and tough,
But yet I am happy and live at my ease,
On sorghum molasses, and bacon and cheese.

How happy I am when I crawl into bed,
A rattlesnake hisses a tune at my head,
A gay little centipede all without fear,
Crawls over my pillow and into my ear.

Now all you claimholders I hope you will stay,
And chew your hardtack till you're toothless and grey,
But as for myself, I'll no longer remain
To starve like a dog on my government claim.
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
Farewell to Greer County, farewell to the West,
I'll travel back east to the girl I love best,
I'll travel to Texas and marry me a wife,
Cry quits on corndodgers the rest of my life.

Goodbye to Greer County, where blizzards arise,
Where the sun never sinks and the flea never dies,
And the wind never ceases, but always remains,
Till it starves us all out on our government claim.


Notes:

1 - Also known as "The Lane County Bachelor" according to "The Lane Country Bachelor:" Folksong or Not?, by Jan Harold Brunvand an Adobe pdf file.

2 - Homestead Act of 1862, from the Library of Congress.

3 - Hardtack.