Ballad of Mary Phagan and Leo Frank


The Ballad of Mary Phagan Sung by Moonshine Kate
Al Carver (Vernon Dalhart)-Little Mary Phagan Columbia Records

“The Ballad of Mary Phagan” by Franklyn Bliss Snyder one version from: (from The Journal of American Folk-Lore, XXXI (1918), 264 -66)

This ballad was sung at rallies in support of preventing Leo Frank from escaping justice.

“Fiddling John” Carson popularized this song at demonstrations in Georgia in 1915.

Little Mary Phagan
She left her home one day;
She went to the pencil-factory
To get her little pay.

She left her home at eleven,
She kissed her mother good-by;
Not one time did the poor child think
That she was a-going to die.

Leo Frank he met her
With a brutish heart, we know;
He smiled, and said, “Little Mary,
You won’t go home no more.”

Sneaked along behind her
Till she reached the metal-room;
He laughed, and said, “Little Mary,
You have met your fatal doom.”

Down upon her knees
To Leo Frank she plead;
He taken a stick from the trash-pile
And struck her across the head.

Tears flow down her rosy cheeks
While the blood flows down her back;
Remembered telling her mother
What time she would be back.

You killed little Mary Phagan,
It was on one holiday;
Called for old Jim Conley
To carry her body away.

He taken her to the basement,
She was bound both hand and feet;
Down in the basement
Little Mary she did sleep.

Newtley was the watchman
Who went to wind his key;
Down in the basement
Little Mary he did see.

Went in and called the officers
Whose names I do not know;
Come to the pencil-factory,
Said, “Newtley, you must go.”

Taken him to the jail-house,
They locked him in a cell;
Poor old innocent negro
Knew nothing for to tell.

Have a notion in my head,
When Frank he comes to die,
Stand examination
In a court-house in the sky.

Come, all you jolly people,
Wherever you may be,
Suppose little Mary Phagan
Belonged to you or me.

Now little Mary’s mother
She weeps and mourns all day,
Praying to meet little Mary
In a better world some day.

Now little Mary’s in Heaven,
Leo Frank’s in jail,
Waiting for the day to come
When he can tell his tale.

Frank will be astonished
When the angels come to say,
“You killed little Mary Phagan;
It was on one holiday.”

Judge he passed the sentence,
Then he reared back;
If he hang Leo Frank,
It won’t bring little Mary back.

Frank he’s got little children,
And they will want for bread;
Look up at their papa’s picture,
Say, “Now my papa’s dead.”

Judge he passed the sentence
He reared back in his chair;
He will hang Leo Frank,
And give the negro a year.

Next time he passed the sentence,
You bet, he passed it well;
Well, Solicitor Hugh Manson Dorsey.
Sent Leo Frank to hell.