Jay Gould's Daughter

Anna Gould

Here's one version of a classic railroad song. I got it from Pete Seeger. It has been around in many other variations such as Charlie Poole's "Milwaukee Blues" recorded in the twenties.

Jay Gould, the famous railroad magnet, had two daughters. The youngest, Anna, was known for her lavish spending, extravagant dressing and social climbing. She spent a fortune chasing after a husband of European nobility and finally landed one, Count Boniface De Castellane, whom she wed in 1895. Anna's huge wardrobe and dazzling jewelry collection were described in great detail in the press at the time.

So, Anna is probably the daughter who inspired the song, rather than her elder sister Helen, who was a highly regarded philanthropist.

Lyrics: 

Hellen, the good sister.

Early in the morning it begin to rain.
'Round the curve come a passenger train.
On the blinds was Hobo John.
He's a good old hobo, but he's dead and gone.
He’s dead and gone
He’s dead and gone
He's a good old hobo, but he's dead and gone.

Jay Gould's daughter said before she died
Papa, fix the blinds so the bums can't ride.
If ride they must, they got to ride the rod.
Let 'em put their trust in the hands of God.
In the hands of God. . .

Momma, momma, momma have your heard the news?
Daddy been killed on the CB&Q
Close your eyes darlin’, hold your breath
We’ll all draw a pension on your poppa’s death.
On your poppa’s death . . .

Jay Gould's daughter said, before she died,
There's two more trains I'd like to ride.
Jay Gould said, "Daughter, what can they be?"
The Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe.
The Santa Fe . . .

Jay Gould's daughter said, before she died,
There's two more drinks I'd like to try.
Jay Gould said, "Daughter what can they be?
They's a glass o' water and a cup o' tea.
A cup o' tea . . .

Charlie Snyder was a good engineer
Told his fireman not to fear
Pour on your water, boys, and shovel on your coal
Stick your head out the window, see the drivers roll
See the drivers roll . . .


P.S. Turned out that Count Boniface was an even more extravagant spender than Anna and a philanderer to boot. He practically drained the Gould fortune. Anna divorced him and married the Duke of Tallyrand who had enough of his own money to support Anna in the style to which she was accustomed. And they all lived happily ever after, well, except for the railway workers and the hobos.
Instruments: