"THE MYSTERY OF THE TRACE"
by Dick Campbell
(We took a flatboat down the line, and came to New Orleans)
(Then sold the boat as timber, and bought some rice and beans.)
We took a flatboat down Ole Miss, and came to New Orleans;
Then sold the boat for timber, and bought some rice and beans.
I headed back to Nashville, up the Natchez Trace;
The old trail of the Choctaw, carved by every race.
The Spanish, French and English, all had walked this trail;
Some had died upon it, and therein lies my tale.
An autumn day in eighteen nine, I headed up the Trace;
Stopped the night at Grinder House, a weary traveler's place.
I met a Captain Lewis, a fellow travelin' man;
He'd been three years exploring, the Northwest frontier land.
He poured the ale and gave me some, we sat down by the fire;
The room revealed a motley crew, in rough frontier attire.
He had a worried look -- almost fright -- upon his face;
And said, "Someone will kill me, tonight along the Trace."
I gazed about the tavern, at the varied clientele;
And wondered who might murder, of these hooligans from Hell.
He said, "We must now part, friend, for I must go to sleep;
My death is an appointment, and one which I must keep."
"Nay, kind sir, I'll guard you, till day has come anew";
"No", he answered sadly, "the slayer could be you."
"I'm Meriweather Lewis, and I'm not liked by all;
Myself -- I fear -- included, now I must heed the call."
And with that he departed, to lie down on his cot;
And sometime after midnight, the patrons heard a shot.
They found young Captain Lewis, a gun was by his side;
Some claim that it was murder, and some say suicide.
I hold the truth -- but cannot tell -- of what I know took place;
The Captain's taken to his grave, the mystery of the Trace.
Copyright 1995 by Dick Campbell
Page created by Gary Campbell 7/9/2003 / Last updated 6/11/2004