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Water in the Well

Water in the Well

Jefferson Berry


They were the ghosts of a beaten rebel army

And they came  into town with a plan

Seems the trains hadn’t come to Wayne County

So the town’s people all took a stand

And put up their money In the Bank of Ocobock

It was the summer of ’71

It was a Summer of Railroad Stock


And there was Water in the Well

Even without weeks of rain

A railroad map would tell

Of money in the Bank

Money for Wayne County

Money for Jessie James

There’s Water in the Well

You know it’s why they came.


The little town of Corydon Iowa

Not far from the Missouri line

Henry Clay Dean had ‘em spellbound

Talking ‘bout these Modern Times

They were all inside The Methodist Church

While clear cross town

Jessie was at his worse



And there’s Water in the Well

            From the rains in May

            On their way to Hell

            Frank and Jessie James

            Were riding with Cole Younger

            For the Money and the Fame

            There’s Water in the Well

            You know it’s why they came.


Clell Miller stood outside with the horses

In the comfort of his alibi

Inside they tied up old Oscar Ocobock

Put a beating on him as he lied

Said he didn’t know bout no money

Or the keys to the safe

But the boys were in a hurry

No, the boys weren’t gonna wait


There was Water in the Well

On the road just out of town

Right behind a hill,

From a spring beneath the ground

Not enough for the horses,

Just enough for the pain

There’s Water in the Well

You know it’s why they came.

Amos Sheets was just nine years old

And barefoot on that summer’s day

He saw the men on their hosrses

They were grinning like you do on payday

Jesse took a silver dollar

Threw it athe kid

 Said, “Get on to the church, boy.

Tell ‘em what we did.”




There’s Water in the Well

It was covered with the cotton wood

Had no brackish smell

Always tasted good

 On the wood they had a pump rig

On the Rig the lock was grey

There’s Water in the Well

You know it’s why they came.


Of the two brothers, you know

            Frank was the mean one

In the War he set Lawrence ablaze

That afternoon he stole

            the Stevens’ prized mare

That night he shot that horse in the face

But it was just as luck would have it

A dozen roberies, not one failed

Ya, Frank was a heartless bastard

Who’d never do a stretch in jail


You know there’s Water in the Well

Each and Every time

The James Gang hit the till

And went out on a ride.

Running from the hangman

Had to make their getaway

There’s Water in the Well

You know it’s why they came.



Eliza Graham married J.R. Smith

Had a farm just outside the next town

They woke Early that morning in Lamoni

To a villainous steel pounding sound

It was the men JR had turned down

Earlier that Night

While J.R. had a shot gun,2

He was little to smart to fight


            And there was Water in the Well

            Out on the Smith’s Farm

            The moon was rising still

            It was peaking over the Barn

            The boys wanted some water

            More than their share

            Frank pistol-whipped Mr. Smith

            And left him bleeding there.


The Pinkertons, they caught Clell Miller

But couldn’t make the Corydon Charges stick

Cole got 20 to life for a robbery

That killed Miller in ‘76

Jessie took a friends bullet

In the back of his head

While JR and his Eliza

Lived Long and they lived blessed

            And there’s Water in the Well

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