PHOTOS OF THE WRECK OF 97 : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread


-- KELLY WARD (MWEBPRT@AOL.COM), October 29, 1998


There are many versions, but those by Hank Snow and Johnny Cash are my favorites. They both had websites last I knew. Also check for Sun Records and RCA records sites. Folk music producers like Rounder Records likely have other versions. Johnny Cash version is easy A-D-E chords - easy to play. His stuff is available in most record stores; Hank Snow harder to find nowadays. Song was first recorded by Vernon Dalhart (real name Marion Try Slaughter) in the 1920s, and was a hit for its time.

-- Bob Yarger (, November 16, 1998.

Re: Old 97

Also check a company called Vintage Recordings (via Yahoo) for the Dalhart version.

-- Bob Yarger (, November 16, 1998.

If you are interested in obtaining a recording of the singer who wrote the original version of "Wreck of the Old 97, singing the song, recorded on a cylinder tape, contact the Library of Congress, American Folklife Center, and request taped copy of the 50th Anniversary Tape of the Robert Gordon Collection; recording laboratory AFS L68. Att: Judith Gray, (202) 707-1740. That original composer and singer was Fred J. Lewey, my father.My favorite version,afterthisone,wasJohnnyCash&JuneCarterat theKennedy Center Concert,severalyaers ago.

-- Shirley Lewey Gibbs (, May 06, 1999.

"The Carroll County Accident" is a Porter Wagoner song about a car wreck. A solid and upstanding citizen was giving a lady a ride home when the terrible accident occurred. The man's wedding ring was missing. His son "learned the truth about the Carroll County Accident" when he found the ring in a matchbox wrapped in a rubber band under the dashboard. True country....

-- Socrates Peter Manoukian (, August 31, 2001.

If you can find it there is an old Boxcar Willie album that has a good rendition of this song

-- joseph wessel (wes(o), November 23, 2003.

ok seems you have 2 songs confused wreck of the old 97 tells the story of a train that left monroe virginia travelling to danville words are as follows They gave him his orders at monroe virginia sayin steve your'e way behind time this is not 38 its old 97 you gotta get her into spencer on time he turned around and said to his big greasy fireman hey shovel on a little more coal and before we reach that white oak mountain you can watch old 97 roll its a long rough road from vicksburgh to danville on a line with a 3 mile grade it was on that grade he lost his air brakes you can see what a job he made they were rollin down the grade makin 90 miles an hour when the whistle broke into a scream he was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle scalded to death by the steam to all you ladies you best take warning from this time on and learn never speak harsh words to your true lovin husband he may leave you and never return

carroll county accident deals with a secret affair and its cover up between walter browning and mary ellen and was written by bob ferguson in about 1968 waqs a big hit here in australia for an act called bobby and laurie in 1971 words are as follows Carroll County's pointed out as kind of square The biggest thing that happens is the county fair And I guess that's why it seemed like such a big event What we all call the Carroll County accident The wreck was on the highway just inside the line Walter Browning lost his life and for a time It seemed that Mary Ellen Jones would surely die But she lived long enough for her to testify

Now Walter Browning was a happy married man And he wore a golden wedding ring upon his hand But it was gone nobody knew just where it went He'd lost it in the Carroll County accident

Mary Ellen testified he flagged her down Said he was sick and could she drive him into town And no one even doubted what she said was true Cause she was well respected in the county too

Now I went down to see the wreck like all the rest The bloody seats, the broken glass, the tangled mess But I found something no one else had even seen Behind the dash in Mary's crumpled up machine

A little matchbox circled by a rubberband And inside the ring from Walter Browning's hand And it took a while to figure out just what it meant The truth about the Carroll County accident

By dark of night I dropped the ring into a well And I took a sacred oath that I would never tell The secret of the Carroll County accident Cause the county ordered dad a marble monument

I lost him in the Carroll County accident

so to cut a long story short walter and mary were running away to do the filthy thing when she crashed the car so she pretended she had been takin him home only his son that found the ring under the dash knew the truth so i hope this answers your query cheers have a good day

-- warren keats (, January 18, 2004.

The attached website has the history and picture of the wreck. The connection with the Caroll Cty. Accident has been well addressed by another e-mail. VR AOC

-- Tony (, January 19, 2004.

I just returned from vacation and drove through Carroll County. The ironic thing is that the song was written in 1968 but in 1988 or so, there was a big bus crash on the highway and a couple of dozen people died - and they have erected a sign pointing out where the Carroll County Accident happened. LIfe imitating art!?

Don Wall Hamilton, Ont. Canada

-- Don Wall (, July 10, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ