By: Jim Fitzpatrick

Local Farmer in Polkton Township writes for the Coopersville Observer.

Along Brandy Creek

By Jim Fitzpatrick


The Coopersville Observer  February 21, 2005- - No. 46

Joe Fitzsimmons worked on the farm for Great Grandpa as a hired hand; so long ago that no one has a clue as to who he was anymore. A clipping from an 1891 Coopersville Observer, identifies Joe as part of a rather unfortunate set of circumstances. He was arrested and put in jail, "on suspicion of being the thief who stole the conductor's ticked box from the 9 o'clock train last night". His name was likely one of those carved into the planks lining the inside walls of the old barn there on Great Grandpa's place. The barn and Joe are long gone; so is Great Grandpa and Grandpa too.


Grandpa use to recite the words of a little song he learned as a kid, from one of those early day hired hands. Who knows, it could have been Joe himself that sang that tune while he went about his chores and other tasks. As it was, Grandpa Will taught those words to his three Grandsons, when they were very young guys growing up there on the land. Most likely it was his way of instilling some practical knowledge and sense of responsibility into the minds of those young fellows. The middle boy, he took those thoughts to heart right off. He got the words to the song written down just right, so he could learn them exactly the way that they ought to be:


"There was an old bum, who had a wooden leg

he had no tobacco, nor tobacco could he beg


There was another old bum, as sly as a fox

he always had tobacco, in his old tobacco box


Said bum number one, to bum number two

'wont you give me a chew'?


Said bum number two, to bum number one

'I'll be darned if I do!


Save up your money, pile it in rocks

and you'll always have tobacco, in your old tobacco box' "


Could it be that Joe was in need of a container to store his tobacco in; the night he turned thief there on the rails in Coopersville?

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