Reprinted in AppLit with permission, from the James Taylor Adams Collection
U of Virginia's College at Wise/Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College

Collected by Emory L. Hamilton

Wise, Virginia

NOTE: This text was recopied directly from a typewritten copy in the archives of the Blue Ridge Institute. James Taylor Adams (1892-1954) kept typewritten copies of the folklore he and others collected during the last thirty years of his life, while he lived in Wise County, VA. Typographical errors in the original, such as missing apostrophes, have not been corrected, except for a few obvious errors in spacing. One apparent error in a verb ending has been enclosed in square brackets in the second stanza. For details on other tales about lost and unfortunate children, see The Babes in the Woods - and - The Two Lost Babes - and - Hansel and Gretel.

Emory L. Hamilton

Wise, Virginia 

Here is another of the "orphan" songs that seemed to strike such a responsive chord among the older generations. I do not know how old this song is or where it originated. It was told to me by Miss Etta Kilgore, October 25, 1938.


Two little orphans, a boy and a girl,

Sit down by an old churchhouse door,

The little girls feet was brown as the curls,

That fell on the dress that she wore.

The boys coat was faded and hatless his head,

A tear shone in each little eye,

"Why dont you run home to your mother," I said,

"And this was the maidens reply."


"Mamma's in Heaven, they took her away,

Left me and Jimmy alone;

We came here to sleep till the close of the day,

For we have no mamma or home.

We cant earn our bread, we're too little, she said,

Jimmy's five and I'm only seven,

We have no one to love[s] us since papa's dead,

And our darling mama's in Heaven."

Papa was lost out on the sea long ago,

We waited all night on the shore,

He was the life saving Captain you know,

And never came back anymore.

Then mama got sick and angels took her away,

She said to a home warm and bright,

She said, "They'd come for her darlings,"

Perhaps ther're coming to-night.

"Perhaps there's no room in Heaven" she said,

For two little darlings to keep,

She then placed her hand on Jim's little head,

She kissed him and both fell asleep.

The sexton came early to ring the church bell,

He found them beneath the snow white,

The angels made room for orphans that day,

To sleep with mamma that night.


Replacement photocopy made by BRI, 9/1992

copyright 2007 U of Virginia's College at Wise/Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College
all rights reserved

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