Still On The Hill

ozarkinfolk duo


Cane Hill

by Still on the Hill (2017)


Words & Music by Still on the Hill

Running on down to the Mercantile as the sun was coming up
If I swept the front porch clean I’d get me a soda pop
Sometimes I’d get a peppermint or a salty pretzel stick
A pickle from a barrel or a rope of licorice
And then I’d visit Old Doc Bean, he’d get his stethoscope
Let me hear his heart a beatin’ steady and slow
Then he’d ask about my Ma and how we was doin’
Never asked about my grades cuz I did not like schoolin’

My next stop was the cooperage, I’d watch them bend them staves
Nothing but the finest oak, clear, straight and aged
Sturdy apple barrels all lined up in a row
I dreamed I might work there…someday when I was grown.
You’d mostly find me barefoot but today I wore my boots
I was mighty proud of them, they were made by Mr. Tuel.
His finest leather cowboy boots were shipped way out west
He said that mine were seconds but to me they were the best.

Sometimes this world seemed like rusted tin
But on Main St.- Cain Hill---life was GOLDEN!

That blacksmith was the biggest man that I had ever seen
Swinging that ole’ hammer, boys, he’d make that anvil ring
But his shop was hot as blazes, so I would not stay long
My next stop was the Loafer’s Bench, I’d wave and move along
That’s where the old men gathered and I’d stop and sit a spell
They taught me spittin’ and whittlin’ and I learned their stories well
And it felt so good just being there, a sittin’ at their feet
Hard for me to come up with a memory that sweet.

Sometimes this world seemed like rusted tin
But on Main St.- Cain Hill, life was GOLDEN!


Sometimes this world seems like rusted tin

But on Main St.- Cain Hill, life was GOLDEN!

My day would likely wind up at the fountain on the square
That cool clear water brought folks from everywhere
Sometimes I’d plug the pipe up when no one was aware
An enormous stream of water would spew into the air
And everyone would cheer and shout enjoying the display
I think they knew I did it, but never would they say
Every day, all day long I’d make all my rounds
I think I knew every soul in our little town.

Sometimes this world seems like rusted tin
But on Main St. Cain Hill, life was GOLDEN!

Main Street Cane Hill.jpg


Words & Music by Still on the Hill

We grew up in Prairie Grove… my 2 sisters and me
My name is Mollie… I love to draw
Sister Callie sure can sing…but lovely Mary…
Sister Mary…she could do everything

In the year of 1875 …we were sent to Cane Hill town
Mama said the collage opened up its doors
And women were finally allowed!
Papa said… Mary….pretty Mary
Some day She’ll make us proud. We learned

Natural Philosophy
Rhetoric and Chemistry
Botany…and Biology

I was jealous of my sister Mary … She got to study art
Major Quisenbury was the finest teacher
Anywhere round these parts
Miss Betty Welsh taught sister Callie
Music and guitar

Mary had a canvas white as snow
And a special painting box
Her room it reeked of turpentine
A smell I loved so much
Her brushes made of camel hair
She’d never let me touch

I was the youngest in the family
No one gave attention to me
All the honor & glory
Went to Mary & Callie

One Saturday morning when Mary was gone
I felt a fire burn in my soul
I went to her room and I started to paint
Like a mad man outta control
I painted scenes from Cane Hill town…
Till Mary came back home

I held my breath when she opened the door
Waited for her angry storm
Took her apron off, hung it on a nail
Promised I’d paint no more….
A smile spread across Mary’s face
Her words shook me to the core

Molly these paintings
Take my breath away
I bet they’re gonna hang
in a museum one day

Then I …heard Mary say out loud
someday Mollie…you’ll make us proud

Molly Mock quilt 2nd version.jpg


Words & Music by Still on the Hill

They marched into Cane Hill after the battle
Of Prairie Grove with their musket held high,
Cheering and shouting like braggadocios school boys
Before the fall comes the pride

Someone was hiding up on a rooftop
And no one ever knew who fired those pot shots
but those bullets brought some Blue Coats down
And a scapegoat must be found
And there would be a hanging in Cane Hill town.

The moon was so black you could hardly see
The gallows would be that old oak tree

The only ones in town were the old men and children
Too old or too young to fight in that old war
And the 3 men they chose, they were guilty of nothing
That, according to Cane Hill lore

The Commander tied rope to a branch way up high
Those three men would pay, would pay with their lives
He declared to the crowd gathered round
No man was to cut them down
That was his command to Cane Hill Town!

The moon was so black you could hardly see
The gallows would be the old oak tree

Now Lou Lacy whispered to her two dearest friends
Hidden in shadows, they emerged from the woods
Along with a wagon and her father’s fine oxen
They crept to the spot where the hanging tree stood
And with a silent prayer, they cut the bodies down

Hoping they weren’t seen, no soldiers around
With tears upon their face
they dug three shallow graves
Lou Lacy, she was young, and she was brave

The moon was so black you could hardly see
That tears were falling from that old oak tree

There’s unmarked stones in Cane Hill’s graveyard
Just might be those men, no one knows their names
And no one seems to know if that oak is still standing
But there’s one that old, still living there today

And as I stand beneath her arms, she seems ever silent
Mournful of those deeds, so senseless and violent
And her teardrops still fall down
through the leaves to the ground
Where those 3 men were hung, in Cane Hill town

The moon was so black you could hardly see
The gallows would be the old oak tree


Words & Music by Still on the Hill

A lovely bright red autumn leaf
Floated down from a Maple tree
Landed on a grave in front of me
In the windblown Carnahan Cemetery

A lonesome breeze whisked back in time
To 1837 Lord, I felt like cryin’
I could see a family living in fear
On the Trail of Tears

The Timberlake’s were Cherokee
Forced to travel west from Tennessee
Cross Kentucky, through Illinois
They had already buried their youngest boy

After 10- weeks they were tattered & worn
Nothing to eat but fodder & corn
Winter had arrived and with its chill
Daughter Alsey had taken ill

An old receipt had been found
Showed her coffin was purchased in Cane Hill town
She had only lived but 13 years
When her young soul left the Trail of Tears

The tragic deeds of yesterday
Left unmarked stones along the way
Shallow graves beside the road
Countless stories left untold

Then a sudden autumn breeze
Showered me with bright red leaves
I’m thinking that I heard her whispering
And I found myself down on my knees

So I picked up a perfect leaf
Put it in my pocket, for to keep
I’ll press it in a book…to remain
A reminder of Alsey Timberlake’s name!

Alsey Timberlake.jpg


Words & Lyrics by Still on the Hill

When I was a boy my appendix burst
they rushed me off to ole Doc Bean
He sent me off to the Hospital…
It was the worst case he’d ever seen
Took three long years to recuperate
So I’d visit Doc Bean most every day

He always found a special task for me
Seemed to enjoy my company
His every wish was my command
I loved being Doc Bean’s Right-Hand Man

I recall one day Doc got a call
He had a Model A Ford at the time
I wasn’t in school…just loafing around
So I asked him if he’d let me drive
He let me take it fast as she’d go
Up and down…them country roads

From that day on I’d drive him around
I knew all the back roads…in every town
He’d laugh every time I stepped on the gas
Driving his car made me feel like a man

Doc had some problems with his hands
He couldn’t keep em’ both from tremblin’
But when a man got shot with a double barrel gun
We fixed him real good for the day was done
With my steady hand and Doc’s watchful eye
I pulled a dozen pellets…from that poor man’s hide


Let me say right here…when someone came to the office or the phone rang
and someone was in need of help…Doc didn’t ask,
“Can you pay,” or “Do you have insurance?”
Never, ever was that a question…it was the Great Depression.
He just took care of em.

I joined the Army and was off to war
Dad had a stroke while I was gone
Until he died Doc cared for him
He was always there to spell my mom
The kindest man that I’ve ever known
When his own wife died he was left, there all alone

I begged him to move out west with me
I’d take care of him and keep him company
Nothing ever made me feel so grand
Than to be Doc Bean’s Right-Hand Man

Doc could not leave them Ozark hills
My heart was heavy as I drove away
I never ever saw him again…
but I thought about him every day
I hope when I make it to the Promised Land
I can be Doc Bean’s Right-Hand Man…(again)

Doc bean quilt 2nd batch.jpg


Words & Music by Still on the Hill

The leaves they are dancing on the end of the branches
Flashing their dresses of red and gold
Apples are blushing just like a new bride
The air’s crisp and cool …its harvesting time!
Cousin… Annie…. bakes the best pie
From Wilson June Apples with dark crimson stripes
If I pick her a bushel and a peck
She’ll give me a hug round the neck!

Then she’ll tell me stories ‘bout Cane Hill lore
Of battles & bandits and the Civil War
when it come to apples…she knows EVERYTHING

An apple… called Howard Sweet
Is best eatin’ right off the tree!

Annie once traveled…way up to Chicago
To World’s Fair in 1893…
She rode the Ferris Wheel up and down
From the top she could see… for miles around
Our Arkansas apples…they took the 1st Place
For color, variety, texture, and taste.
Every Autumn…I shore can see why
With one bite of Annie’s sweet pie!

So tomorrow I’ll wake up just before dawn
Head to the orchard… my heart filled with song
Gonna help pick them apples… all the day long
Dreaming of Cinnamon & spice
And Cousin Annie’s sweet pie

Annie would say : I love you a bushel and a peck…a bushel and a peck
and a hug around the neck!

apple pickin quilt 2nd version.jpg

The story of J.R. Pyeatt & Uncle Charlie King

Words & Music by Still on the Hill

Pull back the dry cornhusk, put golden coins in perfect rows
Then lay the husk back down, carefully so nothing shows
I’ve earned all this wealth, you see, from running the mill
I’m terrified to travel north; there are men who earn their keep
By robbing men like me

There’s a bank in Kansas City where my money will be safe
Take my sturdy wagon, leave at the break of day

Put all the gilded corn, right up front behind the seat
In your faded overalls, a simple man is all they’ll see
Poverty & coal black skin, just freed from slavery
They won’t suspect my gilded corn and just might let you be

Oh, Charlie King….my trusted friend, a golden coin before you go
Buy your gal some leather boots and a yard of calico…some lovely calico

2 weeks he has been gone
no news is good news so they say
The miller counts the hours
And for his safe return, he prayed
But he never should have risked his life
For money in the bank
And if Charlie makes it safely back
The good Lord he can thank

Last evening at the mill, I was working overtime
While thoughts of my dear friend, weighed ever heavy on my mind
I heard my horses whinnying, down the old dirt road
At last my wagon came in view and with a lightened load

Uncle Charlie King I cried, “I’m glad you made it home”
He smiled & showed me leather boots and pretty calico, lovely calico.

yard of calico quilt 2nd version.jpg


Words & Music by Still on the Hill

I used to teach… reading and writing and arithmetic

I was quite gentle…I never taught…to the whip of a hickory stick
I never traveled over the ocean…but I ordered a map of the world
I hung it up on my classroom wall…and the universe unfurled!

The children called me Ms. Houston
But Laura was my name at birth
I read the Bible every night
On Sundays I would sing in church
I loved the Ozark Mtns
They have always been my home
My students were precious…so very precious

I loved ‘em like my own!

The most memorable…day of my life was in the fall of 1918
When a little backwoods, barefoot boy gave the sweetest gift to me!
A tiny, perfect…metallic shoe, that mighta been a bracelet charm
So I took a fine, sliver of twine and wrapped it round my arm

I never forgot his precious smile
He was grinning ear to ear
I don’t know where he got the charm
But I kept it for all my years

It was an affirmation of how much I meant to him
I was his teacher…a mighty fine teacher

Way…way back when!

Now I’m long gone…and time marches on but that little shoe remains…
Attached to an old, yellowed piece of parchment
That bears my inscription and name
It hangs on the wall in a museum, shrouded in mystery
Some claim the shoe…inspired a piece…for the game called Monopoly.

Where that shoe… came from
I never knew its history
Oh it simply doesn’t matter…it’s irrelevant to me
That country boy had nothing but a little charm to give
To thank me for teaching …and a lifetime of teaching

That was my greatest gift!

A child without an education…is like a bird without wings
And knowledge without wisdom is a song that never sings!

The Charm.jpg

by Booth Campbell

Arrangement by Still on the Hill

Oh, what you gonna do when the great day comes?
Soundin' of the horn, beatin' of the drum,
No use to be a-grievin', I'm goin'; to be a-leavin';
Good-bye, my honey, I'm gone, yes gone,
Farewell my baby, I’m gone

Your kisses are sweeter, more sweeter than wine
But, come an early frost and they’ll wither on the vine
I know I’ll feel better come sunny weather
Good-bye, my honey, I'm gone, yes gone,
Farewell my baby, I’m gone

I got pigs and cows tied up, late last fall
Then I’m a goin’ to the ball,
while the goose chewed tobacca, duck drank wine
old hen cackled and the rooster kept time
Bye bye my baby I’m gone, Ooooh
Farewell my Baby, I’m gone

No use to be a grieving, I’m gonna be a leaving
Goodbye my honey I’m gone, yes gone, farewell my baby I’m gone

Booth Campbell.jpg

ALGIE BRALEY - Cane Hill Orphan Train Rider

Words & Music by Still on the Hill

Sister Madeline, Barbara and Elizabeth
Told us not to cry at the Orphanage
They said that Mama would come back one day
My lil brother Johnny tried hard to be brave
But at 4 years old I was so afraid
A hundred Orphaned children living there
We all stayed ‘round for about a year
We had clean clothes and 3 meals a day
But every night I’d pray


I’ll never forget that fateful day
When they chose us to ride on the Orphan Train
Far to a place called Arkansas
They dressed us boys in Navy suits
Our sisters wore dresses of white & blue
Four long days…clickety clack
Rolling down the railroad track
No tears left- no looking back…no looking back


When we finally arrived at the Fayetteville Station
There were swarms of folks in buggies and wagons
My sisters and my brother were taken away
I still held tightly to my faith…

dreaming of the lovely pearly gate
Where we could meet again one day

Mr. Finley took me in and I went to school
He had a big ole dog that I rode like a mule
But his wife up and died and so he passed me on
To a man up in Fayetteville who ran a music store
When he died his wife didn’t want me no more
They sent me off to Lincoln on a passenger train
Mr. Braly took me in…folks called him Frank
I counted my blessings every day, at night I’d pray


Oh I had to walk three miles to school
The orphanage folks- said that was cruel
So they threatened to take me away
So I grabbed my ole dog and we hid in the woods
They wouldn’t come a looking even if they could
Mr. Braly got a lawyer and adopted me
I sang his praises joyfully
Now at night when I kneel to pray
I can truly say….


Algie Lenard Braly wasn’t my birth name
But I wore it proudly till my dying day

Till my dying day


Words & Music by Still on the Hill

In the early 1850’s…I was cast out of bronze
Proudly mounted on a Steamboat called Grapeshot
We plied the Ohio, the Arkansas and Mississippi
My song rang out from Pittsburg to New Orleans

When the fog got too thick…I rang out a warning
I rang to wake the crew… when the sun arose each morning
I rang to tell the sailors, the hour of the day
I rang 8 times when a Crew Man passed away

But when the water was rising
In a wild angry current
My good ship went down
Up around Van Buren
And my voice would fall silent in that watery grave
Least that’s how it seemed to me, fore I was saved

A diving bell was lowered and those good men brought me up
And a wagon team of oxen took me over the mountaintop
All the way to Cane Hill, where my voice, again would speak
You’d hear it from the college all the way to Cove Creek

When the Civil War was ending…they burned my belfry down
As Cane Hill was blazing…I lay there on the ground
My voice, again was silenced, for I was badly cracked
But they sent me to a foundry where I could be recast!

For many years I rang…to summon folks to church
For weddings and funerals and for a child’s birth
Now I proudly hang in a tall, white, wooden tower
I ring each New Years Eve…at the midnight hour.

Instrumental Aude Lang Sine

bell quilt 2nd version.jpg


Music & Lyrics by Still on the Hill

When the Civil War ended Cane Hill began to grow
JB Wilbur and his wife moved from Ohio
He was thin as a rail, she was plump and round
And they say that she weighed about 300 pounds

He had come down south, he just had to see
The perfect clay for making pottery
So he dug that clay from the cold hard ground
Said, I’m gonna be the potter of Cane Hill town
So he built a potter’s wheel in a couple of days
And a brick kiln to fire, all the vessels he made

The wheel of time spin round and round
Like the potter’s wheel of Cane Hill town
Vessels cast in earthen clay
Hold the stories of yesterday

With a turnstile post from an old sorghum press
His contraption was pulled by his old mule, Bess
Round and round, and round, old Bessie would walk
Till that cold hard clay, it was smooth and soft

Mixing bowls, canning jars, jars for jam
Anything and everything to put things in
With a watchful eye for what the town folks use
And I wonder if there’s some that got filed up with booze!

And the kids loved to watch as the wheel turned round
Mr. Wilbur was the potter of Cane Hill town!

The wheel still spins round and round
Like the potter’s wheel of Cane Hill town
Vessels cast in earthen clay
Hold the stories of yesterday

Now the wheel spins fast and gone are the days
When a town needs a man turning jars of clay
But as time goes on just you wait and see
They will outlast you, they will outlast me

There are pieces of kiln that can still be found
In a farmer’s field near Cane Hill town
And a handful of pots bearing Wilbur’s name
Sit on shelves of a museum, they’re all that remain
He was laid to rest in the cold hard ground
In the good red clay of Cane Hill town

The wheel of time spin round and round
Like the potter’s wheel of Cane Hill town
Vessels cast in earthen clay
Hold the stories of yesterday

Go round and round, and round and round…

The Potter.jpg