DOWN IN THE OLD DARK MILLS (JOE HILL) (1913)
Tune: "Down By The Old Mill Stream" (TELL TAYLOR)


Spinner in Lancaster Cotton Mills, Lancaster, SC, 1908.

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Mindful, too, of the man who could not find work because of disability, or the scarcity of jobs, Hill wrote "Down in the Old Dark Mill" and "The Old Toiler's Message." These sentimentalized verses pictured drifting human derelicts, unable to work and reduced to keeping themselves alive by whatever means they could devise.
Gibbs M. Smith, Labor Martyr Joe Hill, New York, NY, 1969, p. 35.

First published in the 21 August 1913 edition of the Industrial Worker "Little Red Songbook."

How well I do remember
That mill along the way,
Where she and I were working
For fifty cents a day.
She was my little sweetheart;
I met her in the mill --
It's a long time since I saw her.
But I love her still.
CHORUS:
Down in the Old Black Mill,
That's where first we met.
Oh! that loving thrill
I shall ne'er forget;
And those dreamy eyes,
Blue like summer skies.
She was fifteen --
My pretty queen --
In the Old Black Mill.
We had agreed to marry
When she'd be sweet sixteen.
But then -- one day I crushed it --
My arm in the machine.
I lost my job forever --
I am a tramp disgraced.
My sweetheart still is slaving
In the same old place.

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