Ballad of the Greenwood Ballads of the Greenwood
Between the Rivers Remembered

By Lynn M. Hodges

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No one writes alone, because we draw energy and
support from family and friends who underpin our efforts.

From the literal beginning, I acknowledge my mother
and father, Ruth Ann and James Howell Hodges, my
mentors in the history from between the rivers, Doris
and Lee Crutchfield, and my pedagogue, a favorite
teacher, coach and colleague, James M. Major. To
Jesse Stuart and Lee Pennington, my thanks for
lighting the sparks of imagination and giving me
confidence to write.

And to those people who once lived ‘between the
rivers’, you have my admiration and gratitude for
sharing your stories.


Ballads of the Greenwood tell the stories of people
who lived in a narrow stretch of land between the
Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers in western
Kentucky and Tennessee. These rivers, the rolling
landscape and thick forests effectively isolated the land
and the people. Isolation helped mold self reliant
individuals, proud of family and adverse to outsiders.
When these people were removed from the land by the
Federal Government in the mid-1960’s, stories from “
between the rivers” emerged as a testimony to those
displaced. Written by Lynn M. Hodges in the fall of
1970 and winter of 1971, Ballads of the Greenwood,
capture only a few of these tales.

Ballads and ballad forms stand as the senior citizens
among traditional western poetry. Ballads capture
moments in history, tales of love lost and love gained,
and heroes victorious or fallen. The lyrical and
musical foundations of ballads lend themselves to
simple songs and are easily remembered. They recall
images of traveling minstrels in England and France,
the saga tales of the Norse lands, and even the campfire
songs of the American frontier. They tell and retell
favorite stories. The following are stories from
“between the rivers,” a place the author simply calls
the Greenwood.

The Chickasaw
        Ballad of the Chickasaw

The Days of Iron
        Ballad of the Iron Furnace

The Misadventure of ‘Crazy’ Kelly
        The Ballad of Crazy Kelly

The Curious Unknown
    Ballad of the Unknown

The Civil War
        Ballad of the General

Sunlight on Moonshine
        Ballad of the White Mule Brew

Rivers, Dams and Lakes
        Ballad of the River’s Feud

Moving On
        Ballad of the Greenwood People

History or Memories
        Ballad of the Memories

To Enjoy the Greenwood
        Advice to a Greenwood Stranger


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