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Well they gave him his orders at Monroe, Virginia
saying, "Steve, you're a-way behind time.
This is not Thirty-Eight but she's the old Ninety-Seven
and you've got to get to Spencer on time."
He turned and he said to his tired, greasy fireman,
"Shovel on a little more coal.
We got to get some speed for to climb that White Oak Mountain
then we'll sit and watch old Ninety-Seven roll."
It's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville,
a line down a three-mile grade.
It was on that grade that he lost his leverage
you can see what a jump he made.
He was going down the grade making ninety miles an hour
when the whistle broke into a scream.
They found him in the wreck with his hand upon the throttle
he was scalded to death by the steam.
The telegram came down from Washington station
and this is how it read (pause for dit dots)
That brave engineer that drove old Ninety-Seven
is laying down in Danville dead.
So all you ladies please take warning
from this time on now learn.
Never speak harsh words to your true loving husband
he will leave you and never return.