Steven Payne sent me and Big Mick a scan of these handwritten lyrics. I'm going to post his email and the lyrics exactly.

Mick and Joe

I've attached copies of the transcription below. A bit of explanation:

My grandmother Ethel was Native American adopted as an infant in 1883 by a white farming family just across the Missouri border from Indian Territory. She grew up white and was married at age 16 to a neighbor farmer. They headed west, lived for awhile in Wyandotte OK where first son was born, then continued west to Arizona.

The transcript below was saved by my mother (Ethel's youngest daughter) from a letter that Ethel sent back from Arizona to her sister in Missouri. My mother has since passed but I suspect that my mother thought that Ethel had written the verses (Ethel loved poetry).

My take is that Ethel heard the song/poem somewhere between Oklahoma and Arizona, loved it, and sent the lyrics to her favorite sister Stella.

That is all I know about this transcript. My brother has the original and sent the foto copy to me. Please use it as you see fit.

Thanks for the interest.

Steven Payne


    1. 'Twas on a bright May morning
    I bid Orleans Adieu
    Being on my road to Texas
    Where I was forced to go.
    Oh the cursed Georgias money,
    Did me no credit gain;
    And I got broken hearted -
    On the Lake of Ponca Train.

    2. O'er swamps and alligators
    I led my weary way.
    O'er rail-road ties and crossing
    My weary feet did stray.
    Till at the dawn of evening
    Some higher ground I gained
    'Twas there I met with the Creo Girl
    On the Lake of Ponca Train.

    3. Good eve my pretty fair maiden
    My money does me no good.
    If it wasn't for the alligators
    I'd sleep all night in the wood.
    "You're welcome, welcome stranger,
    Although our home is plain:
    We never turn out a stranger
    On the Lake of Ponca Train.

    4. She took me to her fathers house
    And treated me quite well.
    Her golden hair in ringlets
    All o'er her shoulders fell.
    Oh I tried to paint her beauty,
    But I found it all in vain.
    So handsome was the Creo Girl,
    On the Lake of Ponca Train.

    5. Oh I ask her if she'd marry me,
    She said that never could be,
    She said she had a lover
    And he was far at sea.
    She said she had a lover,
    And true she would remain
    Till he came back to claim his bride
    On the Lake of Ponca Train.

    "Good bye my pretty fair maiden
    I never may see you more.
    But I'll never forget your kindness
    Or the Cottage by the shore."
    When at those social circles
    The sparkling cup I drink
    I'll drink to the health of the Creo Girl.
    On the Lake of Ponca Train.

    The End.
    Written by Ethel for Stella.
    Buckeye, Arizona. May 7th 1902.

Now, is that cool, or what?
Thank you very much, Steven.

-Joe Offer-