“Maggie Howie”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: c. 1957 (recording, Mrs. Tom Sullivan)
Keywords: courting love marriage rejection violence crime execution homicide punishment death family lover prisoner
Found in: Canada(Ont)


Michael Lee tells of courting Maggie Howie of Napanee; she wore his ring, but refused to marry him; her parents disapprove. He kills her with an axe, flees to the woods, is captured and jailed. He states his guilt and his readiness to be tried and hanged


Despite the last verse of the song, Michael Lee was not hanged, but instead found to be criminally insane, and confined in a special wing of Kingston Penitentiary until his death. Maggie Howie's ghost is said to haunt the offices of the local newspaper, which stands on the spot where the murder occurred. - PJS

Historical references



  1. Roud #3838
  2. BI, RcMagHow