“Yonder Comes the High Sheriff”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (Sandburg; recording, Ollis Martin)
Keywords: prison police
Found in: US


"Yonder comes the high sheriff ridin' after me, Ridin' after me, yes, ridin' after me. Yonder comes... O it's captain, I don't want to go." "Been down to Frankfort servin' out my time...."


"Gotta Travel On" became enormously popular in the 1950s-1960s folk revival, to the point where it was a parodied cliche; the song was always credited to Paul Clayton. This song, though, is clearly its source. Ollis Martin's recording seems to have been made only a few weeks before Sandburg's book was published. - PJS



  1. Sandburg, p. 213, "Yonder Comes the High Sheriff" (1 short text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, San213