Banks of the Old St. Johns

03:56
Doug Spears
2010-01-01
Doug Spears

Story

The St. Johns River is the longest river in the state of Florida and its most significant for commercial and recreational use. At approximately 310 miles long, it winds through or borders twelve counties. It is one of the few rivers in the United States to run north. Numerous lakes are formed by the river or flow into it, but as a river its widest point is 3 miles across, spanning several miles between Palatka and Jacksonville. The St. Johns has been the subject of William Bartram's journals, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' books, and Harriet Beecher Stowe's letters home. This song is the account of a fictional frontier woman who made her life on the shores of the great river.

Lyrics

 

Vista Faire had raven hair black as a moonless night,

They say she was part Seminole a daughter of the tribe,

Made her home in a pine wood shack no man to call her own,

And she lived off the bounty of the land she loved long the banks of the old St. Johns

 

Now she goes down to the water side every morning just past dawn,

To brush her hair and sing a song long the banks of the old St. Johns

 

When Debary ran his paddle wheels up from lake Monroe,

They’d often stop and pass the time with that beautiful Indian girl,

And she fed them well on fry bread and fresh shad fish roe,

And they would tell her all the news they heard as they traveled up and down the flow.

 

Now she goes down to the water side every morning just past dawn,

Watchin’ for those old paddle wheels to come sailin’ down the Old St. Johns

 

Then one day on the paddle wheel there came a gamblin’ man,

A passing stranger from New Orleans set his feet upon the sand,

And he tarried there with Vista Faire beneath the Florida sun,

But the wander lust soon came to him and he never did return.

 

Now she goes down to the water side every morning just past dawn,

Hopin’ for that man she loved come sailin’ down the old St. Johns

 

When summer came Vista Faire was heavy with his child,

She gave birth to a little black haired girl all alone in the Florida wild,

Raised that girl in a pine wood shack the two of them called home,

And they lived off the bounty of the land they loved long the banks of the old St. Johns.

 

Now she goes down to the water side every morning just past dawn, To brush their hair and sing a song ‘long the banks of the Old St. Johns

 

‘Long the banks of the old St. Johns