© words & music by CARL REED
from CD Sky & Water, Wind & Grass

Album Note:   A “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, Samuel N. Wood was the father of Chase County and a leader of every enlightened movement in Kansas from 1854 until his death by assassination in 1891. His widow wrote, “He was one of the heroic band who threw their lives between the infant State of Kansas and the demon of human slavery... They then  founded the state.”

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Slavecatcher’s braggin’, he’s comin’ up the road 
Cover up your wagon, tighten up the load 
The conductor is a Quaker lad, he knows just what to say 
He’ll trick that fool slavecatcher, and save the runaway    

Samuel was the Quaker lad who grew to be the man 
Who gave up everything he had to join the Kansas band 
Off into the Indian lands, through lawless Westport town 
The border ruffians soon will know where Samuel Wood is bound 

Gunmen block his pathway, they will not let him be 
Every traveler has to say he’ll vote for slavery 
Sam throws the big one to the ground, then steps into the night 
The border ruffians have to learn these Kansas boys will fight 

     High on the grassy hilltop, enduring through the years 
     The weathered marker comforts “sleep old pioneer” 
     There for every fan of freedom, for every friend of good 
     Prairie wind forever sings the song of Samuel Wood 

Kansas Rangers march the road that leads to Wilson’s Creek 
Too much Kansas blood has flowed to turn the other cheek 
Three thousand soldiers fall today but Samuel’s still alive 
Their world descends to chaos but the Union must survive    

Honored dead are buried, survivors march along 
The wounded must be carried but they sing John Whittier’s song 
“We cross the prairies as of old the pilgrims crossed the sea 
To make the west, like they the east, the homeland of the free” 

A thousand souls descend upon this tiny prairie town 
They come to mark the end of life, to lay his body down 
The father of the county, the hero of the war 
How right that every Kansan sing his praise forevermore 

CHORUS and repeat