Submitted by Mary Garvey

“The Badger Drive” is a Newfoundland folk song/ballad. The song is about a lumber drive near Badger, Newfoundland. As with many Newfoundland ballads, the lyrics are about traditional places and events and sometimes actual individuals—and this song has all those qualities.

The song was composed in 1912 by John V. Devine of King’s Cove, Bonavista Bay, NL. Local and family tradition hold that Devine composed it in a Grand Falls boarding house after having been fired from his job as scaler for the Anglo Newfoundland Development Company (A.N.D.). He sang the song at a St. Patrick’s Day concert at which company officials were present, and allegedly won his job back.

Listen to Barry Delaney performing “The Badger Drive:”

Sheet music for "The Badger Drive"
Download the sheet music for “The Badger Drive.”


There is one class of men in this country that never is mentioned in song.

And now, since their trade is advancing, they’ll come out on top before long.

They say that our sailors have danger, and likewise our warriors bold,

But there’s none know the life of a driver, what he suffers with hardship and cold.


With their pike poles and peavies and bateaus and all

They’re sure to drive out in the spring, that’s the time

With the caulks on their boots as they get on the logs,

And it’s hard to get over their time.

Bill Dorothey he is the manager, and he’s a good man at the trade;

And when he’s around seeking drivers, he’s like a train going down grade,

But still he is a man that’s kindhearted, on his word you can always depend.

And there’s never a man that works with him but likes to go with him again.


I tell you today home in London, The Times it is read by each man,

But little they think of the fellows that drove the wood on Mary Ann,

For paper is made out of pulpwood and many things more you may know,

And long may our men live to drive it upon Paymeoch and Tomjoe.


The drive it is just below Badger, and everything is working grand,

With a jolly good crew of picked drivers and Ronald Kelly in command,

For Ronald is boss on the river, and I tell you he’s a man that’s alive,

He drove the wood off Victoria, now he’s out on the main river drive.


So now to conclude and to finish, I hope that ye all will agree

In wishing success to all Badger and the A.N.D. Company.

And long may they live for to flourish, and continue to chop, drive and roll,

And long may the business be managed by Mr. Dorothey and Mr. Cole.


Mary Garvey writes: I am a retired but still working person originally from the lumber (major log drives here and pulp mills) region of Southwest Washington, USA. I did graduate work in experimental psychology at the University of Newfoundland (unfortunately was unable to complete it) and heard magnificent music there, including in my own house. I have been given a number of songs about my own corner of the world and put out CDs with other people on traditional songs of here (SW WA) and other places. Love Irish and British Isles songs, and Newfoundland songs, of course.