Old Grandfather - New England Music Scrapbook
Old Grandfather
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Jesse Hutchinson, Jr., wrote the lyrics of this song about his maternal grandfather,  Andrew Leavitt (1753-1846),  of Amherst, New Hampshire.

Old Grandfather lived till he was ninety years old,

But he died long ago, long ago;

He had many friends, and it never was told

That the good old man had a foe.

Then lay down the mallet and the maul,

Hang up the chisel and the saw;

There's no more labor for the good old man,

He has gone to his home far awa.


His grandchildren all will remember him long,

For a smile always sat on his brow,

As he told a good story or sang a good song;

Methinks I can hear him sing now.

Then lay down the mallet and the maul,

Hang up the chisel and the saw;

There's no more labor for the good old man,

He has gone to his home far awa.


He built many houses while he lived upon the earth;

But never a house did he own,

Except the old cot where he lived so many years,

And the house where [he] now rests his bones.

Then lay down the mallet and the maul,

Hang up the chisel and the saw;

There's no more labor for the good old man,

He has gone to his home far awa.


Oh, well I remember the day that he died,

And they laid him out on his bier;

As we followed to the grave the little children cried,

And the old men wept many a tear.

Then lay down the mallet and the maul,

Hang up the chisel and the saw;

There's no more labor for the good old man,

He has gone to his home far awa.


His body now sleeps in the old churchyard,

And the stone marks the spot where 'twas laid;

And in heaven his soul has found its reward,

And the good all shall meet him again.

Then lay down the mallet and the maul,

Hang up the chisel and the saw;

There's no more labor for the good old man,

He has gone to his home far awa.

Hutchinson Family

Jesse Hutchinson, Jr.  "Old Grandfather."  Adapted by Jesse Hutchinson, Jr., from Stephen C. Foster's "Old Uncle Ned."  First line: "Old Grandfather lived till he was ninety years old, But he died long ago, long ago."  First line of chorus: "Then lay down the mallet and the maul, Hang up the chisel and the saw."  Probably 1849-1851.

  • I've never seen an explicit listing of "Old Grandfather" in a Hutchinson Family concert program of any sort. Judson very often sang "Old Uncle Ned;" and sometimes, instead of the original lyrics, he may have substituted "Old Grandfather." It is entirely possible, on the other hand, that this song was only put to use within the family circle. We simply don't know. "Old High Rock" is an example of a well-known Hutchinson Family composition that, according to our extensive records, was seldom actually sung at large gatherings, though a published score was available. "Harry of the West," too, saw the light of day in sheet music; but we only know of a single, highly controversial public performance.
  • Alan Lewis, March 14, 2002






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Notes copyright © 2002 by Alan Lewis.
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