Oh, Cannonsville

My name is Gary Teed. I am a singer/songwriter/guitarist who lives in the upstate area around Afton, NY and was a one-time resident of Cannonsville, NY before NYC destroyed it and many other nearby communities.

I was at a celebration over the weekend at Trout Creek where they were celebrating 200 years of Tompkins. I met some of the former residents of Cannonsville. I bought a book on the history which helped tie together much of what I have read on the Delaware County genology website. It has inspired a song which is well along towards completion. I hope to finish it soon and record it. I am sending you the words I have so far. I hope you like it. It is a poignant poem.

"Oh, Cannonsville"

Oh, Cannonsville I see you,
Through the teardrops in my eyes.
Though you lie beneath the waves now,
In my heart you'll never die.

They came from NY city,
To the land where beauty lies.
And what they did to people here,
Would make a grown man cry

They wanted our water,
So they pushed us all aside.
They took away our livelyhood,
And the county slowly died.

I was just a boy of seven,
When we were forced from the land.
They came and took our home away.
I couldn't understand.

Oh, Cannonsville I see you,
Through the teardrops in my eyes.
Though you lie beneath the waves now,
In my heart you'll never die.

And all of the farmers there,
Were dealt a heavy blow.
Fifty cents on the dollar was all they would give,
You couldn't tell them "no"!

I hope I never see this again,
Please don't put me through that pain.
They even have a word for it.
They call it emmenent domain.

Oh, Cannonsville I see you,
Through the teardrops in my eyes.
Though you lie beneath the waves now,
In my heart you'll never die.

Editor's Note: Thank you to Gary for submitting these moving lyrics. We look forward to hearing the recording when it's complete. For photographs and more information about Cannonsville, please see Cannonsville: A town that was sacrificed for New York City. While Cannonsville's fate has been sealed, the greater issues behind its fate remain. For a discussion of the contemporary vulnerability of Upstate's water resources, visit The Power of Water at NYCO's blog. And for Gary's music, visit his site on SongPlanet. - Natalie


Gary Teed said...

Thanx for adding this poignant song to your webpage. And also for adding a link to my music. I hope to have this recorded soon. The few who have heard it so far really like it. I will send you a copy when it is recorded.

I am sure there will be some who will not like me drawing attention to this. But, it is a true story and many can relate to it. One note to add is that they cannot do to anyone else what was done in Cannonsville.

The insult added to the injury is the fact that we are not allowed to hike into the hills aound this reservoir to walk the old family lands. I risk being arrested and tossed in jail if caught. Especially since 9-11-01. They are more paranoid than ever now. To think that I would do damage to an area that I love so much is just plain silly......but, that is how we are looked upon by NYC. Yes, this was handled very badly and the wound still festers. I imagine that they had hoped all the old-timers who remember would die off and this would go away. Not if I can help it!

For years they simply buried the fact that the was once a vibrant community there. They only recently put up the kiosks telling a small piece of the story.

I hope this helps open the eyes of many people to the inner workings of NYC politics and policies. The battle continues.......


Jesse said...

The callousness of distant bureaucrats and faceless corporations seem to always threaten our communities these days. Maybe the best thing to come out of the flooding of the Catskill communities, for those of us Upstate who don't get the water, is a good solid lesson in the frequent avarice of our neighbors. From the York Staters archive is this article on the Ashokan reservoir, the villages below it and the music it has inspired.