1. Ringtail

From the recording Firefly

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This song is about my great, great, grandfather Martin Parmer. Apparently, he named himself "The Ringtail Panther." He was a frontiersman who was the first settler of Clay County, Missouri and was involved in numerous fights with Missouri Indian tribes. He was also always in trouble with various authorities. When he was appointed as Indian agent by William Clark, he declined the job but took the $500 check and headed for Texas. Shortly after arriving in Texas, he led 36 men and took over the Mexican town of Nacogdoches, declaring the free Republic of Fredonia (he was President). He signed a treaty with five chiefs of the Cherokee Nation that would have ceded half of Tejas to the Indians. In 1831, the Mexican government issued 250 warrants for his arrest, but he rode back into Texas anyway with Jim Bowie. He signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and was president of the committee that authored the Republic of Texas Constitution at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Martin Parmer himself wrote the chorus.


My name is Martin Parmer, you might never heard of me
I was born up in Virginia, made my way to Tennessee
and I ran the mill on Yellow Creek for Montgomery Bell
and I used that steel to kill the Brits in the War of 1812

I am the Ringtail Panther, wild and wooly, hard to curry
when I'm mad I fight, and when I fight I whup

Well I drifted on to Missouri, where I built myself a home
in the Fishing River Valley, where no white man would go
and I raised myself a family, and I skinned myself some b'ars
and I made truce with the Sioux except the killer they called Two Hearts

Well I heard word of a wilder place down in Mexico
in a land that they called Tejas, and I talked my gal to go
then me and the Edwards Brothers and a band of Cherokee
said we'll call this place Fredonia, free of all this tyranny
well I lost that fight with Mexico, and it burned me up inside
and it took the Texians ten more years to figure I was right
but when the Alamo was lost, I was there at Washington
declaring Texas freedom from Santa Anna's guns

When Sam Houston won the war, he was on my Isom's gray
Sam was born on the day I died, Texas Independence Day
My name is Martin Parmer, and I tell you this my friend
I was born up in Virginia, but I am a Texian

I said my name is Martin Parmer, you might never heard of me
I was born up in Virginia, made my way to Tennesse
then I drifted on to Missouri, where I skinned myself some b'ars
then on down to Texas, where I helped put up that Lone Star