RED BUCK. Old-Time, Air. USA, West Virginia. West Virginia fiddler Burl Hammons played this song air, Gerry Milnes says the name derives from an old ballad  called variously “Vance’s Confession,” “Vance No More,” "The Vance Song," and “The Death of Abner Vance.” The first verse goes:
Green are the woods where Sandy flows,
And Peace it dwelleth there;
In the valley the bear they lie secure,
The red buck roves the knobs.
Abner Vance (c. 1760-1819), the story goes, was a West Virginia preacher and Revolutionary War veteran who lived near the Sandy River on the Kentucky/West Virginia border. Upon discovering the his daughter Elizabeth had been molested by a man named Lewis Horton, the incensed Vance caught up with him and slew him as he attempted to escape. Despite considerable public sentiment in his favor, Vance was tried and, despite pleas for mitigating his sentence, hanged for the crime. A less fevered version of the story has it that Elizabeth and her lover, Dr. Lewis Horton, eloped, but after several months the couple returned to the area. Vance and Horton got into an argument with the result that Horton was shot and killed by Vance.
He was buried at Sarah Ann, Logan County, West Virginia.
Source for notated version:
Recorded sources: Shanachie Records 6040, Gerry Milnes & Lorriane Lee Hammond – “Hell Up Coal Holler” (1999. Learned from Pocahontas County, West Virginia, fiddler Burl Hammons).
See also listing at:
Hear Lorraine Hammond and Gerry Milnes recording