| Share

John Henry

John Henry, legendary African American famous for his strength, celebrated in ballads and tales. In the most popular version of the story, John Henry tries to outwork a steam drill with only his hammer and steel bit. Although he succeeds in beating the machine, he dies of the strain. His legend originated c.1870 among the miners drilling the Big Bend Tunnel of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in West Virginia and may have some historical basis.

See study by S. R. Nelson (2006).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on John Henry from Infoplease:

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Folklore and Mythology

Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring