John Henry: Legendary character in the folk song of the same name. A railroad worker, his claim to fame was that he beat a steam drill in a drilling contest -- but pushed himself so hard that he died in the process. Many attempts have been made to find the "real" John Henry. Typically his exploit is located on the C & O Big Bend Tunnel in West Virginia, but John Garst has recently offered strong evidence that the John Henry legend began with (John) Henry Dabney of Alabama. Whoever inspired it, the song "John Henry" is one of the best-known of all American folk songs, and has even inspired several novels and dramatizations.