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|Size||1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 71 items)|
|Abstract||Leland Ledgerwood's father, William Lafayette Ledgerwood, was born in Grainger County, Tenn., in 1889. He left Tennessee to work in the coal mines of Virginia, but soon moved to Ohio, where he married Gladys Jane Allen in 1915. In 1916, Ledgerwood formed the string band Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers with his wife, brother Fred, Bill James, and Gerald Flynn. The group performed in and around Warren, Ohio, during the late 1920s. The band eventually included some of Gladys and William Ledgerwood's children, as well as West Virginia fiddler Mack McGraw, who played with the band from the early 1930s to 1937. The band continued to perform throughout northeastern Ohio until the late 1930s or early 1940s. Both William and Gladys Ledgerwood died in Warren in 1962. Fred Ledgerwood died in Warren in 1965. Materials, primarily 1890-1953 and centering around the life and career of country musician William Ledgerwood, include Ledgerwood family genealogical records and photographs; business correspondence and publicity clippings related to Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers; and sound recordings, chiefly of country music. Photographs are largely from William Ledgerwood's childhood and youth in Grainger County, Tenn., and Rutledge, Tenn. Also included are photographs of the original Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers in Warren, Ohio. Band business and publicity materials include correspondence and clippings from newspapers either reviewing or advertising the band's appearances. Sound recordings are primarily home-recorded acetate discs and reel-to-reel tapes, some recorded after the band had stopped performing publicly. The recordings preserve a wide array of traditional country songs performed mainly by members of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers. Included are recordings of William Ledgerwood, Gladys Ledgerwood, and Fred Ledgerwood, as well as other musicians who worked with the band, including Mack McGraw. Also included are three cassette recordings of interviews with Leland Ledgerwood.|
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William Lafayette Ledgerwood, fiddle player and band-leader of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers, was born in Grainger County, Tenn., to John T. Ledgerwood (1869-1937) and Mary Willis Ledgerwood (1871-1922) in 1889. Ledgerwood family history in the United States dates back to 1738, when another William Ledgerwood, born in Ireland in 1701, settled with his family in Augusta County, Va. Eventually, the Ledgerwoods migrated to Tennessee, where William Lafayette Ledgerwood's grandfather David (1816-1888) was born.
William Ledgerwood's family supported itself by growing and selling apples. John Ledgerwood also kept honey bees, which provided the family with some additional income. As a source of enjoyment and entertainment, music was always an important part of Ledgerwood family life. John Ledgerwood was a life-long fiddler, and both William and his younger brother Fred showed an early interest in the instrument. With the help of their father's instruction and their own natural abilities, both boys soon became accomplished musicians.
While still a young man in his early twenties, William Ledgerwood left his family's home in Tennessee to seek work in the coal mines of Virginia. In 1913, at the urging of a friend who had left the mines for a better paying and less dangerous job in the city, William left coal mining and relocated to Warren, Ohio. In 1915, he married Gladys Jane Allen, a pianist from Paulding County, Ohio. The following year, his younger brother Fred arrived in Warren, and the family tradition of music was re-ignited. Family performances were popular with friends and neighbors, and eventually, William formed a small string band including his wife on piano and himself and Fred on fiddles. Non-family members Gerald Flynn on mandolin and Bill James on banjo completed the band. The name Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers was chosen, and the group performed publicly throughout northeastern Ohio during the late 1920s, broadcasting weekly from radio station WKBN in Youngstown, Ohio, from 1927 through 1930.
Over the years, the band went through a few personnel and name changes. At one point, they broadcast from WKBN as the Ledgerwood-Harmison Old Time String Band. Another incarnation of the group included William, Fred, and Gladys Ledgerwood, along with three of Gladys' and William's children. For much of the 1930s, Mack McGraw, a fiddler from West Virginia related to Cowboy Copas, played with the band. Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers enjoyed success throughout their community, eventually altering their string band format by adding a drummer and saxophone players in order to cater to the dance market before eventually disbanding sometime during the late 1930s or early 1940s. Both William and Gladys Ledgerwood died in Warren, Ohio, in 1962. Fred Ledgerwood died three years later in 1965.
The Ledgerwood family music tradition was taken up by Gladys' and William's children and grandchildren. Their eldest son Allen Ledgerwood, who began with the band on banjo and guitar, eventually switched to string bass. During the early years of World War II, Allen performed with a swing band throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. After the war, he relocated from Ohio to Los Angeles, Calif., where he lived and performed with jazz bands until his death in 1984. In addition to their own participation in the family band, younger brothers Lynn and Leland performed as a duo separate from the Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers from 1931 to 1934. Leland Ledgerwood began his musical career as a fiddler, but eventually switched to saxophone. His daughter is a jazz pianist who performs and teaches in New York City.Back to Top
Materials, primarily 1890-1953 and centering around the life and career of country musician William Ledgerwood, include Ledgerwood family genealogical records and photographs; business correspondence and publicity clippings related to Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers, a string band; and sound recordings, chiefly of country music. Photographs are largely from William Ledgerwood's childhood and youth in Grainger County, Tenn., and Rutledge, Tenn. Also included are photographs of the original Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers in Warren, Ohio. Band business and publicity materials include correspondence from the program director of a local radio station and several clippings from newspapers either reviewing or advertising the band's appearances. Sound recordings, which comprise the largest portion of the collection, are primarily home-recorded acetate discs and reel-to-reel tapes, some recorded after the band had stopped performing publicly. The recordings preserve a wide array of traditional country songs performed mainly by members of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers. Included are recordings of William Ledgerwood, Gladys Ledgerwood, and Fred Ledgerwood, as well as other musicians who worked with the band. One often-featured musician is Mack McGraw, a fiddler from West Virginia and related to Cowboy Copas, who played with the band from the early 1930s to 1937. Also included are three cassette recordings of interviews with Leland Ledgerwood.Back to Top
Typewritten copies of various forms of the Ledgerwood family tree of Rutledge, Tenn., Granger County, Tenn., and Warren, Ohio, showing direct lineage from the original American Ledgerwood settler, through members of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers to Leland Ledgerwood and beyond. Also included are original and photocopied newspaper obituaries for John T. Ledgerwood (1869-1937), William L. Ledgerwood (1889-1962), Gladys A. Ledgerwood (1889-1962), and Fred F. Ledgerwood (1899-1965).
Two letters from Irma Brundage, "Program Directress" for radio station WKBN in Youngstown, Ohio. One is a general letter of introduction and reference aimed at assisting the band in its efforts to make a record; the other, addressed to William Ledgerwood, pertains to the group's schedule on WKBN.
Also included are original and photocopied newspaper clippings reviewing shows or advertising appearances of the Ledgerwood group, referred to variously as the "Tennessee fiddlers," the "Ledgerwood boys," the Ledgerwood-Harmison Old Time String Band, or the "Tennessee musicians," in and around Warren, Ohio. There is also a placard, issued by the American Federation of Musicians, stating that "Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers are members of the American Federation of Musicians, Local No. 118, Warren, Ohio."
Arrangement: by format.
Primarily home recordings, made during the 1940s, by former members of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers, occasionally accompanied by friends. Discs were recorded in William Ledgerwood's home on a small machine owned by Fred Ledgerwood.
"Rag Ann," "Callidonia"
"Fly Around My Pretty Little Girl," "Callidonia"
"Sweet Bunch of Daisies"
"8th of January," "Coon Dog"
"Birdie," "Bully of the Town"
"Red Apple Rag," "Walking in My Sleep"
"Rubber Doll," "Chicken in the Dough Tray"
"Cumberland Gap," "Birdie"
"Turkey in the Straw," "Stone Rag"
"Tears on My Pillow," "Arkansas Traveler"
"Brown Button Slippers"
"Old Man I Want Your Daughter"
"Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," "Dale Cole"
"Tangle Foot," "Tickle Me to Death"
"I'll Get Along," "Walking in My Sleep"
"Tennessee Wagoner," "Alice Blue Gown"
"Going to Cuba," "Bill Hill"
"Sally Gooden," "Callihan"
"When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again," "Truck Driver's Blues"
"Goin' Back to Texas," "Nobody's Darling"
"Coon Dog," "Want New Reel"
"Blue Eyes," "Green Laurel Waltz"
"Walking the Floor," "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad"
"I'm Walking the Floor" (2 cuts)
"Goodnight Walk," "Girl I Left Behind"
"Stone Rag," "Old Joe Clark"
"Johnson Gal" "Callidonia"
Home recordings by former members of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers, primarily made after 1950, occasionally accompanied by friends. The material was recorded in William Ledgerwood's home on his reel-to-reel tape recorder. Included are some copies of professionally recorded songs. Material on FT-8831 and FT-8832 was possibly transferred to reel-to-reel tapes from acetate discs. Logs to these tapes are filed separately in the SFC Field Notes vertical files.
William Ledgerwood and Gladys Ledgerwood #20291, Subseries: "4.2. Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1953." FT-8831
"Jeff Davis," "Bill Hill's Dance," "Going to Cuba," "Down Yonder"
"Walking in My Sleep"
William Ledgerwood and Gladys Ledgerwood, 13 July 1953 #20291, Subseries: "4.2. Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1953." FT-8832
"Jeff Davis," "Bill Hill's Dance," "Going to Cuba"
Interviews with Leland Ledgerwood conducted by C. Michale James as part of the Fantome Audio Oral History Project.
Items separated include photographs (P-3601-3613), sound recordings (FT-8831-8836, FD-659-686, FS-4913-4915), and notes to sound recordings (FT-8831-8836).Back to Top
Processed by: Ashley Nation, April 2000
Encoded by: Amy Davis, April 2000Back to Top