Arkansas, Arkansas Traveler, Ashland, banjo, Brandon Kirk, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, fiddle, fiddler, fiddling, Grayson, Harts, history, Holden, Jim Tackett, John Hartford, John Tackett, Kentucky, Lincoln County, Logan County, Logan Court House, music, Ohio, Portsmouth, Red River, Reece Tackett, Trace Fork, West Fork, writing
The next day, Brandon and I visited Reece Tackett, a banjo-picker who lived in a nice yellow house just up West Fork. Reece was born in 1909 and raised around Grayson in eastern Kentucky. His grandfather, Jim Tackett, was a fiddler from the Red River area of Arkansas who played for square dances in large farmhouses. He taught Reece’s father, John Tackett, how to play the fiddle. Reece said his father played “the old way — not flashy.” He used a homemade fiddle and “had to go to pine trees to get rosin.” He moved to a farm about nine miles from Grayson, where he made fiddles and played close to home, never as far away as Portsmouth, Ohio.
Reece said he moved to Holden in Logan County when he was sixteen to work with his uncle and brother in the coalmines. He used to watch Ed Haley and his wife play “beautiful” tunes like “Arkansas Traveler” on weekends at the Logan Courthouse. He said Ed wasn’t a big man and had fingers “about like a lead pencil.” His wife played the mandolin.
“She was pretty good on her singing,” Reece said. “She was dressed like the real old ladies. She had the long dress on and the apron.”
Ella kept a cup fastened to herself somehow.
“I’ve tossed many a nickel and dime in their cup,” Reece said.
Sometimes, people would pretend to put money in their cup and then steal from it.
Ed was usually paid about ten or fifteen cents per tune. There were no dollars and most of the coal miners were paid in company script.
Reece said he moved to Harts in 1946 and had no idea that Ed was from Trace Fork or even lived in Ashland.
blind, Brandon Kirk, Cacklin Hen, Cas Baisden, Clyde Haley, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, Ewell Mullins, fiddling, Harts, Harts Creek, history, John Hartford, Logan County, music, Peter Mullins, Robert Martin, Trace Fork, West Virginia, World War II, writing
Early the next morning, Brandon and I arrived on the bus in Harts and drove to see Cas Baisden, who we spotted in a porch swing up main Harts Creek, just above the mouth of Smoke House Fork. It was a pastoral scene: a somewhat old farmhouse, several chickens in the yard and a few cattle in the distance who’d done a marvelous job of clearing the mountainside just back of the place. As we pulled up to the house, I realized that it was built fairly high off of the ground — probably as a precaution against flooding. Cas just kind of stared down at us as we unloaded from the car.
Once he figured out who we were, he invited us in to the living room. There we learned that Cas was eighty-seven years old and had spent his whole life on Harts Creek.
“I was born in 1910,” he said. “The only five years I was gone from here was when I was in the Army. I left here the second day of April ’42. I spent five year in the Air Force. Never was off the ground.”
Wow — I had to ask, “What is the secret to living so long?”
“Working, working, buddy,” Cas said. “I work ever day a little bit. I wish you’d a seen the coal and stuff I packed in this morning. I got two calves down there and chickens and cats and dogs. I live on tobacco, Cheerios, and milk.”
Ever drink any whiskey?
“Barrels of it,” he said. “It’s been ten or twelve years since I quit fooling with drinking. Yeah, I went up here and joined the church and things. A fella never knows what he misses when he gets in a church. I used to be rougher’n a cob.”
Cas was partly raised by Uncle Peter Mullins, so he remembered Ed Haley well.
“He’d come up there to Peter’s and just go from house to house playing music and eating,” he said. “He used to go up to Ewell’s — I guess where he was raised — and come down that road just a running and hollering and whooping and cutting the awfulest shine that ever was and you wouldn’t a thought he could a stayed in that road. I don’t know how he done it, but he’d take spells like that. If he got a hold of you with a knife, though, he was dangerous. Hang on you and cut as long as they’s a thread on you. Him and that old woman, they’d get drunk and they’d fight up there. You know, it’s a wonder they hadn’t a killed one another. I believe they did try to cut one another up there at old man Peter’s one time.”
What about the Haley kids?
“Why them young’ns would do anything,” Cas said. “Clyde went out here where Robert Martin used to live on that mountain and went down in the well and they had a time a getting him out. And up here a little bit was a big sycamore and he was up in there and we’d throw rocks at him, son, and if we’d a hit him and knocked him out of there he’d been killed. I believe Clyde was the meanest one among them, I don’t know.”
I asked Cas if he ever played music and he said, “Nah, I done well to call hogs. But now Ed was about as good a fiddler as they was. Nobody could play better than Ed. He could play anything on earth he wanted to play.”
Cas had memories of Ed playing at Uncle Peter’s, either outside for small crowds or inside for “big dances” before “they finally broke up and quit.” The old dances started about the “edge of dark” and people would just “jump around — most people never could dance” – until sun-up. There was no trouble — just “fiddle, dance, drink” — although a person had to watch out for what Cas called the “old hedgehogs.”
I asked him if Ed ever drank much at the dances and he said, “Sure. He’d get to drinking and have more fun than the one’s a dancing.”
When Ed wasn’t around to play dances on Trace, Robert Martin would show up and fiddle tunes like “Cacklin’ Hen”. Martin had the first radio “that was ever in this country” so people went to his house “out on the mountain” and listened to it until “way late in the night.”
Ashland, Brandon Kirk, California, Catlettsburg, Catlettsburg Stock Yard, Chapmanville, Clyde Haley, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, genealogy, Halbert Street, history, Horse Branch, Jack Haley, Jean Thomas, John Hartford, Junius Martin, Kenny Smith, Kentucky, Lawrence Haley, Logan County, Mona Haley, music, Ohio, Pat Haley, Patsy Haley, Ralph Haley, Ralph Mullins, Rosie Day, San Quentin, South Point, Wee House in the Wood, West Virginia, Wilson Mullins, writing
The next day, Brandon and I got Mona to ride around town and show us some of the places where Ed played, as well as where he’d made the home recordings on 17th Street. In the car, she tried to recount the places the family had lived since her birth at Horse Branch in 1930.
The first place she remembered was an old brown house built on a slope at Halbert Street. This was the place where Ralph built the trap door.
When Mona was seven or eight years old, the family moved to 337 37th Street.
When she was about thirteen, they moved to 105 17th Street. She lived there in 1944 when she married Wilson Mullins and moved away to Chapmanville, near Harts. After her divorce, she moved back to 17th Street. At that time, Ed was separated from Ella and living in West Virginia.
For a brief spell, the Haleys lived at 5210 45th Street. Rosie Day lived nearby in a basement apartment.
Around 1948, the family moved to 1040 Greenup Avenue. Mona lived there when she married Kenny Smith and moved to South Point, Ohio.
Around 1950, Ed, Ella, Lawrence, Pat, and little Ralph moved to 2144 Greenup Avenue. Jack and Patsy lived there for a while because Patsy — who was pregnant with twins — wanted to be near the hospital. It was there that Ed passed away in February of 1951.
Thereafter, Ella stayed intermittently with Lawrence and Pat in Ashland or with Jack and Patsy in Cleveland until her death in 1954.
Brandon and I drove Mona around town later and she pointed out the sight of the Catlettsburg stock sale, where she remembered Ed making “good money” around 1935-36. She also directed us to at least three different locations of Jean Thomas’ “Wee House in the Wood.” One was remodeled into an office building and used by the county board of education, while another was out in what seemed like the middle of nowhere on a wooden stage in a valley surrounded by tall grass. Brandon and I thought this latter location was almost surreal, like something out of a weird dream.
Later at dinner, Mona told us what happened to her records.
“I sent Clyde some records when he was in San Quentin, California but he never brought them back with him,” she said.
I told her that some guy named Junius Martin had brought Lawrence some of Ed’s recordings and she said, “Seems like Junius Martin was one of Pop’s drinking buddies. I thought his name was Julius.”
Allie Trumbo, Ashland, Beautiful Isle of Somewhere, Brandon Kirk, California, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Doug Owsley, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, Florida, genealogy, history, Jack Haley, Janet Haley, Jimmy Haley, John Hartford, Kentucky, Lawrence Haley, life, Margaret Ryan, Mona Haley, music, Noah Haley, Oak Hill Cemetery, Ohio, Pat Haley, Patsy Haley, Ralph Haley, Ralph Payne, Rosemary Haley, Wilson Mullins, World War II, writing
Early in December, Brandon and I met at Pat Haley’s. All of our excitement focused on the upcoming meeting with Owsley’s forensic team, although it wasn’t long until we were in the familiar routine of asking Pat and Mona questions. Mostly they spoke of Ralph, a key player in Ed’s story. It was Ralph who recorded Ed’s and Ella’s music. Pat said Patsy knew a lot about Ralph, so she called her in Cleveland.
Patsy said Ralph was a nice and intelligent person.
“All the kids looked up to him when they were growing up,” she said.
As far as Patsy knew, Ralph never had any contact with his real father but he did take the last name of Payne when he was older.
Around 1936, Ralph married Margaret Ryan, an eighteen- or nineteen-year-old Cincinnati girl. The newlyweds took up residence with Ed and Ella, and Ralph stopped drinking (at his wife’s insistence). Margaret remained living with the Haleys during the war, when Ralph was overseas fighting the Japanese.
During the war, Ralph had an affair with a Filipino woman named Celeste, who Pat said bore him a son. Mona thought he actually married Celeste. According to her, his plan was to “set” Margaret up after the war, divorce her and return to his Filipino bride. He had Celeste’s name tattooed on his body. When he returned home from the war, he told Margaret, when she saw his tattoo, that Celeste had been the name of his ship. Ralph and Margaret soon left Ashland and moved to Cincinnati.
It was around that time that Patsy came into the family. She said she married Jack in California on October 25, 1946 and met Ed the following Thanksgiving in Ashland. She and Jack moved in with him for three months at 105 17th Street. Mona, Wilson Mullins, and little Ralph were also living there at the time. Jack only stayed for about three months because he couldn’t find work. Patsy said they moved out near Ralph in Cincinnati. Ella’s brother Allie Trumbo lived there, as did several of her close friends. Mona and her family soon followed them there and found an apartment in the same building.
Mona said Ralph’s thoughts were with Celeste: he was in the process of getting Margaret “set up” when tragedy intervened.
One Sunday in May of 1947, Jack, Patsy, Ralph, Margaret, Mona, Wilson, and little Ralph went fishing at a park about 25 miles outside of Cincinnati. At some point, Patsy said Ralph and Mona began talking about hanging upside down in a nearby tree. Mona climbed up the tree and Patsy took her picture. Then Ralph got in the tree and fell. As he lay on the ground, he told his family that his neck was broken and requested that they put a board under him until the doctors could arrive. Ralph was taken to a hospital where he told Ella, “When I bite down on the ice it makes a musical tone in my head.”
On Thursday, May 22, 1947, Ralph died at the age of 34. The family was afraid that Ella might hear of his death over the radio. She was staying at Mona’s apartment at the time.
On May 24 — Mona’s birthday — Ralph was buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery near Cincinnati. Patsy said Ed never made it to Ralph’s funeral, nor did Lawrence, who was in the service in Florida but Mona remembered that Lawrence was there on emergency leave. Someone played “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere”, Ralph’s favorite hymn.
Celeste later wrote Ella, mentioning how her son had an ear problem. When the family wrote to tell her of Ralph’s death, she figured they were making it up just so she would stop writing.
We figured that Ralph was Mona’s favorite brother since she had named her oldest son after him, but she said Jack was her favorite brother because he had taken up for her the most. She said Ella had been the one who named her son after Ralph. She also spoke highly of Noah, who contracted malaria and saw a lot of combat during World War II.
“Noah was good to send things home to Mom and Pop during the war,” Mona said. “And when he came home he laid carpet and fixed doorbells did things like that for Mom there at 17th Street.”
Noah went to Cleveland around 1950. Pat said Noah’s wife was a high-strung person. Their daughter Rosemary killed herself when she was eighteen. She wanted to get married but her mother protested, so she went into her brother’s room and shot herself in the head. In later years, Noah and Janet divorced. Pat said Noah’s son Jimmy really did a good job of looking after them. Janet died several years ago.
Arkansas Traveler, Billy in the Lowground, Birdie, Black Bottom, Brandon Kirk, Brushy Fork of John's Creek, Charles Conley Jr., Charlie "Goo" Conley, Charlie Conley, Dixie Darling, Dood Dalton, Down Yonder, Drunken Hiccups, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, fiddle, fiddler, fiddling, Garfield's Blackberry Blossom, Goin' Across the Sea, Handome Molly, Harts Creek, Hell Among the Yearlings, history, I Don't Love Nobody, John Hartford, Logan, Logan County, music, Pickin' on the Log, Stackolee, The Fun's All Over, Twinkle Little Star, West Virginia, Wog Dalton, writing
After a few minutes of downplaying his ability, Charlie had his wife fetch his fiddle from inside the house. With some hesitation, he put it against his chest and took off on “The Fun’s All Over”.
After he’d finished, I asked him if Ed played with the fiddle at his chest and he said no — he put it under his chin.
Charlie played some more for us: “Birdie”, “Stagolee”, “Twinkle Little Star”, and “I Don’t Love Nobody”.
He seemed a little displeased with his playing, remarking, “Boys when your fingers stop working like they used to, you don’t do as you want to. You do as you can.”
Brandon asked Charlie, “Do you remember how Ed pulled his bow when he played?”
“He held it like that toward the middle and just shoved it,” Charlie said. “He played a long stroke. When he’d be playing a long stroke, I’d be a playing a short stroke and every now and then you’d see him turn his head around and listen to ya. If you missed a note, buddy, he called you down right there. ‘That ain’t right,’ he’d say. ‘That ain’t right.’ Man, he’d sit in playing ‘er again just like a housefire.”
I asked, “When Ed would play a tune, how long would he play it for?”
“He’d play as long as they’d dance,” he said.
Would he play it for fifteen minutes?
“No, hell, he’d play for an hour at a time,” Charlie said. “After he finished a tune, he’d hit another’n.”
I wondered if Ed ever played “Down Yonder”.
“Yeah, I’ve heard him play it,” Charlie said. “He played everything in the world, Ed did.”
What if someone asked him to play something he didn’t like?
“He’d shake his head no and he’d play something else,” Charlie said. “That’s just the way he was…he was a stubborn old man. He had one he played he called ‘Handsome Molly’.”
“That’s almost ‘Goin’ Across the Sea’,” I said. “Did Ed play ‘Goin’ Across the Sea’?”
Charlie said, “Yeah, that old woman would sing it.”
I got out my fiddle, hoping to get Charlie’s memory working on more of Ed’s tunes. I played “Blackberry Blossom” and “Brushy Fork of John’s Creek” with little response other than, “Yep, those are some of old man Ed’s tunes.”
Then, when I played “Hell Among the Yearlings”, Charlie caught me off guard by saying, “That’s called ‘Pickin’ on the Log’.”
At that juncture, he took hold of his fiddle and played “Arkansas Traveler” and “Billy in the Lowground”.
I could tell he was loosening up, so I got him to play “Warfield”. It was about the same thing as the Carter Family’s “Dixie Darling”, to which it would be real easy to sing:
Goodbye girls, we’re goin’ to Warfield.
Goodbye girls, we’re goin’ to Warfield.
Goodbye girls, we’re goin’ to Warfield.
Naugatuck’s gone dry.
It was great to watch Charlie because he was the first active fiddler I’d met on Harts Creek.
During our visit, Brandon and I were able to formulate some idea of Charlie’s background. He was born in 1923. His father Charlie, Sr. went by the nickname of “Goo” to distinguish him from his uncle Charlie Conley — the one who’d killed John Brumfield in 1900. Charlie’s earliest memories of fiddling were of watching his father play “some” on old tunes like “Drunken Hiccups”. He also remembered Dood Dalton.
“Yeah, I’ve heard him play,” he said. “I don’t know how good he was, but I’ve heard him jiggle around on the fiddle. He used to come up home. I was raised right up in the head of this creek up here. Him and my daddy was double first cousins and my daddy had an old fiddle. They’d get it out and they’d play on it half of the night — first one and then another playing on it — but I couldn’t make heads or tails of what they was playing.”
Charlie didn’t know that his great-grandfather Wog Dalton had been a fiddler.
Charlie told us a little bit about his early efforts at fiddling.
“My daddy had that old fiddle and I heard him fool with it so much I said to myself, ‘Well, I’ll just see if I can do anything with it.’ And I started fooling with it and the more I fooled with it the more I wanted to fool with it and I just got to where I could play it a little bit.”
Charlie got good enough to fiddle for dances all over Logan County, sometimes getting as much as fifty dollars a night at Black Bottom in Logan.
“You had to duck and dodge beer bottles all night,” he said. “Man, it was the roughest place I ever seen in my life. They’d get their guts cut out, brains knocked out with beer bottles and everything.”
It sounded a lot like my early days back home.
I asked Charlie how he met Ed and he said, “I got acquainted with him up there at Logan when him and his wife played under that mulberry tree there at that old courthouse. And I’d hear about him playing square dances. I was playing over there at this place one time — he was there. This guy had got him to come there and play, too. He just sit down there, buddy, and we set in playing. We fiddled to daylight. People a dancing, I’m telling you the truth, the dust was a rolling off the floor.”
Charlie said the last dance he remembered on Harts Creek was in 1947.
Alton Conley, Big Creek, blind, Blood in West Virginia, Brown's Run, Burl Farley, Charles Conley Jr., Charlie Conley, Clifford Belcher, Conley Branch, crime, Ed Belcher, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, fiddler, fiddling, Green McCoy, Green Shoal, Guyandotte River, Harts Creek, history, John Brumfield, Lincoln County Feud, Logan, Logan County, Milt Haley, Mona Haley, music, Robert Martin, Smokehouse Fork, Warfield, West Virginia, Wirt Adams, writing
From Clifton’s, we went to see Charlie Conley, Jr., a fiddler who lived on the Conley Branch of Smokehouse Fork of Harts Creek. Wirt Adams had mentioned his name to us the previous summer. We found Charlie sitting on his porch and quickly surrounded him with a fiddle, tape recorder, and camera.
When I told him about my interest in Ed Haley’s life, he said Ed played so easy it was “like a fox trotting through dry leaves.”
Charlie said Ed was a regular at Clifford Belcher’s tavern.
“Right there, that’s where we played at on the weekends,” he said. “He used to play there a lot, the old man Ed Haley did. Me and another boy, Alton Conley — he’s my brother-in-law, just a kid… I bought him a guitar and he learned how to play pretty good. He could second pretty good to me, but he couldn’t keep up with that old man. He knowed too many notes and everything for him. The old man realized he was just a kid.”
Charlie told us an interesting story about how Ed came to be blind.
“Milt and Burl Farley, they was drinking where Burl lived down at the mouth of Browns Run. And Ed was just a little baby — been born about a week. Old man Burl said to Milt, ‘Take him out here and baptize him in this creek. It’ll make him tough.’ And it was ice water. He just went out and put him in that creek and baptized the kid and the kid took the measles and he lost his eyes. That’s how come him to be blind.”
That was an interesting picture: Milt and Burl hanging out on Browns Run. We had never really thought about it, but there was a great chance that all the men connected up in the 1889 troubles knew each other pretty well and maybe even drank and played cards together on occasion. For all we knew, Milt may have worked timber for Farley.
Brandon asked Charlie if he knew what happened to Milt Haley.
“They said the Brumfields killed him,” Charlie said. “Him and his uncle was killed over at a place called Green Shoal over on the river somewhere around Big Creek. They were together when they got killed. That was way back. I never knew much about it.”
Obviously Green McCoy wasn’t Ed’s uncle, but I had to ask Charlie more about him.
“All I can tell you is he was old man Ed’s uncle,” he said. “They lived over there on the river, around Green Shoal.”
So Ed was raised on the river?
“No, he lived down here on the creek, right where that old man baptized him in that cold water at the mouth of Browns Run,” Charlie said. “That’s where he was born and raised at, the old man was.”
I guess Charlie meant that Green lived “over there on the river,” which was sorta true.
He didn’t know why Milt Haley was killed, but said, “Back then, you didn’t have much of a reason to kill a man. People’d get mad at you and they wouldn’t argue — they’d start shooting. Somebody’d die. I know the Conleys and the Brumfields had a run in over there on the river way back. Oh, it’s been, I guess, ninety year ago. Man, they had a shoot-out over there and right to this day they got grudges against the Conley people. I’ve had run-ins with them several times. I say, ‘Look man, this happened before my time. Why you wanna fool with me for?’ But they just had a grudge and they wouldn’t let go of it.”
When we asked Charlie about local fiddlers, he spoke firstly about Robert Martin.
“They said Robert was a wonderful fiddler,” he said. “I had a half-brother that used to play a guitar with him when he played the fiddle named Mason Conley. I used to play with his brothers over there on Trace and with Wirt and Joe Adams. Bernie Adams — he was my first cousin. They said Robert was a wonderful fiddler.”
What about Ed Belcher?
“Yeah, Ed was pretty good, but he couldn’t hold old man Ed Haley a light to fiddle by. Belcher was more of a classical fiddler. Now, he could make a piano talk, that old guy could. I knowed him a long time ago. I noticed he’d go up around old man Ed and every oncest in a while he’d call out a tune for him to play. Ed’d look around and say, ‘Is that you, Belcher?’ Said, ‘Yeah,’ and he’d set in a fiddling for him. Maybe he’d throw a half a dollar in his cup and walk on down the street.”
Brandon said to Charlie, “Ed Belcher lived up at Logan, didn’t he?” and Charlie blew us away with answer: “Well now, old man Ed Haley lived up there then at that time. They lived out there in an apartment somewhere. The little girl was about that high the last time I seen her.”
Well, that was the first I heard of Ed living in Logan — maybe it was during his separation from Ella, or maybe there was an earlier separation, when Mona was a little girl.
I asked about a tune called “Warfield” and Charlie said, “That ‘Warfield’ is out of my vocabulary, buddy. I’ve done forgot them old tunes, now.”
Ashland, blind, Cincinnati, Crosley Radio Weekly, Ed Haley, Ella Haley, feud, fiddler, fiddling, Green McCoy, Hamlin, history, Kentucky, Lincoln County Feud, Lincoln Republican, Milt Haley, music, Ohio, West Virginia, WLW
About that time, Brandon found this teeth-rattling article while scanning through microfilm of the Lincoln Republican at the public library in Hamlin, West Virginia. It was titled “Ed Haley and Wife Play for the Radio” and dated Thursday, August 28, 1924.
The Crosley Radio Weekly, published at Cincinnati, Ohio, contains a good picture of Ed Haley and wife, the blind musicians so well known in Hamlin, with an interesting story of Mr. Haley, which we reproduce as follows:
The picture above is that of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Haley, of Ashland, Ky., blind fiddlers, who soon will entertain WLW listeners with a most interesting concert. They have the reputation of being the best old-time music makers of the mountains of West Virginia and Kentucky, making a living for themselves and their three children by playing at dances and county fairs. Mr. Haley is shown playing a fiddle connected with which there is a very interesting story of the old mountain feud days. His father was involved in the famous Brumfield-McCoy feud and was captured by the Brumfields. He was told he was to be shot to death in five minutes, during which time he calmly played his fiddle, the same one his son plays for radio listeners and which he was holding when the above picture was taken. The feudist and a friend was shot to death when the five minutes expired and both their bodies were buried in a wooden box. The fiddle, however, was kept by the Brumfields for some years and later returned to the son of the murdered man.
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Around that time, Brandon and I received confirmation from Doug Owsley at the Smithsonian that he was interested in exhuming the Haley-McCoy grave. Doug gave us instructions on what we needed to do before his office could actually become involved — most importantly, to get permission from the state authorities, as well as from Milt’s and Green’s descendants. We felt pretty good about our chances of getting support from the family but weren’t sure what to expect from “officials.” For some guidance in that department, we called Bobby Taylor and Deborah Basham at the Cultural Center in Charleston, who told us all about exhumation law and codes in West Virginia. They felt, considering the interest of the Smithsonian, that we would have no trouble on the bureaucratic end of things.
Meanwhile, Rounder Records was in the final stages of releasing a two-CD set of Ed’s recordings called Forked Deer. The sound quality was incredible on the re-masters although to the uninitiated ear some of the music still sounded like it was coming from behind a waterfall in a cellophane factory. In addition to Forked Deer, Rounder was slated to release two more CDs of Ed’s music under the title of Grey Eagle in the near future.
I was very excited about all of these tunes getting out because I had fantasies of some “young Turk” fiddler getting a hold of them and really doing some damage.
In July, I called Pat Haley to tell her about the CDs, but we ended up talking more about her memories of Ed.
“I know when we lived in 1040 Greenup — when I first came over here — Pop would play very little. Only if he was drinking and maybe Mona would get him to play. I never knew of Pop ever playing sober. I didn’t hear Pop play too much but then his drinking days were just about over. But Mom would play. They had a mandolin and might have been a banjo and Mom would play a little bit. I didn’t know their brother, Ralph. He passed away, I believe, in ’46 or ’47 and I didn’t come into the family until ’48 — when I met Larry — but we married in ’49.”
Pat and I talked more about Ed’s 1951 death.
“Larry and I lived with Mom and Pop on 2144 Greenup Avenue and little Ralph lived with us,” she said. “Clyde had just come home from San Quentin, and a couple of months before Pop died Patsy was due to have Scott and so she moved into the house with us. Her and Jack had the front living room as their bedroom so that Patsy could be close to the hospital. Scott was born January 4th. My Stephen was born January 27th. We were all in the same house when Pop died. But about three days before Pop died, Clyde decided to rob his mother and came in in the middle of the night and stole her sweeper and radio while we were sleeping and he was picked up by the police and he was in jail when his daddy died. He didn’t get to come to his daddy’s funeral. His mother’s either, actually. He was in a Michigan prison when his momma died.”