Ernest Stoneman (#5)



from Reed Martin:

The Stoneman brood was so huge that when each kid got old enough to hold a stringed instrument, they were encouraged to sit and play string music with their parents.   When they moved to Maryland, most all of them played music.  Pop didn’t have any skills except music and carpentry, when he could find work,  so when there was a chance to make a little money, he and the oldest kids would go play music jobs.

Pretty soon the younger kids got to be good musicians, too.  Pretty soon the Stonemans had three bands all within their family.  The “A” band featured Pop with Scotty on fiddle.  If the job did not pay enough to interest the “A” band, then you  got the next oldest musicians, known as the “B” band.   If you had hardly any money at all, you got the kids who were able to play, but not top notch…..the “C” band.

In the history of old time music how many other families had THREE working bands within their own family?

Evidently they got a job to play at some big “do” in Laurel, Maryland.  The “A” band was to sit on a hay wagon and play into microphones.  Somewhere during the evening they took a break, and Pop introduced the band members…….”This is ______, my son on bass, this is my daughter ________on mandolin, this is my daughter________playin’ the banjo…..”

And some guy yells out  “You sure got a lot of kids!”

And Pop yells back, “Hell — hundreds of times we never got nothin’.”


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