Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I believe he was born in 1810. It might cool to filter tributes to him this year with tunes he is credited as writing, or closely adapting as his own. There aren't more than about 10 or 12, are there? Let's toast

 our founding father with some of his tunes.

 

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OK Tim, there's one for you...
Cool. With all the verses even. I think that was one of his earliest ones, wasn't it? I bet he played it solo a lot....standing up and pounding that heel for rhythm.
This was an early song. That is a great image you conjured up, right of the cover of one of his pieces of music. I love the cover on this one.

Look up Ole Tare River on the Levy Collection (http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/)

I'd love to see the gourd banjos that he played, especially the back of them. The back of mine is so slick that I can't stand up and play it without a strap around it. Anyone else have the same experience with a gourd banjo?
Right you are Tim. Joel Walker Sweeney was born in 1810 and died of "Dropsy" on October 29th, 1860. He is buried in a marked grave in the Sweeney family cemetery at Appomattox, VA. His younger brother Richard died in Washington DC in 1859 and is buried in Congressional Cemetery there. Wisht I could play some of Joel Sweeney's music in tribute, but I gotta finish building my banjo first....
It is not actually certain that Joel was born in 1810. In fact, that date comes from his age being reported as 50 when he died in October of 1860. But this date was reported by his Brother In Law, Allen Conner. Joel himself apparently reported in the 1850 census that he was 36 years old (giving him a birthyear of 1814) but then reported in the 1860 census that he was 48 (which would have him born in 1812.) He and Sam both reported their occupation to the census taker as "bangerman."

Hi David,

Great to see you back on!

For all those who don't know, David Wooldridge is the acknowledged historian of the Sweeney Family and works for the museum at Appomattox Courthouse.  We can all benefit from his incredible knowledge of the Sweeney Clan.

Nice to be back "amongst em" Mark. And I hope I didn't come off sounding like a jerk about the whole birthdate thang- I just thought it would give us banjo lovers more chances to celebrate! Cheers!

Mark Weems said:

Hi David,

Great to see you back on!

For all those who don't know, David Wooldridge is the acknowledged historian of the Sweeney Family and works for the museum at Appomattox Courthouse.  We can all benefit from his incredible knowledge of the Sweeney Clan.

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