Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Here is how Fred looked without blackface. He was an alcoholic and would often pawn his stage costumes, particularly his shoes, to buy drinks. Nellie and her daughters would have to go to the pawn shops to buy his costumes back before the show. My grandmother told me that no matter how drunk he was, when he got on stage he could perform without a hitch and no one new of the anxiety he created before the show. Fred died in 1903 at the Dewey Hotel in Springfield, MA of alcohol poisoning. He was only 37.

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Comment by Galen Wilkes on April 12, 2014 at 1:14pm

Amazing, Jonathan, and tragic.

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