Got me wondering, do we know how they would have been tuned at the time? I have the 3 and a half strings down to dDF# A...which is basically G tuning without the fourth string. But so far as I know, there are no descriptions of the actual tunings that far back. Still African, or western?
Heres pics of the banjo, and also the painting that inspired it.
Also, is there a Gourd banjo forum or site?