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Collection Number: 20291

Collection Title: Leland Ledgerwood Collection, 1880-1998

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 71 items)
Abstract Leland Ledgerwood's father, William Lafayette Ledgerwood, was born in Grainger County, Tenn., in 1889. He left Tennessee to work in the coal mines of Virginia, but soon moved to Ohio, where he married Gladys Jane Allen in 1915. In 1916, Ledgerwood formed the string band Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers with his wife, brother Fred, Bill James, and Gerald Flynn. The group performed in and around Warren, Ohio, during the late 1920s. The band eventually included some of Gladys and William Ledgerwood's children, as well as West Virginia fiddler Mack McGraw, who played with the band from the early 1930s to 1937. The band continued to perform throughout northeastern Ohio until the late 1930s or early 1940s. Both William and Gladys Ledgerwood died in Warren in 1962. Fred Ledgerwood died in Warren in 1965. Materials, primarily 1890-1953 and centering around the life and career of country musician William Ledgerwood, include Ledgerwood family genealogical records and photographs; business correspondence and publicity clippings related to Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers; and sound recordings, chiefly of country music. Photographs are largely from William Ledgerwood's childhood and youth in Grainger County, Tenn., and Rutledge, Tenn. Also included are photographs of the original Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers in Warren, Ohio. Band business and publicity materials include correspondence and clippings from newspapers either reviewing or advertising the band's appearances. Sound recordings are primarily home-recorded acetate discs and reel-to-reel tapes, some recorded after the band had stopped performing publicly. The recordings preserve a wide array of traditional country songs performed mainly by members of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers. Included are recordings of William Ledgerwood, Gladys Ledgerwood, and Fred Ledgerwood, as well as other musicians who worked with the band, including Mack McGraw. Also included are three cassette recordings of interviews with Leland Ledgerwood.
Creator Ledgerwood, Leland.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
Use of audio materials may require production of listening copies.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Leland Ledgerwood Collection #20291, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Michael James in April 1998 (Acc. 98095) and Leland Ledgerwood of Warren, Ohio, in October 1998 (Acc. 98225).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online catalogs.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

William Lafayette Ledgerwood, fiddle player and band-leader of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers, was born in Grainger County, Tenn., to John T. Ledgerwood (1869-1937) and Mary Willis Ledgerwood (1871-1922) in 1889. Ledgerwood family history in the United States dates back to 1738, when another William Ledgerwood, born in Ireland in 1701, settled with his family in Augusta County, Va. Eventually, the Ledgerwoods migrated to Tennessee, where William Lafayette Ledgerwood's grandfather David (1816-1888) was born.

William Ledgerwood's family supported itself by growing and selling apples. John Ledgerwood also kept honey bees, which provided the family with some additional income. As a source of enjoyment and entertainment, music was always an important part of Ledgerwood family life. John Ledgerwood was a life-long fiddler, and both William and his younger brother Fred showed an early interest in the instrument. With the help of their father's instruction and their own natural abilities, both boys soon became accomplished musicians.

While still a young man in his early twenties, William Ledgerwood left his family's home in Tennessee to seek work in the coal mines of Virginia. In 1913, at the urging of a friend who had left the mines for a better paying and less dangerous job in the city, William left coal mining and relocated to Warren, Ohio. In 1915, he married Gladys Jane Allen, a pianist from Paulding County, Ohio. The following year, his younger brother Fred arrived in Warren, and the family tradition of music was re-ignited. Family performances were popular with friends and neighbors, and eventually, William formed a small string band including his wife on piano and himself and Fred on fiddles. Non-family members Gerald Flynn on mandolin and Bill James on banjo completed the band. The name Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers was chosen, and the group performed publicly throughout northeastern Ohio during the late 1920s, broadcasting weekly from radio station WKBN in Youngstown, Ohio, from 1927 through 1930.

Over the years, the band went through a few personnel and name changes. At one point, they broadcast from WKBN as the Ledgerwood-Harmison Old Time String Band. Another incarnation of the group included William, Fred, and Gladys Ledgerwood, along with three of Gladys' and William's children. For much of the 1930s, Mack McGraw, a fiddler from West Virginia related to Cowboy Copas, played with the band. Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers enjoyed success throughout their community, eventually altering their string band format by adding a drummer and saxophone players in order to cater to the dance market before eventually disbanding sometime during the late 1930s or early 1940s. Both William and Gladys Ledgerwood died in Warren, Ohio, in 1962. Fred Ledgerwood died three years later in 1965.

The Ledgerwood family music tradition was taken up by Gladys' and William's children and grandchildren. Their eldest son Allen Ledgerwood, who began with the band on banjo and guitar, eventually switched to string bass. During the early years of World War II, Allen performed with a swing band throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. After the war, he relocated from Ohio to Los Angeles, Calif., where he lived and performed with jazz bands until his death in 1984. In addition to their own participation in the family band, younger brothers Lynn and Leland performed as a duo separate from the Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers from 1931 to 1934. Leland Ledgerwood began his musical career as a fiddler, but eventually switched to saxophone. His daughter is a jazz pianist who performs and teaches in New York City.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Materials, primarily 1890-1953 and centering around the life and career of country musician William Ledgerwood, include Ledgerwood family genealogical records and photographs; business correspondence and publicity clippings related to Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers, a string band; and sound recordings, chiefly of country music. Photographs are largely from William Ledgerwood's childhood and youth in Grainger County, Tenn., and Rutledge, Tenn. Also included are photographs of the original Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers in Warren, Ohio. Band business and publicity materials include correspondence from the program director of a local radio station and several clippings from newspapers either reviewing or advertising the band's appearances. Sound recordings, which comprise the largest portion of the collection, are primarily home-recorded acetate discs and reel-to-reel tapes, some recorded after the band had stopped performing publicly. The recordings preserve a wide array of traditional country songs performed mainly by members of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers. Included are recordings of William Ledgerwood, Gladys Ledgerwood, and Fred Ledgerwood, as well as other musicians who worked with the band. One often-featured musician is Mack McGraw, a fiddler from West Virginia and related to Cowboy Copas, who played with the band from the early 1930s to 1937. Also included are three cassette recordings of interviews with Leland Ledgerwood.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Ledgerwood Family Genealogy, 1937-1965.

15 items.

Typewritten copies of various forms of the Ledgerwood family tree of Rutledge, Tenn., Granger County, Tenn., and Warren, Ohio, showing direct lineage from the original American Ledgerwood settler, through members of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers to Leland Ledgerwood and beyond. Also included are original and photocopied newspaper obituaries for John T. Ledgerwood (1869-1937), William L. Ledgerwood (1889-1962), Gladys A. Ledgerwood (1889-1962), and Fred F. Ledgerwood (1899-1965).

Folder 1

Family tree #20291, Series: "1. Ledgerwood Family Genealogy, 1937-1965." Folder 1

Folder 2

Obituaries #20291, Series: "1. Ledgerwood Family Genealogy, 1937-1965." Folder 2

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991.

13 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Image P-3601

Tintype of David Ledgerwood (1816-1888) and wife #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3601

Image P-3602

Tintype of Mrs. David Ledgerwood #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3602

Image P-3603

John T. Ledgerwood (1869-1937), Rutledge, Tenn., ca. 1889-1900 #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3603

Image P-3604

William Ledgerwood (1889-1962), school photograph, Rutledge, Tenn., ca. 1895-1900 #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3604

Image P-3605

John T. Ledgerwood family, Rutledge, Tenn., ca. 1900 #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3605

Image P-3606

William Ledgerwood, Grainger County, Tenn., ca. 1905-1910 #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3606

Image P-3607

John T. Ledgerwood, William Ledgerwood, Maymie Ledgerwood, Richland Sunday School class, Rutledge, Tenn., 15 July 1915 #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3607

Image P-3608

Richland Church congregation, Rutledge, Tenn. #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3608

Image P-3609

John T. Ledgerwood, Mary Ledgerwood, Maymie Ledgerwood, John T. Ledgerwood home, Grainger County, Tenn., ca. 1920 #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3609

Image P-3610

Original Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers, Warren, Ohio, 1928 #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3610

Image P-3611

Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers, Warren, Ohio, 1928 #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3611

Image P-3612

John T. Ledgerwood home, Grainger County, Tenn., 1991 #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3612

Image P-3613

Grave of John T. Ledgerwood and Mary Ledgerwood, Grainger County, Tenn., 1991 #20291, Series: "2. Ledgerwood Family/Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers Photographs, 1880-1991." P-3613

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers and Publicity Materials, 1930 and undated.

11 items.

Two letters from Irma Brundage, "Program Directress" for radio station WKBN in Youngstown, Ohio. One is a general letter of introduction and reference aimed at assisting the band in its efforts to make a record; the other, addressed to William Ledgerwood, pertains to the group's schedule on WKBN.

Also included are original and photocopied newspaper clippings reviewing shows or advertising appearances of the Ledgerwood group, referred to variously as the "Tennessee fiddlers," the "Ledgerwood boys," the Ledgerwood-Harmison Old Time String Band, or the "Tennessee musicians," in and around Warren, Ohio. There is also a placard, issued by the American Federation of Musicians, stating that "Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers are members of the American Federation of Musicians, Local No. 118, Warren, Ohio."

Folder 3

Business correspondence #20291, Series: "3. Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers and Publicity Materials, 1930 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

Newspaper clippings #20291, Series: "3. Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers and Publicity Materials, 1930 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

American Federation of Musicians: Display card #20291, Series: "3. Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers and Publicity Materials, 1930 and undated." Folder 5

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Sound Recordings, 1940s-1998.

37 items.

Arrangement: by format.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s.

28 items.

Primarily home recordings, made during the 1940s, by former members of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers, occasionally accompanied by friends. Discs were recorded in William Ledgerwood's home on a small machine owned by Fred Ledgerwood.

Audiodisc FD-659

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-659

"Rag Ann," "Callidonia"

Audiodisc FD-660

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-660

"Fly Around My Pretty Little Girl," "Callidonia"

Audiodisc FD-661

Ray Conrad and Bud Conrad #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-661

"Sweet Bunch of Daisies"

Audiodisc FD-662

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-662

"8th of January," "Coon Dog"

Audiodisc FD-663

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-663

"Birdie," "Bully of the Town"

Audiodisc FD-664

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-664

"Red Apple Rag," "Walking in My Sleep"

Audiodisc FD-665

Mack McGraw, 2 April 1949 #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-665

"Rubber Doll," "Chicken in the Dough Tray"

Audiodisc FD-666

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-666

"Cumberland Gap," "Birdie"

Audiodisc FD-667

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-667

"Turkey in the Straw," "Stone Rag"

Audiodisc FD-668

Mack McGraw, 6-7 September 1946 #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-668

"Tears on My Pillow," "Arkansas Traveler"

Audiodisc FD-669

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-669

"Brown Button Slippers"

Audiodisc FD-670

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-670

"Old Man I Want Your Daughter"

Audiodisc FD-671

Mack McGraw, 22 August 1947 #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-671

"Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," "Dale Cole"

Audiodisc FD-672

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-672

"Tangle Foot," "Tickle Me to Death"

Audiodisc FD-673

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-673

"I'll Get Along," "Walking in My Sleep"

Audiodisc FD-674

Fred Ledgerwood and Bud Conrad #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-674

"Tennessee Wagoner," "Alice Blue Gown"

Audiodisc FD-675

Fred Ledgerwood and Bud Conrad #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-675

"Rickket Hornpipe"

Audiodisc FD-676

William Ledgerwood #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-676

"Going to Cuba," "Bill Hill"

Audiodisc FD-677

William Ledgerwood #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-677

"Sally Gooden," "Callihan"

Audiodisc FD-678

Forest Smith and Calvin Young #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-678

"When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again," "Truck Driver's Blues"

Audiodisc FD-679

Forest Smith and Calvin Young #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-679

"Goin' Back to Texas," "Nobody's Darling"

Audiodisc FD-680

William Ledgerwood #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-680

"Coon Dog," "Want New Reel"

Audiodisc FD-681

Unknown [possibly professional artists] #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-681

"Blue Eyes," "Green Laurel Waltz"

Audiodisc FD-682

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-682

"Walking the Floor," "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad"

Audiodisc FD-683

Nick Greathouse #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-683

"I'm Walking the Floor" (2 cuts)

Audiodisc FD-684

Fred Ledgerwood and Bud Conrad #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-684

"Goodnight Walk," "Girl I Left Behind"

Audiodisc FD-685

Fred Ledgerwood, 4 December 1943 #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-685

"Stone Rag," "Old Joe Clark"

Audiodisc FD-686

Fred Ledgerwood #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-686

"Johnson Gal" "Callidonia"

Miriam Ledgerwood #20291, Subseries: "4.1. Acetate Discs, 1940s." FD-686

"Nola"

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.2. Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1953.

6 items.

Home recordings by former members of Ledgerwood's Tennessee Fiddlers, primarily made after 1950, occasionally accompanied by friends. The material was recorded in William Ledgerwood's home on his reel-to-reel tape recorder. Included are some copies of professionally recorded songs. Material on FT-8831 and FT-8832 was possibly transferred to reel-to-reel tapes from acetate discs. Logs to these tapes are filed separately in the SFC Field Notes vertical files.

Audiotape FT-8831

William Ledgerwood and Gladys Ledgerwood #20291, Subseries: "4.2. Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1953." FT-8831

"Jeff Davis," "Bill Hill's Dance," "Going to Cuba," "Down Yonder"

Mack McGraw #20291, Subseries: "4.2. Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1953." FT-8831

"Walking in My Sleep"

Audiotape FT-8832

William Ledgerwood and Gladys Ledgerwood, 13 July 1953 #20291, Subseries: "4.2. Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1953." FT-8832

"Jeff Davis," "Bill Hill's Dance," "Going to Cuba"

Audiotape FT-8833

William Ledgerwood, Fred Ledgerwood, Lynn Ledgerwood, Abe Baker #20291, Subseries: "4.2. Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1953." FT-8833

Audiotape FT-8834

William Ledgerwood, Mack McGraw, Abe Baker, Dewey Moyer, 25 August 1942 and 20 September 1953 #20291, Subseries: "4.2. Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1953." FT-8834

Audiotape FT-8835

William Ledgerwood, Fred Ledgerwood, Mack McGraw, Lee Ledgerwood, 22-23 September (year unknown) #20291, Subseries: "4.2. Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1953." FT-8835

Audiotape FT-8836

Fred Ledgerwood #20291, Subseries: "4.2. Reel-to-Reel Tapes, 1953." FT-8836

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.3. Audiocassettes, 1998.

3 items.

Interviews with Leland Ledgerwood conducted by C. Michale James as part of the Fantome Audio Oral History Project.

Audiotape FS-4913

Tape 1, 8 January 1998 #20291, Subseries: "4.3. Audiocassettes, 1998." FS-4913

Audiotape FS-4914

Tape 2, 20 January 1998 #20291, Subseries: "4.3. Audiocassettes, 1998." FS-4914

Audiotape FS-4915

Tape 3, 12 February 1998 #20291, Subseries: "4.3. Audiocassettes, 1998." FS-4915

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Items separated include photographs (P-3601-3613), sound recordings (FT-8831-8836, FD-659-686, FS-4913-4915), and notes to sound recordings (FT-8831-8836).

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Processing Information

Processed by: Ashley Nation, April 2000

Encoded by: Amy Davis, April 2000

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