Information

Fred Mercer: West Ham United


Born: Unknown

Signed: 1903

Position: Left Winger

Appearances: 8

Goals: 1

Left: 1904

Internation Caps:

Died:

Fred Mercer was a left-winger who mainly played for the West Ham reserve team. His first game was against local rivals, Millwall, on 2nd January, 1904. He was dropped and only regained his place in March, 1904. He played in the next seven games and scored a goal in the 3-1 victory against Northampton Town. Mercer left the club at the end of the 1903-1904 season.


The best bridesmaids: 10 teams that should have been champions

THE STATISTICS suggest that Liverpool 2018-19 are the best-ever nearly men in English football history. Certainly, 97 points is a phenomenal record, but the figures only tell part of the story. Liverpool’s performances, the charisma of Jürgen Klopp and the attacking power of the team will forever be remembered, and not just by Reds’ fans. Putting rivalries aside and taking an objective look at the Liverpool team that marginally fell short, you have to tip your hat in the direction of Anfield and commiserate. It was their misfortune they came up against arguably the best team we have ever seen in the rich heritage of the game in England. There have been some truly outstanding runners-up in the long-running saga that is the title race.

1912-13: Aston Villa

The victorious Aston Villa team: (back row, l-r) Tommy Lyons, Tommy Weston, Sam Hardy (middle row, l-r) George Ramsay, Aston Villa Secretary/Manager, Joe Bache, Harold Halse, Harry Hampton, Clem Stephenson (front row, l-r) Charlie Wallace, Tommy Barber, Jimmy Harrop, Jimmy Leach

In 1913, Villa and Sunderland were the Manchester City and Liverpool of their day. Both teams were chasing the “double” and were pushed by teams like The Wednesday, who were not far behind. Sunderland edged the title by four points – they won three out of four points off of Villa – but Villa won the FA Cup final against Sunderland at the Crystal Palace in front of a record crowd of 121,000. Villa’s team was packed with big names of the era. They had legendary goalkeeper Sam Hardy who joined the club in the summer of 1912 from Liverpool. Harry Hampton was the star turn, however, netting 31 goals in 1912-13. He was nicknamed “the Wellington whirlwind” after the town of his birth. Hampton, like Clem Stephenson, was an England player and one of the leading forwards in the years before WW1. Stephenson would go on to play for Huddersfield, where he had a key role in the Yorkshire club’s hat-trick of league titles in the 1920s.

Villa’s league record:

P W D L F A Pts
1 Sunderland 38 25 4 9 86 43 54
2 Aston Villa 38 19 12 7 86 52 50
3 The Wednesday 38 21 7 10 75 55 49

1923-24: Cardiff City

For the first time in the game’s history, the title was decided by goal average, and Cardiff were denied their first championship success. They went into the final game on top and needing a win to make sure of the top prize. Huddersfield were in second place but needed to win by three clear goals to have a chance of being champions. Cardiff were awarded a penalty in the 70 th minute of their final game at Birmingham City. Top scorer Len Davies, who was not the team’s regular penalty-taker, but his effort was easily saved. Huddersfield were winning 1-0 against Nottingham Forest, so the title, at that point, was still bound for Ninian Park. But two more goals from Herbert Chapman’s side gave the Terriers a 3-0 win and with Cardiff drawing 0-0, Huddersfield won the title by 0.024 of a goal! Cardiff City’s team was captained by Fred Keenor, an uncompromising, hard-tackling player who won more than 40 caps for Wales. Keenor’s statue stands outside Cardiff City’s stadium, holding the FA Cup the Bluebirds won in 1927, the only time the cup has been lifted by a non-English club.

Cardiff’s league record:

P W D L F A Pts
1 Huddersfield T 42 23 11 8 60 33 57
2 Cardiff City 42 22 13 7 61 34 57
3 Sunderland 42 22 9 11 71 54 53

1959-60: Wolverhampton Wanderers

1960: Malcolm Finlayson saves from Aston Villa’s centre-forward Gerry Hitchens (centre) during the FA Cup semi-final held at The Hawthorns. On the right is Wolves left-half Ron Flowers.

Wolves were denied a hat-trick of league titles by Burnley, but the race was edge-of-the-seat stuff. With two games to go, Burnley were level on points with Wolves, who had just one fixture left. Wolves had hammered the young Burnley team 6-1 at Molineux at the end of March. On the final day of the campaign, Wolves won 5-1 at Chelsea, while Burnley drew with Fulham at home. That pushed Burnley down to third place, one point behind Wolves and level on points with Spurs, but they still had to visit Manchester City on May 2. A win would give them their first League Championship since 1921. Burnley won 2-1 to claim the title, leaving Wolves to console themselves with their FA Cup final triumph. The 1959-60 season was the club’s first without legendary skipper Billy Wright, who retired in 1959, but the team was still largely the one that had won the title in 1958 and 1959, though, with players like Eddie Clamp, Ron Flowers, Jimmy Murray and Peter Broadbent lining-up in the old gold shirts.

Wolves’ league record:

P W D L F A Pts
1 Burnley 42 24 7 11 85 61 55
2 Wolves 42 24 6 12 106 67 54
3 Tottenham H 42 21 11 10 86 50 53

1967-68: Manchester United

United could well have won the title on the final day of the season, but their local rivals, Manchester City, won 4-3 at Newcastle United and the reigning champions slipped-up at home to Sunderland. They had been locked in combat with City all season, who had a vibrant young team managed by Joe Mercer. United were distracted by their pursuit of the European Cup, which included difficult ties against Gornik and Real Madrid. They eventually won the Cup at Wembley by beating Benfica 4-1. The result that really cost United the championship was on April 29 when they were beaten 6-3 at West Bromwich Albion, but they had shown signs of vulnerability, losing at home to Chelsea and Liverpool and away at Coventry in the run-in. Despite having George Best in his prime and the experience of Bobby Charlton and injury-prone Denis Law, United would have to wait until 1993 for their next title.

United’s league record:

P W D L F A Pts
1 Manchester City 42 26 6 10 86 43 58
2 Manchester Utd 42 24 8 10 89 55 56
3 Liverpool 42 22 11 9 71 40 55

1970-71: Leeds United

1971: Leeds Utd’s Jack Charlton goes through before scoring past Arsenal’s Bob Wilson at Elland Road.

The battle between Arsenal and Leeds United was attritional, a clash of the ultra-professionals that defined the early 1970s. Leeds, widely considered to be the better team, were eventually beaten-off by an Arsenal side that won the double. Leeds had suffered a heart-breaking season in 1969-70, but once more, they were fighting on all fronts: the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, the league and the FA Cup. Into 1971, they suffered some setbacks. First of all, they were beaten at home by Liverpool in the league and then a week later, they lost 3-2 at Colchester in the FA Cup. There was worse to come, although at the beginning of April, Leeds were six points ahead of Arsenal who had three games in hand. While the Gunners kept chipping away, Leeds drew at Newcastle and then on April 17 came the killer blow. West Bromwich Albion won 2-1 at Elland Road thanks to an “offside” goal from Jeff Astle that sparked a pitch invasion. Leeds’ defeat and an Arsenal win meant the two teams were level on 58 points, but the Londoners had a better goal average. Leeds regained some ground when they beat Arsenal at Elland Road on April 26, thanks to a disputed goal from Jack Charlton. Leeds were tiring and they played four games in eight days to end their domestic campaign. They had 64 points and Arsenal were one point behind on 63 with a game to go – the North London derby with Tottenham, which they won 1-0. Leeds were bridesmaids once more.

Leeds’ league record:

P W D L F A Pts
1 Arsenal 42 29 7 6 71 29 65
2 Leeds United 42 27 10 5 72 30 64
3 Tottenham H 42 19 14 9 54 33 52

1975-76: Queens Park Rangers

QPR manager Sexton was one of the few English coaches who made the effort to attend the World Cup in Germany in 1974 and when he saw the the Dutch and German teams, he was keen to bring the concept of “total football” to England. In 1975-76, QPR were unbeaten until October 4 and from the end of January, QPR went on a superb run that included 11 wins and a draw in 12 games. On March 6, Rangers went top after beating Coventry 4-1 and after overcoming Manchester City 1-0, they were one point ahead of Manchester United and Derby and two in front of Liverpool. They barely put a foot wrong, but when they went to Norwich, they were beaten 3-2, despite outplaying their hosts. It was a costly defeat that sent a signal of hope to the other clear challenger for the title – Liverpool. Rangers ended the campaign with a 2-0 win against Leeds United at Loftus Road. It put them top of the table with 59 points, but Liverpool – one point behind – had one game to play, against struggling Wolves. It ended 3-1 to Liverpool and Rangers finished runners-up. This was a wonderful team to watch, with a solid keeper in Phil Parkes, experience in the form of John Hollins, Frank McClintock and David Webb, a cultured midfield that included Don Masson and Gerry Francis, and the sublime skill of Stan Bowles. But it was, essentially, a one-season side that was so unlucky not to be crowned champions.

QPR’s league record:

P W D L F A Pts
1 Liverpool 42 23 14 5 66 31 60
2 QPR 42 24 11 7 67 33 59
3 Manchester United 42 23 10 9 68 42 56

1980-81: Ipswich Town

1981: Ipswich Town’s Alan Brazil and Arnold Muhren celebrate as teammates Mick Mills and Paul Mariner hug jubilantly

Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town never won a title, despite being contenders on a few occasions, almost always being denied by the size of their squad. In 1980-81, Ipswich were the best team around, but their playing resources were stretched by seeking success on three fronts: the league, the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup. Ipswich had a marvellous, continental-style team, inspired by two Dutchmen in Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijjsen and including England internationals Mick Mills, Terry Butcher, Eric Gates, Paul Mariner and Russell Osman. Added to that were Scots George Burley, Alan Brazil and John Wark. Ipswich had to battle it out with Aston Villa, whom they beat twice in the league and once in the FA Cup. After beating Villa for the third time on April 14, their title bid collapsed as they lost four of their last five games. In the FA Cup, they were beaten at the semi-final stage, going out to Manchester City by 1-0, ironically at Villa Park. But they did win the UEFA Cup, beating AZ Alkmaar 5-4 on aggregate over two games. Villa may have finished champions, but Ipswich won many friends for their commitment to flowing football. How their followers, who have seen the club slump to the third tier of English football, must hanker for the days when an unfashionable club from East Anglia delighted the football world.

Ipswich’s league record:

P W D L F A Pts
1 Aston Villa 42 26 8 8 72 40 60
2 Ipswich Town 42 23 10 9 77 43 56
3 Arsenal 42 19 15 8 61 45 53

1985-86: Everton

Everton and Liverpool were neck-and-neck all season but it was the red half of the city that came out on top in both the league and FA Cup. Everton, defending champions in the first division, were arguably a stronger side than their title winning combination of 1985, thanks to the addition of England striker Gary Lineker, who scored 38 goals in 1985-86, his only season with the club. It was a close-run title race that also included West Ham United, Manchester United and Chelsea and on the final day, the championship could have gone to three clubs. While West Ham won at West Bromwich and Everton trounced Southampton 6-1, Liverpool won the day with a 1-0 victory at Chelsea, with Lineker scoring a hat-trick. Everton and West Ham still had one game to play, against each other, but Kenny Dalglish’s team could not be caught. A few days later, Everton’s agony was complete as they lost an all-Merseyside FA Cup final to Liverpool, despite going ahead through Lineker.
The Everton side was largely the one that won the title in 1985, with Neville Southall in goal, a defence that included Gary Stevens, Kevin Ratcliffe, Derek Mountfield and Pat Van Den Hauwe, a midfield of Peter Reid, Kevin Sheedy, Paul Bracewell and Trevor Steven, and a front two of Lineker and Graeme Sharp.

Everton’s league record:

P W D L F A Pts
1 Liverpool 42 26 10 6 89 37 88
2 Everton 42 26 8 8 87 41 86
3 West Ham Utd 42 26 6 10 74 40 84

1995-96: Newcastle United

1996: Newcastle United’s Faustino Asprilla (left) gets some close attention from Liverpool’s Mark Wright during thier FA Carling Premiership match at Anfield.

Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle were the neutrals’ favourites, a team committed to attack and entertainment. But this flamboyant edge made them vulnerable, particularly to teams that would exploit their somewhat cavalier approach to defending or closing down a game. Keegan’s Newcastle led the Premier League at Christmas 1995 and had a 10-point lead at the top, which extended to 12 points into the new year. However, a run of five defeats in eight games enabled a determined Manchester United, who were rejuvenated by the turn of Eric Cantona from suspension, to overtake them and win the title by four points.The Newcastle approach was encapsulated in a game at Liverpool when the home side beat the Geordies 4-3 after they had led three times.
Newcastle’s team included flair players like David Ginola, Peter Beardsley and, latterly, Faustino Asprilla. Les Ferdinand, a big-money signing from QPR, scored 25 goals in his first season with the club. Other big signings included midfielder David Batty from Leeds and full-back Warren Barton. Newcastle are still waiting for thatfirst title win since 1927.

Newcastle’s league record:

P W D L F A Pts
1 Manchester Utd 38 25 7 6 73 35 82
2 Newcastle Utd 38 24 6 8 66 37 78
3 Liverpool 38 20 11 7 70 34 71

2018-19: Liverpool

With 97 points, one defeat, 30 victories and a lethal forward line that netted 56 goals, Liverpool represent the most prolific of all runners-up. Their only league defeat, unsurprisingly, came at champions Manchester City in Liverpool’s 21 st Premier League game. Jürgen Klopp’s team went top on January 8 (they had led the table early in the season, too) and stayed their until the end of January. Around this time, the Reds drew six times in eight games and this effectively cost them their first title since pre-Premier days. Despite winning their last nine, Liverpool were unable to prevent Manchester City from regaining their crown. Nevertheless, the general consensus was that this had been the most exciting Liverpool team since the club’s glory days. This was underlined by their goalscoring prowess, with Sadio Mané and Mohammed Salah both netting 22 goals and being joint winners of the Golden Boot (along with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang). Roberto Firmino also grabbed 12 league goals. Liverpool’s team also included the outstanding central defender Virgil van Dijk.

Liverpool’s league record:

P W D L F A Pts
1 Manchester City 38 32 2 4 95 23 98
2 Liverpool 38 30 7 1 89 22 97
3 Chelsea 38 21 9 8 63 39 72

Other teams worthy of honourable mention:
Sheffield United (1899-00), Aston Villa (1902-03), Manchester United (1946-47), Wolves (1949-50), Preston North End (1952-53), Leeds United (1964-65), Manchester City (1976-77), Liverpool (1988-89), Manchester United (1991-92) and Chelsea (2007-08).

On 16 occasions, the title has been won by a one point margin, while goal difference has decided two seasons, 1988-89 and 2011-12. In the days of goal average, the slide rule came into play in 1923-24, 1959-40, 1952-53 and 1964-65.

People rarely remember the teams that didn’t win the title, rather like they don’t recall the FA Cup semi-finalists. You get the feeling, however, that the Liverpool team of 2018-19 will stick in the memory longer than most. At least until the Reds win the Premier League for the first time since 1990.


Fred Mercer: West Ham United - History

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June 27 in railroad history: Fred Harvey

Frederick Henry Harvey was born 185 years ago today in London, England. He immigrated to the United States at age seventeen. His first job was as a pot scrubber in a popular Manhattan eatery. He advanced from busboy to waiter to cook, learning the restaurant business from the ground up. In 1856 he married, moved to St. Louis, and opened a restaurant. When the restaurant folded, he began working for the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. In 1865 the Harveys moved to Leavenworth KS.

In the 1870s, Harvey began operating lunch rooms along the Kansas Pacific Railway. In 1876, he received a contract from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe to open a lunchroom in its Topeka KS depot. As the fame of his “Harvey House” grew, the business expanded greatly. In 1882, Harvey began recruiting “Harvey Girls” to staff his chain of restaurants.

The Clifton Hotel in Florence, Kansas was operated as a Harvey House from 1879 to 1900. Parts of the building were relocated and repurposed, first as a private residence, later as a Catholic parsonage, until 1951. Florence Historical Society acquired the property circa 1970 and began to restore it as a museum.

The 1946 motion picture The Harvey Girls (color 102 minutes MGM) starred Judy Garland as a young woman who rode the rails west to marry a man whom she had never met. She ended up working in a Harvey House instead. Harvey’s prim waitresses were portrayed as a civilizing force that tamed the wild west. Composer Harry Warren and lyricist Johnny Mercer won an Oscar in 1947 for their song On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe .

When Fred Harvey died in 1901, his company operated 15 hotels, 47 restaurants and 30 ATSF dining cars. Reportedly, with his dying breath, he admonished his sons, "Don't cut the ham too thin, boys."


Contents

17th (Service Battalion) Edit

During the First World War there had been an initial push by clubs for professional football to continue, in order to keep the public's spirits up. This stance was not widely agreed with and public opinion turned against professional footballers. One soldier, serving in France, wrote to a British newspaper to complain that "hundreds of thousands of able-bodied young roughs were watching hirelings playing football" while others were serving their country. The suggestion was even made that King George V should cease being a patron of The Football Association. [2]

William Joynson-Hicks formed the battalion on 12 December 1914 at Fulham Town Hall after Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, suggested it as part of the Pals battalion scheme. [2] [3] England international Frank Buckley became the first player to join, out of thirty players who signed up at its formation. [2] The formation was announced to the general public on 1 January 1915. [4]

During training, the players were allowed leave on a Saturday to return to their clubs to take part in games. However, the clubs found themselves having to subsidise the train fares as the Army did not pay for them. [2]

By the following March, 122 professional footballers had signed up for the battalion, which led to press complaints as there were some 1800 eligible footballers. [3] These recruits included the whole of Clapton Orient (later to be known as Leyton Orient) – the entire Heart of Midlothian team had signed up for the 16th Royal Scots ('McCrae's Battalion') prior to the formation of the football battalion. [ citation needed ] In addition to footballers, officials and referees also joined the 17th, along with football fans themselves. [2] Many football players deliberately chose to avoid the battalion by joining other regiments, causing the War Office to initially have difficulties filling the battalion. [2]

A number of decorations were issued to the soldiers with the battalion. Lyndon Sandoe, of Cardiff City, was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal with bar, and the Military Medal. [2] Northampton Town's Walter Tull became the first Black infantry officer in the British Army. [ dubious – discuss ] [5] [ better source needed ] The battalion suffered heavy losses, including at the Battle of Delville Wood and the Battle of Guillemont during the Battle of the Somme. [6] During the First World War, the battalion lost more than a thousand men, including 462 in one battle alone at the Battle of Arras in 1917. [3]

The 17th was assigned to the 6th Infantry Brigade, part of the 2nd Infantry Division. [1]

23rd (Service Battalion) Edit

A second football battalion, the 23rd (Service) Battalion was formed in June 1915. [1] Former Tottenham Hotspur and Clapton Orient footballer Alan Haig-Brown was appointed commanding officer in September 1916. [7]

The 23rd was assigned to the 123rd Brigade, part of the 41st Division.

A memorial to the Football Battalion was unveiled in 2010 in Longueval, France. It was attended by members of the Football Supporters' Federation and representatives of more than 20 clubs. It had been paid for through donations received from football supporters having been promoted by former professional footballer and SAS soldier Phil Stant. [8] The ceremony was conducted by Father Owen Beament of Millwall and a two-minute silence was initiated by Gareth Ainsworth. [9]

A granite memorial to the three Clapton Orient players who died in the Battle of the Somme whilst members of the battalion was unveiled in 2011, located in Northern France. Over 200 Leyton Orient supporters travelled for the unveiling, which commemorated the lives of Richard McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott. [10]


Famous People Who Died in 1993

    Joseph Anthony [Deuster], American playwright, actor, and director (Matchmaker, Tomorrow), dies at 80 Mercer McCleod, entertainer, dies of heart failure at 86 Charlie Gehringer, American Baseball Hall of Fame 2nd baseman (Detroit Tigers, 6-time MLB All Star), dies at 89 Jan Zimmer, Slovak composer, dies at 66 Alexander Bodon, Hungarian-Dutch architect (RAI, Dollywood), dies at 86 Kobo Abe, Japanese writer (Wife in the Sand), dies at 68 Maria Vlamynck, Flemish author, dies at 75 Dudley Stevens, English entertainer, dies of AIDS at 57 Thomas A Dorsey, American jazz pianist (Take My Hand, Precious Lord), dies at 93 Keith Laumer [Anthony LeBaron], American sci-fi author (Retief's War), dies at 67 Charles "Majeed" Greenlee, American jazz trombonist (Archie Shepp), dies at 65

Thurgood Marshall

Jan 24 Thurgood Marshall, 1st African American supreme court justice (1967-91), dies 84

    Ugur Mumcu, Turkish journalist and writer (Cumhuriyet Murder), dies at 50 Henry Louis Miller, American Rear Admiral (WW II-Pacific), dies at 80 Axel Von Dem Bussche, German aristocrat, dies Jan Gies, Dutch resistance fighter (helped Anne Frank), dies at 87 Robert Jacobsen, Danish sculptor (large iron sculptures), dies at 80 Jeanne Sauvé, 23rd Governor-General of Canada (1984-90), dies at 70

André the Giant

    Aben Kandel, screenwriter (Dinner at 8), dies of heart failure at 96 John Steadman, American actor (Gator, Fade to Black), dies of a lung ailment at 83 Hank Werba [Herman Werblowski], American journalist (Variety), dies at 79 Michel Renault, French ballet dancer (Giselle), dies at 65 Taikichiro Mori, Japanese real estate developer, dies at 88 Karel Goeyvaerts, Flemish composer (8 Horse Bet), dies at 69

Arthur Ashe

Feb 6 Arthur Ashe, American tennis player (3 Grand Slam singles titles), dies of AIDS related pneumonia at 49

    W Sybout A Colenbrander, Dutch historian/journalist, dies at 82 Casper van den Berg, Dutch poet (Fashionable inconvenience), dies Douglas Heyes, director/writer (Kitten with a Whip), dies at 73 Eliot Janeway, financial columnist (Eliot Doomsday), dies at 80 Franz Schnyder, Swiss director (10th of May), dies at 82 Paul Brickhill, Dutch/US WW II pilot/physician, dies N. Shanmugathasan, Sri Lankan communist leader David Willis, British journalist (BBC World Service), dies at 54 Kate Wilkinson, actress (Clara-Another World), dies of cancer at 76 Nasrullah Mansoor, Afghan guerilla leader/governor of Paktia, dies John Grossman, Czech director (Process, Revisor), dies Maurice Bourges-Maunoury, Prime Minister of France (1957), dies Fred Hollows, New Zealand ophthalmologist (b. 1929) Rip Repulski, American baseball outfielder (MLB All Star 1956 World Series 1959), dies at 64 George A Stephen, inventor (Weber Kettle Grill), dies at 71 Joy Garrett, American actress (Jo Johnson-Days of Our Lives), dies of liver failure at 47 Oksana Kostina, Russian gymnast, dies in an auto accident James Bulger, English child abducted, tortured and beaten to death at 2, by 10 year old boys Agatha Hagtingius-Seger, Dutch author (Sparkles Chain), dies at 91

Albert Sabin

Mar 3 Albert Sabin [Abram Saperstein], Polish American physician who invented the oral polio vaccine, dies of heart failure at 86

    Carlos Montoya, American flamenco guitarist (Suite Flamenco 1966), dies at 89 Cyril Collard, French composer/dir/actor (A Nos Amours), dies at 35 Carlos Marcello, Tunisian-born gangster (b. 1910) Art Hodes, Russ/US jazz/blues pianist/editor (Jazz Record), dies Richard Sale, writer/director (Oscar, Torpedo Run), dies at 80

Helen Hayes


Northampton Town Football Club, nicknamed the Cobblers were founded on 6th March 1897, when a group of local school teachers got together with the well known local solicitor, AJ "Pat" Darnell in the Princess Royal Inn, Wellingborough Road, Northampton to form the town's first professional football club. Problems were encountered before a ball was kicked, when the rugby club objected to the club name Northampton Football Club. Arbitration was sought at the Football Association and the club were to be called Northampton Town Football Club.

Northampton Town Football Club joined the Northants League (U.C.L.), and spent just two seasons there during which time they recouped their first transfer fee, £50 from Derby County for Frank (Wall) Howard, who was club's first professional player, and later became a gateman at the County Ground! The Cobblers won the Championship in only their second season. This was followed by a further two seasons in the Midland League, before joining the Southern League in the 1901-02 which saw the club's heaviest defeat recorded, 11-0 to Southampton. On a brighter note the F.A. Cup first round proper was reached for the first time, a game which was lost 2-0 to league side Sheffield United in front of a lock-out crowd of 15,000, the gate receipts totalling £399.

National headlines were made in October 1902, when a 1-0 win was recorded over Portsmouth at Fratton Park, this was Portsmouth first ever defeat at Fratton Park, after an incredible 66 matches. The going was tough to start off with in the Southern League and the Cobblers twice finished bottom, mainly due to players being snapped up by league clubs, who were able to pay better wages.

During the 1904-05 season, Northampton used their first substitute in a friendly game against Port Vale. Len Benbow was injured, and permission was granted for him to be replaced by Herbert Chapman, who became the first ever manager at the club, on a player/manager basis. His appointment was certainly a wise one, with the contact had built up he was able to persuade many ex-professionals to join the club and was responsible for the club paying their first transfer fee, £400 to Stoke City for Welsh International Edwin Lloyd Davies who still has the record number of international caps won (12) and was the oldest player to play for the club (42). The transformation was incredible, within two years Northampton were champions of the Southern League (1908-09) and met Newcastle United in the Charity Shield, losing 2-0 at The Oval.

1909-10 saw the Cobblers achieve their two biggest wins in the Southern League, 11-1 against Southend United and 10-0 against Croydon Common, they went on to to finish 4th that season and followed that up by finishing runners-up to Swindon Town in 1910-11.

October 1911 saw the Cobblers sign their first black player, Walter Tull from Tottenham Hotspur who incidentally was the league's first black outfield player. During his first season he played as a forward and scored 9 goals from just 12 games, including four in a 5-0 win over Bristol Rovers. He went on to play 110 games for the club, mainly as a wing half, before he died in the second battle of the Somme in the first World War where he was Britain's first black army officer. On July 11th 1999, over eighty years after his death, an 8 foot high marble memorial was unveiled at Sixfields Stadium.

By the start of the 1912-13 season Herbert Chapman had left Northampton for Leeds, he then went on to to Huddersfield Town, winning two league championships and setting them up for a third before joining Arsenal, where he again won two league titles before he died in 1934.

After the war and the resumption of Southern League football in 1919-20, the Cobblers conceded 103 goals which is the only season to date that the club have conceded over 100 goals, however re-election was avoided by three points and they were ready to start life as a Football League club, joining Division Three (South). On Christmas Day 1920 the Cobblers won 5-2 at Gillingham, the next away league win was not achieved until September 6th 1922, a 3-0 win at Gillingham (again!) a run of 33 away matches without a win. 1922-3 saw the club become a public company and 8,000 shares at £1 were released, a then record crowd of 18,123 was recorded for the Plymouth match on Boxing Day and gate receipts for the first time exceeded £1,000.

1923-24 started with the club rasing £5,000 to build a stand with players tunnel underneath and also improved terracing was installed in the Hotel End. In 1924-25 and incredible an unenviable record was set when 9 penalties were missed during the course of the season, which also saw the formation of the Supporters Club. The following 1925-26 season witnessed the club's first foreign transfer, ex-Scarborough player William Shaw was signed from Spanish side Barcelona, having scored 31 goals from 38 games the previous season.

1927/28 saw a record Division Three (South) victory, (10-0 against Walsall) which helped ensure that 102 league goals were scored that season finishing 2nd, behind Millwall. On Boxing Day, there the club entertained Luton Town at the County Ground, and at half time were trailing 5-1, however the second half proved to be more successful for the home side who put five past their visitors to win the match 6-5. Spare a thought for Luton's Jimmy Reid, who despite scoring four goals still finished on the losing side. A new ground record was set for the F.A. Cup third round replay with Sunderland, 21,148 turned up to see the Cobblers lose 3-0.

Disaster occurred at the County Ground during December 1929, when a fire destroyed Stands A, B and C, of which the damage was estimated at £5,000, only Stand D was saved although this was charred. The source of the fire was thought to be in the away dressing room, the Cobblers had earlier entertained AFC Bournemouth reserves. The stand had been re-built by February 1930.

1932-33 created history when brothers Fred and Albert Dawes both scored in an 8-0 win over Newport County. The latter finished the season scoring 32 league goals, 5 FA Cup goals, and even scored all 4 in a 4-0 win over the Dutch national side whilst the club was on tour. In 1933-34 the free scoring Albert Dawes was sold to Crystal Palace for a then club record fee of £1,650, and the FA Cup fifth round was reached for the first time courtesy of a fourth round win away to Huddersfield Town who at the time were top of Division One, not bad for a mid table Division Three (South) side. The Cobblers finally bowed out to Preston North End 4-0 at Deepdale, setting a new ground record crowd of 40,180.

New manager, ex-England International Syd Puddefoot joined the club prior to the end of the 1934-35 season and helped the club win nine out of their remaining twelve fixtures. The following 1935-36 season, the club broke their record transfer fee when they bought James Bartram from Falkirk for £1,000. However, this was later offset by another record transfer fee received again from Crystal Palace, this time £3,000 for Fred Dawes, the brother of Albert who was transferred two seasons earlier.

In the three seasons prior to the breakout of World War II, the Cobblers finished 7th, 9th and 17th respectively in Division Three (South), while in 1938 the Cobblers signed John Parris from Luton Town who was the first ever black player to play for Wales. In the final match prior to the War, the Cobblers travelled to Dean Court and lost 10-0 to Bournemouth, the club's record League defeat. During the war the Cobblers had the record for the first transfer fee received during the hostilities when Bobby King was sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a substantial four-figure fee.

After the War, the club finished 13th in Division Three (South) with Archie Garrett scoring 26 league goals before joining Birmingham City for a then club record of £10,000 during the early part of the following 1947-48 season. A player who would go on to become the club's all time leading scorer joined the club, his name was Jack English, the son of Jack English, former manager between 1931-35, also arriving was a certain Mr Dave Bowen, who would go on to have a very long association with the Cobblers and also become the manager of Wales.

In 1948-49, the club thankfully avoided re-election on goal difference, but the following 1949-50 season, the club's fortunes had changed dramatically for the better and runners-up spot was achieved behind Notts County. The Cobblers also reached the 5th round of the FA Cup, creating new attendance records, firstly at the County Ground, when 23,209 were present in the third round tie with Southampton and secondly 38,063 turned up at the Baseball Ground in Derby, where the home side ran out 4-2 winners. Cup success continued the following season when the Cobblers reached the 4th round, this time losing 3-2 away to Arsenal in front of a mammoth crowd of 72,408, the highest crowd that any Cobblers team has played in front of.

In 1952-53 Northampton Town Football Club finished 3rd in Division Three (South), just two points behind the winners, Bristol Rovers. The Cobblers scored 109 goals in the process.

1957-58 was the Cobblers last season in Division Three South, which also saw an amazing FA Cup third round 3-1 win at home to Arsenal, and then losing by the same scoreline to Liverpool at Anfield. The Cobblers finished the season 13th, just one place below the cut off point and were elected to Division Four.

However, the club's stay in the Fourth Division only lasted for three seasons, the £7,000 re-arrival of Dave Bowen from Arsenal, in 1959 as player manager was to be the start of a truly remarkable decade. The Cobblers finished 3rd in Division Four in 1960-61 and were promoted to Division Three, incidentally, this was the season that club first had floodlights installed and also saw the first league encounters with local rivals Peterborough United.

1961-62 saw Laurie Brown transferred to Arsenal for £35,000 and the Cobblers finish 8th in Division Three with Cliff Holton scoring a club record 36 league goals that season. Tommy Fowler played the last of his record breaking 552 games for the club in the 2-2 home draw with Lincoln City.

In 1962-63 the Cobblers were crowned champions of the Third Division scoring 109 goals. Five players reached double figures, the top scorer was Alec Ashworth with 25 league goals in just 30 matches, he was then transferred to Preston North End in the close season for an estimated £20,000. Frank Large joined the club in the March from QPR, beginning the first of three spells with club in which he scored 96 goals in just over 250 appearances.

1963-64, the Cobblers signed Bobby Hunt from Colchester United for £25,000 and finished 11th in Division Two. The following season saw Northampton Town finish Division Two runners-up by just one point behind Newcastle United. Cobblers goalkeeper, Bryan Harvey saved seven penalties during the season, including two in one match against Southampton, which were taken by Terry Paine, England's penalty taker at the time.

1965-66 is the only season that the Cobblers have ever spent in the top flight of English football. A County Ground record of 24,523 supporters witnessed the penultimate home Division One fixture with Fulham which was lost 4-2 and relegation followed shortly to Division Two, which prompted Manchester City Manager Joe Mercer to state "The miracle of 1966 was not England winning the World Cup, but Northampton reaching Division One". Barry Lines made history by becoming first player to play and score in all four divisions for the same club. A new transfer record was set, when the club paid £27,000 to take Joe Broadfoot from Ipswich Town. Incidently, the Cobblers only double that season was against Aston Villa, and therefore as our paths have never crossed since then in the league, they are the only club that we have a 100% record against, Played 2, won 2!

1966-67 was another season to end in relegation, this time to Division Three. It was hard to fathom out why the club was relegated, perhaps the twelve cartlidge operations played a large part. In 1967-68 the club just managed to avoid relegation to the Fourth Division, finishing 18th. By 1968-69 the cycle was complete and the Cobblers finished 21st, despite having an outside chance of promotion with 10 games to go, and were relegated to the basement division. Rising from top to bottom and back down again, just as quickly, all in the space of a decade.

In 1969-70 the Cobblers played a staggering nine matches in the F.A. Cup, which culminated in a fifth round 8-2 home thrashinng by Manchester United. The genius George Best scored a double hat-trick, coming off the back of a six week suspension!

For the first time since becoming a league side the club had to apply for re-election in 1971-72, thankfully they finished the most favoured club with 49 votes, closely followed by Crewe Alexandra and Stockport County with 46 votes. However, re-election had to be applied for again the following season when this time 43 votes were gained. A strange occurrence of the season saw the biggest gate of the season recorded for a match which did not involve the Cobblers, 11,451 turned up to see Birmingham's Trevor Francis score the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Luton Town in the League Cup second round second replay!

In 1974-75, a star of the future was sold, after 200 games in the claret colours of the Cobblers, Liverpool purchased Phil Neal for a then club record fee of £65,000, whilst playing in the same side of another future England international, John Gregory.

In 1975-76, the Cobblers finished 2nd in Division Four without losing a home game, and were promoted to Division Three behind Champions Lincoln City, who were also undefeated at home. Every regular player scored during the season, including the goalkeeper, Alan Starling, who netted from a penalty in the penultimate home game against Hartlepool United. On the downside Gary Mabee was forced to retire from football through injury at just 20 years old, he had scored 13 goals the previous season.

1976-77 brought relegation back to Division Four, the season started with ex-Manchester United Assistant Manager, Pat Crerand in charge, however his resignation was accepted following a 2-0 defeat at Brighton just into the new year. No new manager was appointed, instead a committee was formed consisting of the Chairman, the coach and three senior players.

Both the incoming and outgoing transfer records were broken during the 1979-80 season, prior to the start of the season George Reilly was sold to Cambridge United for a then record of £165,000, he had been the club's top scorer for the previous two seasons whilst winger Mark Heeley was bought from Arsenal for £33,000. New floodlights were installed in time for the 1980-81 season, but they failed during the first match against Southend United and the game had to be abandoned. There was also little success on the pitch, the club finished 10th, and the following season matters worsened when the club finished 22nd and again had to apply for re-election, which was successful.

1982-83 brought a little improvement, 15th position was achieved, with Bristol City being the unlucky opponents when the club put seven goals past them on a Sunday afternoon. The reward for beating Wimbledon and Gillingham in the FA Cup was a lucrative home tie with Aston Villa, which a full house of just under 15,000 witnessed a superb goal by Mark Walters, who later went on to play for England, to give Aston Villa a 1-0 victory.

The club seemed anchored to bottom section of the Fourth Division, finishing 18th in 1983-84, where 16 year old Aidy Mann became the club's youngest player and 23rd in 1984-85, which included the lowest ever league attendance at the County Ground. A mere 942 diehard supporters turned up to watch the Cobblers lose 2-0 at home to Chester City, the only ever league attendance under 1,000. The club appointed Graham Carr, an ex-player, to manage the club for the final seven games of the 1984-85 season which produced six wins and a draw.

Graham Carr was relishing his first Football League management position and prior to the start of the 1985-86 season he bought in several players from the non-league in addition to a number of quality league players which was the tonic that the club needed and 8th position was gained. The club won a cash prize for being the first in the country to score 50 league goals, which was achieved before Christmas. The County Ground lost the main stand, which had been condemned following the fire at Bradford City, a small stand was erected which was nicknamed the "Meccano Stand" due to the amount of scaffolding that surrounded it.

The Cobblers picked up where they had left off the previous season and the 1986-87 Fourth Division title was emphatically won, gaining a club record total of 99 points and scoring 103 goals, 29 of them by Richard Hill, who was transferred in the summer of 1987 to Watford for a club record fee of £265,000. The club adjusted to life in Division Three quickly and just missed out on a play-off place despite finishing 6th. The then record signing Tony Adcock was signed from Manchester City as part of an exchange deal for Trevor Morley, Adcock's value was £85,000.

The 1988-89 season saw the Cobblers struggle, after Eddie McGoldrick joined Crystal Palace for £200,000. The following season the club were relegated to Division Four, but did manage an FA Cup upset by beating Coventry City in the third round, 1-0 with then record gate receipts of £47,292. In 1990/91 the club looked on course to return to the Third Division at the first attempt, they were top of the table in February, but with only 3 wins coming in the final 18 games, the club finished a disappointing 10th.

Things worsened for the club financially, and they went into administration in April 1992, with debts of around £1,600,000, ten of the club's players were sacked and youth players were drafted in to make up the numbers, needless to say the results did not improve. These unhappy events sparked the formation of the Northampton Town Supporters Trust, which has a shareholding in the club.

History was made at the County Ground in the match with Hereford United in September 1992, United finished the match with only seven players, four had been sent off, but despite this obvious disadvantage the match ended 1-1. It was a sign of things to come and the club needed to win the final game of the season to avoid being relegated to the Conference. Over 2,500 fans made the trip to Shrewsbury Town and were distraught at half-time with home club leading 2-0. What happened after the interval was nothing short of a miracle, the game finished 3-2 in favour of the Cobblers, the winner being a fortuitous goal which came off of the incoming Pat Gavin and rolled into the net following an attempted clearance from the goalkeeper.

Despite the warning bells from the previous season, the Cobblers finished bottom of the Football League in 1993-94, the only time in the club's history that they have finished bottom of any division since joining the Football League. Relegation was only escaped due the Conference Champions, Kidderminster Harriers not meeting the necessary ground criteria.

Tuesday 12th October 1994 was the last ever match at the County Ground, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mansfield Town. This was the start of a new era, Northampton Town Football Club moved to Sixfields Stadium and a capacity crowd on Saturday 15th October 1994 witnessed the first match at the new stadium, a 1-1 draw with Barnet. The first player to score at the new stadium was Martin Aldridge. The change of ground did not change the club's fortunes, and by Christmas the club were in danger of finishing bottom again.

In a desperate attempt to climb away from the foot of the table the manager John Barnwell was replaced by Ian Atkins, he set about his task quickly and had guided the club to 17th by the end of the season.

In his first full season in charge improvement was made and 11th position was achieved, with only 44 goals conceded from 46 games. Jason White was acquired for £35,000 from Scarborough and finished the season as top scorer with 16 goals. The League Cup 1st round, 2nd leg at home to West Bromwich Albion produced record gate receipts of £52,373. Promotion parties for both Preston and Gillingham were put on hold as the Cobblers won at Deepdale and held Gillingham to a draw, in addition to beating Wigan at Springfield Park in the final match of the season to deny them a play-off place.

1996-97 saw the Cobblers appear at Wembley for the first time in 100 years, beating Swansea City 1-0 in the play-off final in front of 46,804 (32,000 Northampton supporters!) with John Frain scoring the winning goal from a free kick deep into injury time, which added to the club's centenary celebrations. Again, only 44 goals were conceded from 46 games which resulted in Town finishing 4th. Record gate receipts of £59,464 were recorded for the play-off semi-final with Cardiff. Neil Grayson top scored with 12 goals which included the fastest ever hat-trick from a Cobblers player, in just five minutes against Hartlepool United.

1997-98 again saw a Wembley appearance, this time in the Division Two play-off final which was lost 1-0 to third placed Grimsby Town in front of a then record 62,998 crowd, including over 42,000 Northampton supporters. Just 37 goals were conceded from 46 league games, the lowest total since joining the Football League. David Seal was bought from Bristol City for a club record £90,000 in at the start of the season and finished top scorer with 14 league and cup goals, in addition he was also the leading goalscorer for the reserves with 12 goals from 10 games which helped them win the Reserve League. The club's average attendance of 6,392 was the highest since the 1975/76 season.

1998-99 was a season littered with injury problems, no fewer than 16 players suffered from long term injuries, which completely decimated the squad from start to finish. On the final day of the season the Cobblers were unfortunately relegated to Division Three, despite being undefeated in the last 9 games of the season. On the positive side a memorable 2-1 aggregate win was recorded over West Ham United in the Worthington Cup before bowing out to eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur 3-1, after taking the lead. The match produced then record receipts of £102,979, a figure that was overtaken by the January 2004 FA Cup 4th round tie with Manchester United. The club was awarded the enterprise award from the Avon Insurance Combination Reserve League, for efforts in promoting reserve team football locally and nationally. The club's transfer record was broken for the second successive season, £90,000 was paid to Hartlepool United for Steve Howard, with up to another £45,000 due on appearances and goals.

1999-2000 season saw the club bounce back to Division Two, finishing third and claiming the third automatic spot for promotion, after a run of 6 consecutive wins in the final 6 matches made outright promotion possible. Ian Atkins parted company with the club in October following an indifferent start to the season, his assistant, Kevin Wilson and coach, Kevan Broadhurst, took joint charge for the remainder of the month. Kevin Wilson was appointed manager at the start of November and recorded four wins and a draw in his first month in charge, earning him the Division Three manager of the month award, he followed that up in April with his second manager of the month award. Personal success was achieved by Ian Hendon, who was voted in the PFA team of the season for Division Three.

Promotion to the higher division allowed the club to make changes to the playing staff over the summer, something it hadn't done during the season. Carlo Corazzin, Sean Parrish and Simon Sturridge were allowed to leave on free transfers and Marco Gabbiadini (Bosman), Christian Hargreaves (Bosman) and Jamie Forrester (a then club record signing at £150,000 from FC Utrecht) were brought in as replacements. The Cobblers made a good start to life in Division Two and flirted with the play off's during the early part of the campaign before slipping away to finish a disappointing 18th. A series of injuries after Christmas depriving the club of a number of the senior players and stretching the already paper thin squad.

The club bought in Gerard Lavin, Daryl Burgress, Paul McGregor, Derek Asamoah and loan players Sam Parkin, Rob Wolleaston and Ian Evatt at the beginning of the campaign but a crippling injury crisis saw the Cobblers make a disappointing start to the new season. Kevin Wilson was relieved of his duties at the end of September 2001 following a 3-1 home defeat against Blackpool. Shortly afterwards Kevan Broadhurst was appointed as Caretaker Manger and following an upturn in the club's fortunes he was confirmed as full time manager in October 2001. His task was immediately made harder by news of a transfer embargo, one that would run for the course of the season, preventing him from strengthening what was already one of the smallest squad in the entire Football League. Mixed fortunes were experienced in the remainder of the year but things were to improve greatly in 2002. Despite finding themselves nine points adrift of safety in mid-January a remarkable run of promotion form, with only one defeat at Sixfields, saw the Cobblers secure their safety with a game to spare. Mission impossible had been accomplished and Northampton Town finished a remarkable five points above the relegation zone.

Over the summer Kevan Broadhurst managed to strengthen the squad with eight new faces. He managed to compliment experienced players like Lee Harper, Paul Rickers, Nathan Abbey, Paul Trollope and Jerry Gill with promising youngsters Darryn Stamp, Greg Lincoln and Paul Harsley. The season was little over a month old when the club was forced to launch a 'Save our Season' campaign in a bid to see out the remainder of the year. The SOS appeal was required after the collapse of ITV Digital and much publicised takeover attempts by John Fashanu and Giovanni Di Stefano had failed and left the club with a big deficit to make up in the budgets. Supporters rallied and managed to raise over £230,000 to keep the club afloat with a string of fundraising events, the total was still some way short of the target of half a million pounds which was required by the end of January. In December 2002 a consortium headed by Andrew Ellis took a majority shareholding in the club and Chairman Barry Stonhill stood down. On the pitch the side had made a reasonable start to the season but suffered from a lack of consistency. In November 2002 Kevan Broadhurst had been pipped to the Manager of the Month award by Wigan's Paul Jewell, but a disastrous run of results followed which ultimately cost him his job in January 2003. He was replaced by former England, Spurs and QPR defender Terry Fenwick, who had previously managed Portsmouth. Terry's spell in charge of the side proved to be the eighth shortest managerial reign in English football history, after a winless spell of seven games he was relieved of his duties and replaced by Martin Wilkinson as Caretaker Manager for the remainder of the season. The change could not keep the Cobblers in Division 2, but Martin was appointed permanent manager in April 2003.

Colin Calderwood replaced Martin in October 2003 with the Cobblers are looking to bounce back to League 1 (Division 2) as soon as possible. May 2004 saw the club suffer play off heartbreak with a penalty shoot out semi final defeat, and 12 months later similar heartbreak followed with a 1-0 play off semi final at Southend (again a penalty).

The claret and white juggernaut began to move in 2005/2006, with the club securing automatic promotion to League One. A 1-0 victory over Chester at Sixfields on April 29 2006 saw wild celebrations begin. A squad with a backbone of strength and experience in the shape of Sean Dyche, Ian Taylor, Eoin Jess and Scott McGleish had steered the Cobblers away from the clutches of League Two.

However, just as the celebrations died down, Calderwood decided to accept the position of Nottingham Forest's new manager, meaning John Gorman would lead Northampton Town in to League One. Gorman resigned for personal reasons in December 2006, with Stuart Gray his replacement.

In his first full season (2007/2008), Gray led the Cobblers to a top half finish in League One, a final placing only bettered twice in the previous 41 years. Sadly that success was not sustained the following season, with a last day defeat at Leeds condemning the club to relegation back to League 2. The 2009/10 season started with the team struggling to find consistency, and Gray left his post in early September 2009. His successor was club legend Ian Sampson, the club's second highest appearance maker of all time, who was appointed after a spell in caretaker charge. In September 2010 he oversaw one of the biggest results in the club's history, beating Liverpool at Anfield in the Carling Cup. Sampson left the club in March 2011 after 17 years service as player, coach and manager. He was replaced by the former Yeovil Town, Bristol City and Peterborough United boss Gary Johnson on a two and a half year contract. A win over Stevenage in the penultimate game of the season secured the club's Football League status. Johnson left the club by mutual consent in November 2011.

Aidy Boothroyd was named as Johnson's replacement, and he arrived with assistant Andy King, steering the club to safety in 2011/12. He enjoyed a fine first full season, leading the team to a Wembley play off final where they sadly lost to Bradford City in front of more than 47,000 fans. In July 2013 Coventry City Football Club agreed a 3 year deal to play their home games at Sixfields on a temporary basis before returning to their home city a year later. Boothroyd left Sixfields in December 2013 after a 4-1 home loss to Wycombe Wanderers meant that the Cobblers spent Christmas 2013 at the foot of the Football League. Chris Wilder was appointed his replacement in January 2014, assisted by Alan Knill. Wilder kept the club up after a successful battle against relegation thanks to a 3-1 win over Oxford United on the final day of the season. His first full season at Sixfields saw the Cobblers secure a mid-table finish.

David Cardoza left the club in November 2015, to be replaced as Chairman by Kelvin Thomas and after a remarkable season, that included 10 successive wins, the Cobblers were promoted back to League 1 on April 9 2016 after a 2-2 draw with Bristol Rovers at Sixfields. They secured the club's first title for 29 years the following week, winning League 2 after a 0-0 draw at Exeter City. After ending the season with a joint club record 99 points, and on an unbeaten run of 24 matches without defeat, Chris Wilder left Sixfields to take over at Sheffield United. His replacement was Port Vale boss Rob Page, the former Welsh international defender, in May 2016. The Cobblers entertained Jose Mourinho's Manchester United side at Sixfields in the EFL Cup in September 2016, and an Alex Revell equaliser pegged United back to 1-1 and saw them rocking in the tie. However, United recovered to win 3-1 and went on to lift the EFL Cup at Wembley. Page left the club in January 2017. Justin Edinburgh was named as his successor a few days later.

Justin Edinburgh departed the club at the end of August 2017 and was replaced early the following month by the former Athletico Madrid, Chelsea and Leeds United striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Hasselbaink left the club in April 2018 as the Cobblers were relegated to League 2 the following month. His former assistant Dean Austin oversaw an improvement in both performances and results while in caretaker charge and was handed the job on a full time basis in May 2018. After a difficult start to 2018/19, Austin left the club in September 2018. His replacement was the former Carlisle United boss Keith Curle.

Curle led the Cobblers to promotion in his first full season in charge. The play offs were played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the semi final first leg against Cheltenham Town saw the Robins win 2-0, but a stunning comeback in the second leg saw Northampton Town win 3-0 to progress to Wembley. Again behind closed doors, the Cobblers beat Exeter City 4-0 to return to League 1. Keith Curle and his assistant Colin West left the club in February 2021. Jon Brady took over, initially on a caretaker basis, before being appointed the permanent manager in the summer of 2021 as the Cobblers geared up for the 2021/22 League 2 campaign.


Arsenal’s last game outside the top flight – 100 years ago today

On 24 April 1915 Arsenal played their last game outside of English football’s top flight. No other team has gone as long as Arsenal since their last game in a lower division in England. However, the time and circumstances surrounding this last game are not simple.

Here are the whys and wherefores.

The 1914-15 football season had started under a cloud. Britain had declared war on Germany a month before the season started, and hostilities would escalate into what became World War One. At the start of the season, the war was expected to be over by Christmas. For this reason, the football authorities decided to continue with the League and FA Cup competitions.

For one team, though, the outbreak of war saw them fold. Woolwich FC had been formed following Woolwich Arsenal’s move to Highbury in 1913. They rented the Manor Ground from Woolwich Arsenal and played the 1913-14 season in the Kent League and FA Amateur Cup. In late August 1914 the directors of the club decided that it would not be possible to continue and they disappeared forever.

The Manor Ground would eventually by bought by the Government and was swallowed up by the Royal Arsenal, eventually becoming the site of a fuse factory. Quite poignant and ironic that it should become part of the organisation that had been the employer of the club’s founders 28 years earlier.

Having narrowly missed promotion in 1913-14 The Arsenal, as they had become in 1914, were hopeful of making a quick return to the First Division. After nine games they topped the table, and Harry King was terrorising opposition defences with ten goals. However, an inconsistent run saw them enter the New Year down in fourth place. A run of four wins brought them back into contention but, once again, a lack of consistency saw promotion become unattainable following a 0-1 defeat at Hull on 2 April, consigning the Gunners to another season in the Second Division.

Another concern for the directors was the falling attendances due to men signing up to fight in the war and a degree of ill-feeling towards the game continuing with conflict raging. Only two home games attracted crowds of more than 20,000 whereas 14 games had passed this mark the previous season. Prior to the last game of the season it was announced that gate receipts were down £5,000 from the previous season’s £13,000. With the high costs of building Highbury and the War looking like it was going to go on for a while, financially things didn’t look good.

On 13 April, with two games remaining, Arsenal parted company with manager George Morrell by mutual consent. Having been told that the staff would not be retained at the end of the season due to the war, he decided to leave early and he returned to Scotland to eventually manage Third Lanark.

The Sportsman 16 April 1915

Reserve team coach James “Punch” McEwen was put in charge of team affairs for the remaining fixtures. The first game resulted in a 0-3 drubbing by second place Preston, which guaranteed them promotion.

Kentish Independent 23 April 1915

On 24 April 1915, The Arsenal played host to lowly Nottingham Forest. A crowd of about 10,000 gathered at Highbury without realising they were about to watch a historic game. And boy were they in for a treat. And so are you – here is the programme for the game for you to read. Click on the picture of the cover of the programme to read it.

Caretaker manager McEwen made a number of changes for this final game. Captain Percy Sands was moved into the defence from his usual midfield position, the midfield itself was completely changed, Jock Rutherford returned to the right wing but the biggest shock was left-back Bob Benson appearing at centre-forward! This wasn’t too much of a shock for fans of the reserve team, though, as this experimental forward line had been trialled against Boscombe five days earlier with Benson scoring twice.

Playing up front for Forest, in his final ever game at this level was former Arsenal favourite Tim Coleman. During a six year spell in Woolwich he scored 84 goals in 196 games, making him Arsenal’s record goalscorer until Jimmy Brain overtook him in 1927. At centre-half was Joe Mercer whose son, also called Joe, would go on to become an Arsenal legend 30 years later.

The Arsenal: J Lievesley, P Sands, J Shaw, J Graham, C Buckley, F Bradshaw, J Rutherford, H King, B Benson, B Blyth, C Lewis.

Nottingham Forest: H Iremonger, A Fisher, T Gibson, J Armstrong, J Mercer, G Needham, J Derrick, T Coleman, F Harris, J Lockton, J Bell.

Referee: H Yates (Bolton)

Arsenal’s top scorer Harry King opened the scoring, heading home a Charlie Lewis cross after 15 minutes. Shortly after this, Harry Iremonger did well to deny Benson but in the 19th minute he was powerless to prevent the centre-forward scoring who drove home convincingly, having exchanged passes with Jock Rutherford in the build up. It was Iremonger who kept Forest in the game in the opening half with a string of saves. Even when they did get into the Arsenal penalty area their forwards contrived to miss, Coleman mis-kicking when he should have scored.

However, in the second half the floodgates opened.

Shortly after the restart King missed an open goal but made no mistake after 53 minutes when he scored his second after Blyth and Benson had combined with some clever play to set him up. Three minutes later he completed his hat-trick with a fine shot from Rutherford’s cross.

The crowd had only two more minutes to wait before another Rutherford cross was met by Benson who headed his second to make it 5-0.

Arsenal were now firmly ensconced in the Forest half, Rutherford giving Tommy Gibson a torrid time and Benson taking pot shots as soon as he got the ball, looking for his hat-trick. Joe Lievesley in the home goal was a virtual spectator.

It wasn’t until five minutes from time that Arsenal registered their sixth goal, which was almost an exact replica of the first with King heading home a Lewis cross.

In the final minute, Jock Rutherford capped a fine display with a splendid individual goal to make it 7-0, scoring the last goal of the season and, what would turn out to be, Arsenal’s last league goal outside the top flight.

This innovative forward line gave Arsenal their biggest win in 11 years but they would never play together again.

Kentish Independent 30 April 1915

This win left Arsenal in fifth place, which was pretty much guaranteed as Hull would have needed to beat Grimsby 29-0 in their final game to climb above the Gunners. They gave it a go but could only manage 4-1. But then a twist to the story that lasted for 60 years. If you look at the two tables below you will see that The Sportsman showed The Arsenal in fifth place, whilst Athletic News showed them in sixth place.

The Sportsman 30 April 1915

The former is correct as Arsenal’s goal average was 1.68 whilst Birmingham’s was 1.59. For some strange reason the Athletic News table was assumed to be correct and, with the War in on everybody’s mind, it appeared that no one bothered to double check. Arsenal’s league position remained sixth in the records until the 1970s when it was eventually spotted and it was corrected to fifth.

This also proved to be the last senior game played legally under the name The Woolwich Arsenal Football And Athletic Company, Limited. There were two more reserve team games after the Forest game, after which the official name was changed to The Arsenal Football Club, Limited.

At the end of the 1914-15 season the Football Association and Football League closed down for the duration of the War and clubs re-organised themselves into regional competitions.

Joe Lievesley never played for The Arsenal again but the remaining members of the team played for the club during the War and all, except Bob Benson, played after the War the reason for this being particularly tragic. On 19 February 1916 The Arsenal were at home to Reading in the London Combination. Bob travelled to watch the game with his wife and father-in-law. Once inside the ground he told his wife that he was “going to see the boys”, and returned five minutes later to tell her he had managed to convince John Peters, the club secretary who was in charge of the team that day, to give him a game. His father-in-law suggested he shouldn’t as he had been working long hours in his wartime job at the Royal Arsenal and wasn’t match fit, but Bob ignored him. Tragically, Bob collapsed in the dressing room having left the pitch after 15 minutes of the second half and died about an hour later, the result of a burst blood vessel in one of his lungs.

Finishing outside the top two didn’t prevent The Arsenal’s return to the top flight when football resumed in 1919. In one of the most controversial, but incorrectly reported, events in the club’s history they were elected to the top flight in March 1919, which is detailed in our articles here and here.

Since then they have remained in the top flight, although in the 1920s and 1970s they flirted with relegation a handful of times. The table below shows the seasons when Arsenal came closest to the drop:

Season Position Points Safe by Games remaining
1923-24 19 th 33 1 point 2
1927-28 10 th 41 3 points 1
1929-30 14 th 39 3 points 2
1974-75 16 th 37 4 points 3
1975-76 17 th 36 6 points 3

1927-28 was an incredibly tight season, Arsenal finished eleven places above relegated Tottenham but only three points separated them. Back then, it wasn’t unusual for one team to complete its fixtures well before its competitors. This was the case this season when Tottenham played their final game on 28 April and Arsenal still had two games to play. At this point, Arsenal were not mathematically safe from relegation, but it did not stop Tottenham accusing the Gunners of throwing their last two games to get the Middlesex club relegated.

During this time, every other team that has played in the top flight has been relegated at least once. The table below shows how often the “big” teams have been relegated and how many seasons they have played outside the top flight in the last 100 years:

Team Number of times relegated Seasons outside top flight
Liverpool 1 8
Everton 2 4
Manchester United 4 10
Aston Villa 4 12
Tottenham Hotspur 4 15
Chelsea 5 15
Newcastle United 5 21
West Ham United 6 32
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Table of Contents By Subject

The Romance of a Man in Gray Including Love Letters of Captain James S. Peery, Forty-Fifth Virginia Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., by Robert Leroy Hilldrup, part I 22/2/83-116 part II 22/3/166- 183 part III 22/4/217-254

A Confederate Journal, by George E. Moore, 22/4/201-216

Conflicting Interpretations as to the Causes of the Civil War, by Charles H. Moffat, 23/1/5-14

General John McCausland, by Shirley Donnelly, 23/2/139-145

Colonel Rathbone of Burning Springs, by Louis Reed, 23/3/205-218

The Tragedy of Major George C. Trimble, by Louis Reed, 23/4/269-81

Some Legislative and Legal Aspects of the Negro Question in West Virginia During the Civil War and Reconstruction, by Forrest Talbott, part I 24/1/1-31 part II 24/2/110-133 part III 24/3/211-247

Rifle Cannon and Yankees: Captain Kelley, D. B. Baldwin in the Skirmish at the Gauley Bridge, by Donald Brooks, 24/4/352-354

The Battle of Hanging Rocks Pass Near Romney, West Virginia, September 24, 1861, by Francis E. Haselberger, Jr., 25/1/1-20

The Southern National Armory and the Civil War, by Philip R. Smith, Jr., 25/1/27-31

The Experiences of Dr. Thomas Bland Camden of Weston at the Outbreak of the Civil War, 1861, by William E. Parrish, 25/3/184- 189

The Lost Years: Gideon Draper Camden and the Confederacy, by Glenn F. Massay, 25/3/190-194

Skirmishes at South Branch and Patterson's Creek, West Virginia, by Francis E. Hasleberger, Jr., 25/4/265-269

The War Between the States: List of Highway Historic Markers in West Virginia, by Charles P. Harper, 25/4/279-281

Federal Postal History of Western Virginia, 1861-1865, by Arthur Hecht, 26/2/67-79

General Rosser's Raid on the New Creek Depot, by Francis Haselberger, 26/2/86-109

The Rives Peace Resolution - March, 1865, by John Hammond Moore, 26/3/153-60

Colonel George S. Patton and the 22nd Virginia Infantry Regiment, by Stan Cohen, 26/3/178-190

Skirmishes at Dan's Run and Kelley's Island, by Fritz Haselberger and illustrated by Gil J. Olvera, 26/4/220-233

Document: "Souvenirs," ed. by Archie P. McDonald, 26/4/251-54

The Burning of the 21st Bridge at New Creek, by Fritz and Mark Haselberger, 27/1/56-64

The Civil War's Most Over-Rated Spy, by Curtis Carroll Davis, 27/1/1-9

Jackson in the Shenandoah, by Millard K. Bushong, 27/2/85-96

Wallace's Raid on Romney, by Fritz Haselberger, 27/2/97-110

A Virginian's Dilemma, by William Childers, 27/3/173-200

The Skirmishes at New Creek and Piedmont, July 14 and 15, 1861, by Fritz and Mark Haselberger, 27/3/211-219

Washington in February, 1861, by Archie P. McDonald, 27/3/201-210

Kelley's Occupation of Romney in 1861, by Fritz and Mark Haselberger, 28/2/121-136

Virginians and West Virginians at Fort Donelson, February 1862, by Franklin Colling, 28/2/101-120

The Battle of Blue's Gap, by Fritz Haselberger, 28/3/241-248

The Battle of Greenland Gap, by Fritz and Mark Haselberger, 28/4/285-304

Top of Allegheny, by Stan Cohen, 28/4/318-23

English Reaction to Stonewall Jackson's Death, by Charles P. Cullop, 29/1/1-5

The Kidnapping of Generals Crook and Kelley by the McNeill Rangers, February 21, 1865, by Mark Joseph Stegmaier, 29/1/13-47

Stonewall Jackson's Jolly Chaplain, Beverly Tucker Lacy, by W. G. Bean, 29/2/77-96

The 51st Regiment, Virginia Volunteers, 1861-1865, by James A. Davis, 29/3/178-202

War Comes to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, by Edwin Bearss, 29/3/153-177

John B. Floyd and the West Virginia Campaign of 1861, by John M. Belohlavek, 29/4/283-291

1862 Brings Hard Times to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, by Edwin C. Bearss, 30/2/436-462

War, Death and Victory: A Note on Human Suffering, ed. by Richard O. Curry, 30/4/635-636

The Unfortunate Military Career of Henry A. Wise in Western Virginia, by E. Kidd Lockard, 31/1/40-54

The 42nd Virginia Regiment, Virginia Volunteers, 1861-1865, by Frank R. Levstik, 31/2/88-117

One of the Famous 54th Massachusetts: A Short Biography of General John W. M. Appleton, by Kenneth R. Bailey, 31/3/161-179

The Prison Notebook of Captain James M. McNeill, C.S.A., by Louise McNeill Pease, 31/3/180-184

Civil War Letters of George Washington McMillen and Jefferson O. McMillen, 122nd Regiment, O.V.I., by Wilfred Black, 32/3/171-193

"Dear Brother . . . I send you a brief account of `The Action at Scarey Creek' . . . ." George S. Patton's Baptism of Fire, by Jay Carlton Mullen, 33/1/55-60

The Department of West Virginia: Guardian of the Alleghenies, by Fabian V. Husley, 33/3/262-274

Major Cunningham's Journal, 1862, by Elizabeth Cometti, 34/2/187- 211

"Men of Virginia! Men of Kanawha! To Arms!" A History of the Twenty-second Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., by Val Husley, 35/3/220-236

The High Tide of Confederate Fighting, by E. Thomas Crowson, 36/2/140-186

The Expedition of Henry Lockwood to Accomac, by E. T. Crowson, 36/3/202-12

West Virginia's Mentally Ill During the Civil War Era: A Case of Interstate Cooperation, by Frank R. Levstik, 36/3/222-224

What Happened at Beverly: The Account of Andrew J. Jones, ed. by William D. Miller, 36/3/225-28

Prisoner of the Confederacy: Diary of a Union Artillery Man, by Warren A. Jennings, 36/4/309-323

Lieutenant Albert Davidson - Letters of a Virginia Soldier, ed. by Charles W. Turner, 39/1/49-71

Five Tri-State Women During the Civil War, by Claudia Lynn Lady, Day-to Day Life, 43/3/189-226 Views on the War, 43/4/303-321

The Civil War Letters of Laban Gwinn: A Union Refugee, by William E. Cox, 43/3/227-245

The Civil War at Bulltown, by Barbara J. Howe, 44/1/1-40

Gunboats at Buffington: The U.S. Navy and Morgan's Raid, 1863, by Myron J. Smith, Jr., 44/2/97-110

Ideology and Perception: Democratic and Republican Attitudes on Civil War Politics and the Statehood Movement in West Virginia, by Richard O. Curry, 44/2/135-155

Harpers Ferry to the Fall of Richmond: Letters of Colonel John DeHart Ross, C.S.A., 1861-1865, by Richard W. Oram, 45/*/159-174

The Education of Col. David Bullock Harris, C.S.A., Using His West Point Letters, 1829-1835, by Charles W. Turner, 46/*/45-58

The Rudulph Collection of Civil War Letters, by Dan R. Brook, 50/*/129-152

Acclaim, Blame, and Civil War Memory: The Case of the Kidnapping of Two Union Generals, by Thomas F. Curran, 57/*/27-45

West Virginia's Militia and Home Guard in the Civil War, introduced and compiled by Mary E. Johnson and Joe Geiger Jr., 58/*/68-167

An Affair of Outposts: Edward Johnson, the Army of the Northwest, and the Battle of Allegheny Mountain, by Eddie Woodward, 59/*/1-35

Hardy's Union Militia in the Civil War: Letters from the West Virginia Adjutant General's Papers, 60/*/83-110

Hawk's Nest Coal Company Strike, January, 1880, by Kenneth R. Bailey, 30/4/625-34

Development of Surface Mine Legislation, 1939-1967, by Kenneth R. Bailey, 30/3/525-29

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and Strip Mining Damage Cases, 1905-1967, by Kenny J. Smith, 31/2/118-24

Legislators, Lobbyists and Loopholes: Coal Mining Legislation in West Virginia, 1875-1901, by Glenn F. Massay, 32/3/135-70

"Tell the Boys to Fall in Line": United Mine Workers of America Strikes in West Virginia, January-June, 1894, by Kenneth R. Bailey, 32/4/224-37

A Judicious Mixture: Negroes and Immigrants in the West Virginia Mines, 1880-1917, by Kenneth R. Bailey, 34/2/141-61

Coal, Congress and the Courts: The Bituminous Coal Industry and the New Deal, by Thomas C. Longin, 35/2/101-30

The First Fifty Years of Strip Mining in West Virginia, 1916-1965, by Robert F. Munn, 35/1/66- 74

The Development of Model Towns in the Bituminous Coal Fields, by Robert F. Munn, 40/3/243- 53 From Law and Order to Class Warfare: Baldwin-Felts Detectives in the Southern West Virginia Coal Fields, by Richard M. Hadsell and William E. Coffey, 40/3/168-86

Coal Men of the Smokeless Coal Fields, by Ken Sullivan, 41/2/143-65

Joseph Joy and his Mobile Loading Machine, by Keith Dix, 41/3/226-44

The Coal Strikes of 1943, by Cathy Kunzinger Urwin, 45/*/91-?

William Nelson Page: Traditionalist Entrepreneur of the Virginias, by Louis L. Athey, 46/*/1-?

The Black Presence in the Paint-Cabin Creek Strike, 1912-1913, by Ronald L. Lewis, 46/*/59- 72

COUNTIES & COMMUNITIES

Why is Mercer County in West Virginia instead of Virginia?, by Kyle McCormick, 19/1/60-65

McDowell County Celebrates Its Centennial, by Kyle McCormick, 19/3/204-208

The Early History and Development of Princeton, West Virginia, by Harold R. Saunders, 20/2/80-119

Document: A Glimpse of Industrial Wheeling in 1829: A Selection from the Journal of B. L. C. Wailes of Natches, ed. by John Hebron Moore, 20/2/126-129

Charleston's Railroad, by Kyle McCormick, 21/3/197-199

The Controversy Over the Location of the Mercer County Courthouse, by Kyle McCormick, 22/2/117-120

The Town of Thurmond, 1884-1961, by Walter R. Thurmond, 22/4/240-254

Land Sales at Harper's Ferry, by Truman R. Strobridge, 22/4/155-256

A Historical Sketch of Milton, Cabell County, West Virginia, by William A. Birt, 23/1/50-56

Jared Sparks Visits Harper's Ferry, 1819, by John Hammond Moore, 25/2/81-91

Parkersburg: History of City from Time of Its Settlement to Present in Gripping Narrative from the Pen of the Late Miss Kate Harris . . ., continued by Virginia Laughlin, 25/4/241-64

Freedom's Jubilee: The Fourth of July in Charleston, 1826-76, by Robert hay, 26/4/207-19

A Sketch of the Early History of Jackson County, An Address on Centennial Anniversary Day, July 4, 1876, by R. S. Brown, 28/3/199-211 [check title]

The Life of Joseph H. Diss DeBar and His Reminiscences of Doddridge County, 1883, by Jesse A. Earl, 28/3/228-40

Development of Municipal Government, Charleston, West Virginia, 1794-1936, by Cecile R. Goodall, 29/2/97-137

What's in a Name: The Three Charlestowns, by Alex L. ter Braake, 30/1/351-57

The Charleston Industrial Area: Development, 1797-1937, by Elizabeth J. Goodall, 30/1/358-412

The Legislation of the "Old Dominion" Relative to the Capital City of West Virginia, by J. D. Baines, 30/3/559-64

A Glimpse of Charleston in the 1890s from a Contemporary Diary, by Margaret G. Trotter, 35/2/131-44

The Receipt Book of Perez Drew Schrock, Constable, Hampshire County, Virginia, 1815-1830, ed. by Alfred W. Humphreys, 37/2/127-32

Document: Revolutionary War Courts of Claims, Monongalia County, ed. by Earl L. Core, 37/3/221-38

Once in a Lifetime - Wheeling Celebrates the United States Centennial: 1876, by Dennis E. Lawther, 38/4/304-11

Kanawha Salines, 1835: John Geary's Letter, ed. by W. Dana Young and Orton A. Jones, 38/4/321-25

A Vignette of Wheeling during the Early Republic, 1743-1840, by Kenneth Robert Nodyne, 40/1/47-54

"One Place on this Great Green Planet Where Andrew Carnegie can't get a Monument with His Money," by David T. Javersak, 41/1/7-19

Land Speculation in West Virginia in the Early Federal Period: Randolph County as a Specific Case, by Lee Soltow, 44/2/111-34

DEPRESSION/NEW DEAL

Arthurdale: Adventure into Utopia, by Lee A. Gladwin, 28/4/305-17

Coal, Congress and the Courts: The Bituminous Coal Industry and the New Deal, by Thomas C. Longin, 35/2/101-30

Arthurdale: An Experiment in Community Education, by Bruce G. Beezer, 36/1/17-36

The New Deal's Arthurdale Project in West Virginia, by Thomas H. Coode and Dennis E. Fabbri, 36/4/291-308

The Depths of the Great Depression: Economic Collapse in West Virginia, 1932-1933, by James S. Olson, 38/3/214-25

Herman Guy Kump and the West Virginia Fiscal Crisis of 1933, by A. Steven Gatrell, 42/3- 4/249-84

Arthurdale, A Social Experiment in the 1930s: Foundations, Fantasies, Furniture, and Failures, by Jeanne S. Rymer, 46/*/89-?

"Please tell the President . . . only an absolute dictatorship will save us": Lorena Hickok Reports on the Great Depression in West Virginia, August 1933, by Jerry Bruce Thomas, 57/*/135-61

Bringing the Classics to the Ohio Valley: The Huntington Federal Music Project Orchestra, 1936-1942, by Travis D. Stimeling, 60/*/23-44

The Literary Fund of Virginia: Its Relation to Sectionalism in Education, by Ralph Vickers Merry and Frieda Kiefer Merry, 2/3/179-191

McGuffey: Lessons in Goodness, by Bruce Crawford, 4/1/37-41

Public Education in Monroe County, (West) Virginia, 1819-1861, by Charles H. Ambler, 4/1/25-36

The Importance of Teaching West Virginia History in the Public Schools, by Thomas F. Marshall, 4/2/98-102

The Clarksburg Educational Convention of September 8-9, 1841, by C. H. Ambler, 5/1/5-54

Alderson-Broaddus College, by C. H. Ambler, 6/4/361-372

My Life: Emma Cornelia Alderson, 1938, ed. by Emma Frances Alderson, 7/2/109-140

The Influence of the West Virginia Grange Upon Public Agricultural Education, 1873-1914, by William D. Barnes, of College Grade, 9/2/128-157 of Less than College Grade, 10/1/5-24

The Establishment of Church Schools in West Virginia, by Marjorie Kimball Templeton, 9/4/369-387

History of Morris Harvey College, by Samuel Paris Bell, Jr., 11/4/243-270

Jefferson's Sectional Motives in Founding the University of Virginia, by Charles H. Moffat, 12/1/61-69

Mercer Academy: A Brief History Thereof, 1819-1862, by Elizabeth Whitten Williams, 13/1/41-55

The Early History of Marshall Academy, 1837-1850, by Robert Toole, part I, 1837-1850, 13/2/120-126 part II, 1850-1886, 14/1/28-58 part III, 1886-1915, 14/2/136-172

Private Normal Schools in West Virginia, by Roy C. Woods, 15/1/68-88

The Normal Training High School Movement in West Virginia, by Roy C. Woods, 15/4/321-332

The History of Teachers' Institutes in West Virginia, by Roy C. Woods, 16/2/107-125

A Short History of Education in West Virginia, by Roy C. Woods, 17/4/304-328

A Half Century of Educational Progress in West Virginia: An Historical and Statistical Study, by Roy C. Woods, 18/3/173-181

Alleghany Collegiate Institute of Alderson, West Virginia, by Nat G. Barnhart, 18/3/182-201

The History of the County Unit in West Virginia, by Roy C. Woods, 19/1/49-59

The History of the Now Extinct Shelton College, by Edwin B. Treanor, 20/3/184-192

The Evolution of the Common School in (West) Virginia, by Roy C. Woods, 20/4/247-253

Women in West Virginia's Scheme of Education, by Roy C. Woods, 21/1/22-34

History of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud with Special Attention to the Effects of Education on It, by Roy C. Woods, 22/1/27-33

A College in Secessia: The Early Years of Storer College, by Alfred Mongin, 23/4/263-268

Education Foundation, Inc., by Phil Conley, 24/2/156-159

A Social History of Marshall University During the Period as the State Normal School, 1867-1900, by Victoria Ann Smith, 25/1/32-41

Reminiscences of the 1870's: An Early College Year in the Hills, by O. W. Williams (1883- 1946) and Supplemented by Clayton W. Williams, 28/3/212-27

Educational Broadcasting in West Virginia, by Harry M. Brawley, 29/3/224-232 A Sequel, 33/2/142-151

Arthurdale: An Experiment in Community Education, by Bruce G. Beezer, 36/1/17-36

The Evolution of Public Higher Education Governance in West Virginia: A Study of Political Influence upon Educational Policy, by William P. Jackameit, 36/2/97-130

Alexander Campbell: Moral Educator of the Middle Frontier, by John L. Morrison, 36/3/187-201

Women and Education in West Virginia, 1810-1909, by Kathryn Babb Vossler, 36/4/271-290

The Sims Higher Education Cases of West Virginia: A Study of Conflict Between A State Elected Official and the Governing Boards of Public Higher Education, 1949-1957, by William P. Jackameit, 37/1/1-10

A Short History of Negro Public Higher Education in West Virginia, 1890-1965, by William P. Jackameit, 37/4/309-324

The Education of the Thirteenth United States Chief Justice: Frederick Moore Vinson, by John Henry Hatcher, 39/4/285-323

A. M. Grimes: Country Teacher and Itinerant Minister, by Berlin B. Chapman, 40/3/287-292

"One Place on this Great Green Planet Where Andrew Carnegie can't get a Monument with His Money," by David T. Javersak, 41/1/7-19

Clarence W. Meadows, W. W. Trent and Educational Reform in West Virginia, by Paul D. Casdorph, 41/2/126-142

Reports of Freedmen's Bureau District Officers on Tours and Surveys in West Virginia, by John Edmund Stealey, III, 43/2/145- 155

Integration in Reverse at West Virginia State College, by Elizabeth Chidester Duran and James A. Duran, Jr., 45/*/61-78

Sectionalism, Slavery, and Schooling in Antebellum Virginia, by Thomas C. Hunt, 46/*/125-136

The Education of Col. David Bullock Harris, C.S.A., Using His West Point Letters, 1829-1835, by Charles W. Turner, 46/*/45-58

Doctus et Ductor: President Smith and ROTC at Marshall College, by Merle T. Cole and Donald R. Davis, 57/*/111-34

EXPLORATION & SETTLEMENT

George Washington in West Virginia, by Leona Gwinn Brown, 20/1/36-44

The Right Honourable Thomas Lord Fairfax and his Swan Pond Estate, by George B. Folk, 21/1/5-12

Celoron's Plaque at Point Pleasant, by Morgan Tomkies, 27/3/220-33

A Troublesome and Difficult Affair Surveying the Fairfax Line, by Forest J. Bowman, 33/3/248- 61

Early Fairfax Land Grants and Leases Along the South Branch of the Potomac, by Charles Morrison, 38/1/1-22

The Reconnaissance Expedition of Two French Navigators, by Clifford M. Lewis, 43/1/21-38

Concerning the First Survey of the Northern Neck, ed. by Elizabeth Cometti, 2/1/52-64

FRONTIER/AMERICAN REVOLUTION

West Virginians in the American Revolution, comp. by Ross B. Johnston, 1/1/57-67 1/2/131-142 1/3/225-232 1/4/293-304 2/1/65-75 2/2/142-152 2/3/231-241 2/4/294-303 3/1/76-82 3/2/171-172 3/3/236-245 3/4/314-325 4/1/42-55 4/2/118-129 4/3/202-212 4/4/294-314 5/1/55-65 5/2/119-133 5/3/212-228 5/4/309-317 6/1/96-104 6/2/209-215 6/3/272-274 6/4/393-401 7/1/54-64 7/2/141-146 7/3/242-249 7/4/335-340 8/1/119-129 8/2/216-223 8/3/344-349 8/4/419-422 9/1/70-84 (with Index to Alphabetical Check List)

The Kinnan Massacre, by Boyd B. Stutler, 1/1/30-48

A True Narrative of the Sufferings of Mary Kinnan, 1/1/49-56

Old Fort Ashby, by J. C. Sanders, 1/2/104-109

West Virginia Material in the Draper Manuscripts, by Louise Phelps Kellogg, 2/1/5-11

Sesqui-Centennial Celebration of the Treaty of Greene Ville, by L. J. Priestly, 7/2/101-108

Dunmore--Virginia's Last Royal Governor, by Elizabeth Ann Wrick, 8/3/237-282

A Forgotten Account of the Sieges of Fort Henry, by Delf Norona, 8/3/305-314

The Faris Painting of the 1782 Siege of Fort Henry, by Delf Norona, 8/3/315-318

Fort Belleville, A Forgotten Frontier Post, by Roy Bird Cook, 9/1/57-69

Captain Joseph Ogle of Virginia and Illinois in Defense of the Upper Ohio, by Frances Hamilton Hibbard, 9/3/224-239

Military Defense of the Frontier in the Northwest Territory, by Kermit A. Cook, part I 10/1/25-61 part II . 10/2/93-113

The Sandy Creek Expedition of 1756, by Otis K. Rice, 13/1/5-19

Loyalism in Western Virginia During the American Revolution, by Richard O. Curry, 14/3/265-274

The Great Meadows Campaign and the Climaxing Battle at Fort Necessity, by William Blake Hindman, 16/2/65-89

Logan, The Shawnee Indian Capital of West Virginia--1760-1780, by Ernest H. Howerton, 16/4/313-333

Anne Bailey in West Virginia Tradition, by Grace M. Hall, 17/1/22-85

Kanawha Trails, by Robert Hurley, 18/3/202-215

Cornstalk--King of the Rhododendron Country, by Harold Lambert, 19/3/194-203

Lord Dunmore and the West: A Re-evaluation, by Richard O. Curry, 19/4/231-242

George Washington in West Virginia, by Leona Gwinn Brown, 20/1/36-44

General Adam Stephen, Founder of Martinsburg, West Virginia, by Mary Vernon Mish, 22/2/63-75

Military Contributions of Western Virginia in the American Revolution, by Robert L. Morris, 23/2/86-99

The French and Indian War in West Virginia, by Otis Rice, 24/2/134-46

The Arnold-Gates Controversy, by John F. Luzader, 27/2/75-84

Fort Henry in the American Revolution, by Glenn F. Massay, 24/3/248-257

Lord Dunmore--Tool of Land Jobbers or Realistic Champion of Colonial "Rights?": An Inquiry, by Richard O. Curry, 24/3/289-295

The Stress of War upon the Civilian Population of Virginia, 1739- 1760, by Chester Raymond Young, 27/4/251-277

George Clendinen and the Great Kanawha Valley Frontier: A Case Study of the Frontier Development of Virginia, by John Edmund Stealey III, 27/4/278-95

Captain Samuel Brady (1756-1795), Chief of the Rangers and His Kin, by Rev. Ralph Emmett Fall, 29/3/203-223

Peter Bryan Bruin of Bath: Soldier, Judge and Frontiersman, by William S. Coker, 30/4/579-585

A Frontier Store in Western Virginia, by Clifford M. Lewis, S. J., 32/4/238-244

The Heritage of the Frontier, by Thomas D. Clark, 34/1/1-17

The Battle of Point Pleasant: First Battle of the American Revolution, by Kenneth R. MacDonald, Jr., 36/1/40-49

The Other War in 1774: Dunmore's War, by Robert L. Kerby, 36/1/1- 16

Frontier Forts in the South Branch Valley, by Charles Morrison, 36/2/131-39

West Virginia's First Governor's Grandfather Served as Deputy Paymaster General of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War (Selected Bicentennial Documents), by Isaiah A. Woodward, 36/3/229-236

Events Prior to and During the Day Gen. George Washington Resigned as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army - 1783, by Isaiah A. Woodward, 38/2/157-161

Revolutionary War Courts of Claims, Monongalia County, by Earl L. Core, 37/3/221-238

Lee, Gates, Stephen and Morgan: Revolutionary War Generals of the Lower Shenandoah Valley, by Paul David Nelson, 37/3/185-200

Some Problems of the Draft in Revolutionary Virginia, by E. Kidd Lockard, 37/3/201-210

Captain William Morgan's Berkeley County, Virginia, Militia Company, by Joseph H. Harkey, 38/1/35-55

Events Prior to and During the Day General George Washington Resigned as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army - 1783, ed. by Isaiah A. Woodward, 38/2/157-61

The McDonald Who Turned Washington Down, by William Naylor McDonald III, 38/4/312-18

"Fort Gaddis" and the Construction of a Revolutionary War Fort at Beech Bottom, West Virginia, by Ronald C. Carlisle, 39/4/324-40

Michael Cresap and the Cresap Rifles, by Robert McGinn and Larry Vaden, 39/4/341-47

Dunmore's War, by Irene B. Brand, 40/1/28-46

A Lost Diary of the Western Virginia Frontier, ed. by Dennis O'Brien, 40/1/55-68

Helping to Hold the Fort: Elizabeth Zane at Wheeling, 1782, A Case Study in Renown, by Curtis Carroll Davis, 44/3/212-225

John J. Cornwell, Governor of West Virginia, 1917-1921, by Lucy Lee Fisher, 24/3/258-88 24/4/370-89

Hulett Carlson Smith, Governor of West Virginia, by Con Hardman, 26/3/151-52

Governor William E. Glasscock and Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 Bull Moose Candidacy, by Paul Douglas Casdorph, 28/1/8-15

A Political Biography of Henry Hatfield, by Carolyn Karr, 28/1/35-63 and 28/2/137-70

Arch Alfred Moore, Jr., 28th Governor of West Virginia, 30/3/523-24

Arthur Ingraham Boreman: A Biography, by Isaiah Alfonso Woodward, 31/4/206-69 and 32/1/10-48

Arthur Ingraham Boreman: A Biography, by Isaiah Alfonso Woodward, 32/1/10-48

Arthur I. Boreman in Fear of the Future of the New State, ed. by Isaiah A. Woodward, 34/4/382-388

Governor Albert B. White and the Beginning of Progressive Reform, 1901-05, by Nicholas C. Burckel, 40/1/1-12

Governor Marland's Political Suicide: The Severance Tax, 40/1/13-27

William E. Glasscock and the West Virginia Election of 1910, by Gary J. Tucker, 40/3/254-67

Clarence W. Meadows, W. W. Trent and Educational Reform in West Virginia, by Paul D. Casdorph, 41/2/126-142

Publicizing Progressivism: William M. O. Dawson, by Nicholas C. Burckel, 42/3-4/222-48

Herman Guy Kump and the West Virginia Fiscal Crisis of 1933, by A. Steven Gatrell, 42/3- 4/249-84

Recent additions to the Arthur I. Boreman Papers in the West Virginia and Regional History Collection, by Anne Wallace Effland, 44/1/54-61

HATFIELD-MCCOY FEUD

History of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud with Special Attention to the Effects of Education on It, by Roy C. Woods, 22/1/27-33

A Hatfield-McCoy Feudist Pleads for Mercy in 1889, by James C. Klotter, 43/4/322-328

"The Horrible Butcheries of West Virginia": Dan Cunningham on the Hatfield-McCoy Feud, by Ludwell H. Johnson, III, 46/*/25-44

HEALTH AND MEDICINE

Epistles from the Springs of Virginia, by William D. Hoyt, Jr., 3/4/267-274

Two Famous Springs of Eastern West Virginia, by Thomas Marshall Hunter, 6/2/193-204

Jesse Bennet, Pioneer Physician and Surgeon, by Dorothy Poling, 12/2/87-128

The History of Salt Sulphur Springs, by James Reginald Kidd, 15/3/187-257

The History of Sweet Springs, Monroe County, West Virginia, by Barbara Ruth Kidd, part I 21/4/233-268 part II 22/1/19-26

The Experiences of Dr. Thomas Bland Camden of Weston at the Outbreak of the Civil War, 1861, by William E. Parrish, 25/3/184- 189

To Cuba by Packet and Schooner, 1856-1857: A Panhandle Youth's Search for Health More than a Century Ago, by Stanton C. Crawford, 26/1/1-12

West Virginia's Mentally Ill During the Civil War Era: A Case of Interstate Cooperation, by Frank R. Levstik, 36/3/222-224

A West Virginia County's Experience with the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, by William T. Doherty, 38/2/136-140

The Healing Science in the Mountain State: Some Notable Medical Personalities of West Virginia, by Robert L. Murphy and Kenneth R. Nodyne, 42/3-4/285-306

The Celebrated White Sulphur Springs of Greenbrier: Nineteenth Century Travel Accounts, by Robert S. Conte, 42/3-4/191-221

HIGHWAY MARKERS

The West Virginia Historic Commission's Program, by Charles P. Harper, 25/2/138-48

The War Between the States: List of Highway Historic Markers in West Virginia, by Charles P. Harper, 25/4/279-281

West Virginia Historic Commission's 1964 Highway Marker Program, by Charles P. Harper, 26/2/121-31

Boom and Driving Days on Coal River and in the Adirondacks, by Harry F. Jackson, 21/1/13-21

The Story of Iron Mining in West Virginia, by Kyle McCormick, 21/1/35-39

The Hall Rifle Works, by Philip R. Smith Jr., 23/3/219-223

Lead Production in Virginia during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century, by Arthur Hecht, 25/3/173-83

Timbering Operations in the Tug and Guyandot Valleys in the 1890's, by Edwin A. Cubby, 26/2/110-20

The Manufacture of Salt - Kanawha's First Commercial Enterprise, by Elizabeth J. Goodall, 26/4/234-50

The Charleston Industrial Area: Development, 1797-1937, by Elizabeth J. Goodall, 30/1/358-412

Coming of the Chemical Industry to Middle Appalachia, by Charles Carpenter, 30/3/535-47

The Use and Extent of Slave Labor in the Virginia Iron Industry: The Ante-Bellum Era, by Ronald L. Lewis, 38/2/141-56

William Nelson Page: Traditionalist Entrepreneur of the Virginias, by Louis L. Athey, 45/*/41

Friend's Orebank and Keep Triste Furnace, by William D. Theriault, 48/*/43-60

Wilson Progressives vs. DuPont: Controversy in Building the Nitro Plant, by R. Eugene Harper, 48/*/93-108

Early Gunmakers of Hampshire County, by William H. Ansel Jr., 45/*/125-44

Providing for the Common Defence: The Earliest West Virginia Gunsmiths, by James B. Whisker, 45/*/145-58

Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia, 1880-1920: A Round Table, by Paul Salstrom, Ronald L. Lewis, Altina Waller, John Alexander Williams, and Chris Bolgiano, 58/*/44-61

Work, Culture and Politics in Industrializing West Virginia: The Glassworkers of Clarksburg and Moundsville, by Ken Fones-Wolf, 58/*/1-23

Report on the Meadow River Lumber Company of Rainelle, W. Va., by Andrew H. Larson, May 2, 1916, 59/*/45-84

John Brown's Letter, by Boyd B. Stutler, 9/1/1-25

John Brown's Fort, by Clarence S. Gee, 19/2/93-100

John Brown: They Had a Concern, by Jeannette Mather Lord, 20/3/163-183

The John Brown/Boyd B. Stutler Collection Database, 59/*/37-43

The National Guard of West Virginia During the Strike Period, 1912-1913, by Kyle McCormick, 22/1/34-35

Hawk's Nest Coal Company Strike, January, 1880, by Kenneth R. Bailey, 30/4/625-34

Billy Mitchell, the Air Service and the Mingo War, by Maurer Maurer and Calvin F. Senning, 30/1/339-50

"Tell the Boys to Fall in Line": United Mine Workers of America Strikes in West Virginia, January-June, 1894, by Kenneth R. Bailey, 32/4/224-37

The Socialist and Labor Star: Strike and Suppression in West Virginia, 1912-13, by David A. Corbin, 34/2/168-186

Berkeley's Non-Revolution: Law and Order and the Great Railway Strike of 1877, by William T. Doherty Jr., 35/4/271-89

Unionization Struggles on Paint Creek, 1912-13, by Stuart Seely Sprague, 38/3/185-213

Socialist Influence in the West Virginia State Federation of Labor: The John Nugent Case, by Fred A. Barkey, 38/4/275-90

"Grim Visaged Men" and the West Virginia National Guard in the 1912-13 Paint and Cabin Creek Strike, by Kenneth R. Bailey, 41/2/111-25

Martial Law in West Virginia and Major Davis as "Emperor of Tug River," by Merle T. Cole, 43/2/118-44

The Coal Strikes of 1943, by Cathy Kunzinger Urwin, 45/*/91-108

The Black Presence in the Paint-Cabin Creek Strike, 1912-1913, by Ronald L. Lewis, 46/*/59- 72

Work, Culture and Politics in Industrializing West Virginia: The Glassworkers of Clarksburg and Moundsville, 1891-1919, by Ken Fones-Wolf, 58/*/1-23

A Republican for Labor: T. C. Townsend and the West Virginia Labor Movement, 1921-1932, by C. Belmont Keeney, 60/*/1-22

NATIVE AMERICANS

The Kinnan Massacre, by Boyd B. Stutler, 1/1/30-48

A True Narrative of the Sufferings of Mary Kinnan, 1/1/49-56

An Historic Iroquois Site Near Romney, West Virginia, by Carl P. Manson and Howard MacCord, 2/4/290-293

Additional Notes on the Herriott Farm Site, by Carl P. Manson and Howard MacCord, . 5/3/201-211

Sesqui-Centennial Celebration of the Treaty of Greene Ville, by L. J. Priestly, 7/2/101-108

The Sandy Creek Expedition of 1756, by Otis K. Rice, 13/1/5-19

The Susquehannock Indians in West Virginia, 1630-77, by Howard A. MacCord, 13/4/239-253

The Great Meadows Campaign and the Climaxing Battle at Fort Necessity, by William Blake Hindman, 16/2/65-89

Logan, The Shawnee Indian Capital of West Virginia--1760-1780, by Ernest H. Howerton, 16/4/313-333

Kanawha Trails, by Robert Hurley, 18/3/202-215

Cornstalk--King of the Rhododendron Country, by Harold Lambert, 19/3/194-203

The Earliest Printed Version of David Morgan and the Two Indians, by Jack B. Moore, 23/2/100-105

A Captive of the Shawnees, 1779-1784, by John H. Moore, 23/4/287- 296

Bishop Madison's Speculations on the Mounds, by Harry F. Jackson, 24/4/363-369

The Battle of Point Pleasant: First Battle of the American Revolution, by Kenneth R. MacDonald, Jr., 36/1/40-49

The Other War in 1774: Dunmore's War, by Robert L. Kerby, 36/1/1- 16

Dunmore's War, by Irene B. Brand, 40/1/28-46

Helping to Hold the Fort: Elizabeth Zane at Wheeling, 1782, A Case Study in Renown, by Curtis Carroll Davis, 44/3/212-225

Curious Antiquity? The Grave Creek Controversy Revisited, by Terry A. Barnhart, 46/*/103-24

The Civil War and the Beginning of the Oil Industry in West Virginia, by Gerald Forbes, 8/4/382-391

The Early History of the Natural Gas Industry in West Virginia, by James G. Jones, 10/2/79-92

Early Oil Development in West Virginia, by Bernard Gainer, 21/2/84-87

Conflict and Error in the History of Oil, by Louis Reed, 25/1/21- 26

Documents: First Oil Lease South of the Mason-Dixon Line, by Louis Reed, 25/2/149-154

ORGANIZATIONS

A Suggested Wartime Program for County Historical Societies, by Carrol H. Quenzel, 4/2/92-97

Education Foundation, Inc., by Phil Conley, 24/2/156-159

"Alive to the Work": West Virginia State Board of Embalmers, 1899-1933, by Kenneth R. Bailey, 57/*/62-76

Jonathan M. Bennett: A Confederate Portrait, by Harvey M. Rice, 1/3/192-206

Dunmore--Virginia's Last Royal Governor, by Elizabeth Ann Wrick, 8/3/237-282

Charles James Faulkner in the Civil War, by Donald R. McVeigh, 12/2/129-142

Nathan Goff, Jr. and the Solid South, by G. Wayne Smith, 17/1/5-21

West Virginia Congressional Opinion on the Tariff, 1865-1895, by Gerald Wayne Smith, 23/1/15-41 23/2/106-38 23/3/224-39

West Virginia and the 1880 Republican National Convention, by Paul Douglas Casdorph, 24/2/147-55

The War of "Pure Republicanism" Against Federalism, 1794-1801: Bishop James Madison on the American Political Scene, by Charles Crowe, 24/4/355-62

Delegates Faulkner, Brown and Wise and The Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850 and 1851, by Isaiah A. Woodward, 25/2/130-37

The Lost Years - Gideon Draper Camden and the Confederacy, by Glenn F. Massay, 25/3/190-194

The Presidential Election of 1860 in Western Virginia, by Robert Franklin Maddox, 25/3/211-27

Document: The Inequality of Representation in the General Assembly of Virginia: Memorial . . . Adopted at Full Meeting of the Citizens of Kanawha, 25/4/283-98

Gideon Draper Camden: A Whig of Western Virginia, by John Edmund Stealey III, 26/1/13-30

Governor William E. Glasscock and Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 Bull Moose Candidacy, by Paul Douglas Casdorph, 28/1/8-15

The Congressional Elections of 1799 in Virginia, by Myron F. Wehtje, 29/4/251-73

West Virginia's First Delegation to Congress, by Sheldon Winston, 29/4/274-277

The 1872 Liberal Republican Campaign in West Virginia, by Paul Douglas Casdorph, 29/4/292- 302

New York's First Senator from West Virginia: How Stephen B. Elkins Found a New Political Home, by John Alexander Williams, 31/2/73-87

The Politics of Scandal: A Reassessment of John B. Floyd as Secretary of War, 1857-1861, by John M. Belohlavek, 31/3/145-60

The Final Confrontation of Henry G. Davis and William L. Wilson in the Election Campaign of 1894, by John A. Williams, 32/1/1-9

A Note and Documents on the Wayne County Shooting Incident During the Election Campaign of 1894, by John Alexander Williams, 33/2/152-56

Legislators, Lobbyists and Loopholes: Coal Mining Legislation in West Virginia, 1875-1901, by Glenn F. Massay, 32/3/135-70

West Virginia's Image: The 1960 Presidential Primary and the National Press, by Jay Carlton Mullen, 32/4/215-223

The Southern Press and the Presidential Election of 1860, by David Porter, 33/1/1-13

Congressional Electioneering in Early Western Virginia: A Mini- War in Broadsides, 1809, by Daniel P. Jordan, 33/1/61-78

The New Dominion and the Old: Ante-bellum and Statehood Politics as the Background of West Virginia's "Bourbon Democracy," by John Alexander Williams, 33/4/317-407

Of Banks and Politics: The Bank and the Election of 1840, by Abby L. Gilbert, 34/1/18-45

Howard Sutherland's 1920 Bid for the Presidency, by Paul Douglas Casdorph, 35/1/1-25

A Jeffersonian's Dissent: John W. Davis and the Campaign of 1936, by Robert E. Jakoubek, 35/2/145-53

Peter G. Van Winkle's Vote in the Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson: A West Virginian as a Profile in Courage, by Thomas W. Howard, 35/4/291-95

The Private Papers of West Virginia's "Boy Senator," Rush Dew Holt, by Thomas H. Coode and Agnes M. Riggs, 35/4/296-318

William McKinley and the Railroad Workers: Insight into Political Strategy, by John Waksmundski, 36/1/37-39

Religion and Politics: Alfred E. Smith and the Election of 1928 in West Virginia, by Richard H. Bradford, 36/3/213-21

The Sims Higher Education Cases of West Virginia: A Study of Conflict Between A State Elected Official and the Governing Boards of Public Higher Education, 1949-1957, by William P. Jackameit, 37/1/1-10

Some Political Concepts of Walter Reuther, by Ronn Hy, 37/1/11-16

The Shift to Republicanism: William L. Wilson and the Election of 1894, by Thomas R. Tull, 37/1/17-33

The "Republican Experiment" and the Election of 1796 in Virginia, by Arthur Scherr, 37/2/89- 108

Politicians and Property: Taxable Holdings of Early Western Virginia Congressmen, 1801-1825, by Daniel P. Jordan, 37/2/122-26

Washington's Farewell Address and American Commerce, by Joseph A. Fry, 37/4/281-90

Congressman John George Jackson and Republican Nationalism, 1813-1817, by Stephen W. Brown, 38/2/93-125

Adlai E. Stevenson's Campaign Visit to West Virginia, by Leonard Schlup, 38/2/126-35

The 1952 West Virginia Gubernatorial Election, by Paul F. Lutz, 39/2-3/210-35

William E. Glasscock and the West Virginia Election of 1910, by Gary J. Tucker, 40/3/254-67

The Politics of World War II Science: Senator Harley M. Kilgore and the Legislative Origins of the National Science Foundation, by Robert F. Maddox, 41/1/20-39

John Kee and the Point Four Compromise, by William H. Hardin, 41/1/40-58

Clarence W. Meadows, W. W. Trent and Educational Reform in West Virginia, by Paul D. Casdorph, 41/2/126-142

Publicizing Progressivism: William M. O. Dawson, by Nicholas C. Burckel, 42/3-4/222-48

Herman Guy Kump and the West Virginia Fiscal Crisis of 1933, by A. Steven Gatrell, 42/3- 4/249-84

Ideology and Perception: Democratic and Republican Attitudes on Civil War Politics and the Statehood Movement in West Virginia, by Richard O. Curry, 44/2/135-55

John T. McGraw: A Study in Democratic Politics in the Age of Enterprise, by William P. Turner, 45/*/1-40

Political Chrysalis: The United Mine Workers Union in the Election of 1934, by William E. Coffey, 45/*/79-90

Elizabeth Kee: West Virginia's First Woman in Congress, by William H. Hardin, 45/*/109- 124

Exciting Battle and Dramatic Finish: The West Virginia Woman Suffrage Movement, by Anne Wallace Effland, part I, 1867-1916, 46/*/137-158 part II, West Virginia's Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, 48/*/61-92

Middle Man for Peace: Senator Stephen B. Elkins and the Spanish-American War, by M. A. Michael, 57/*/46-60

Fritz Merrick: Parkersburg Rebel with a Cause, by Fred Barkey, 57/*/77-94

Senator Peter G. Van Winkle and the Andrew Johnson Impeachment Trial: A Comprehensive View, by Philip Sturm, 58/*/24-43

A Republican for Labor: T. C. Townsend and the West Virginia Labor Movement, 1921-1932, by C. Belmont Keeney, 60/*/1-22

POSTAL HISTORY

Early Postal Service in Western Virginia, 1792-1800, by Delf Norona, 2/1/36-51

The Postal System of the Southern Confederacy, by Cedric Okell Reynolds, 12/3/200-280

Federal Postal History of Western Virginia, 1861-1865, by Arthur Hecht, 26/2/67-79

Postal History of the James River and Kanawha Turnpike, by Alex L. ter Braake, 33/1/27-54

PRESS & OTHER MEDIA

The Press in the Making of West Virginia, by John Lewis Kiplinger, 6/2/127-176

The Newspaper Press and the Civil War in West Virginia, by Roy Watson Curry, 6/3/225-264

How the Wheeling Intelligencer Became a Republican Organ, by Donovan H. Bond, 11/3/160-184

Journalism in Fayette County, West Virginia, by Shirley Donnelly, 15/2/153-161

West Virginia Editorial Opinion on United States Entry into World War I, by Eugene Francis Saunders, 16/1/5-38

Parkersburg: History of the City from Time of its Settlement to Present in Gripping Narrative from the Pen of the Late Miss Kate Harris, from the Parkersburg Dispatch-News of February 16, 1913, by Virginia Laughlin, 25/4/241-264

Republican Newspapers in Antebellum Virginia, by Richard G. Lowe, 28/4/282-284

Educational Broadcasting in West Virginia, by Harry M. Brawley, 29/3/224-232 A Sequel, 33/2/142-151

History of the Preston County Journal, by Patricia Ann Zinn, 32/4/245-266

West Virginia's Image: The 1960 Presidential Primary and the National Press, by Jay Carlton Mullen, 32/4/215-223

The Southern Press and the Presidential Election of 1860, by David Porter, 33/1/1-13

Congressional Electioneering in Early Western Virginia: A Mini- War in Broadsides, 1809, by Daniel P. Jordan, 33/1/61-78

The Socialist and Labor Star: Strike and Suppression in West Virginia, 1912-13, by David A. Corbin, 34/2/168-186

The Wheeling Gazette and the Question of Greek Independence in Western Virginia, 1821-1828, Paul C. Pappas, 35/1/40-55

RECONSTRUCTION

Reconstruction in West Virginia, by Milton Gerofsky, part I 6/4/295-360 part II 7/1/5-39

The Virginia Background for the History of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era in West Virginia: An Analytical Commentary, by Richard Orr Curry, 20/4/215-246

Some Legislative and Legal Aspects of the Negro Question in West Virginia During the Civil War and Reconstruction, by Forrest Talbott, part I 24/1/1-31 part II 24/2/110-133 part III 24/3/211-247

The Freedman's Bureau in West Virginia, by John Edmund Stealey, III, 39/2-3/99-142

Report of Freedmen's Bureau Operations in West Virginia: Agents in the Eastern Panhandle, by John Edmund Stealey, III, 42/1-2/94-129

Virginia After Appomattox: The United States Army and the Formation of Presidential Reconstruction Policy, by Penelope K. Majeske, 43/2/95-117

Reports of Freedmen's Bureau District Officers on Tours and Surveys in West Virginia, by John Edmund Stealey, III, 43/2/145- 155

Senator Peter G. Van Winkle and the Andrew Johnson Impeachment Trial: A Comprehensive View, by Philip Sturm, 58/*/24-43

The Establishment of Church Schools in West Virginia, by Marjorie Kimball Templeton, 9/4/369-387

John Jeremiah Jacob: Patriot and Preacher, by Lawrence Sherwood, 17/2/117-137

A Background and History of the W. H. H. Cook Memorial Baptist Church of Pineville, by Elizabeth B. Kuhn, 18/4/267-284

A Brief History of the Huntersville Presbyterian Church, by Julia Ann Lockridge, 20/4/154-158

Bishop Francis Asbury in West Virginia, by Lawrence Sherwood, 21/2/76-83

Bishop Madison's Speculations on the Mounds, by Harry F. Jackson, 24/4/363-369

Dr. William L. Stidger, by Rev. J. A. Earl, 27/2/136-43

A Brief Biography of the Reverend John West Reger, D.D., by Warren Lee Witschey, 30/3/548- 58

A Rational Voice Crying in an Emotional Wilderness, by John L. Morrison, 34/2/125-40

The Centrality of the Bible in Alexander Campbell's Thought and Life, by John L. Morrison, 35/3/185-204

Campbell's Post-Protestantism and Civil War Religion, by Mont Whitson, 37/2/109-21

West Virginia and Mormonism's Rarest Book, by Lisle G. Brown, 39/2-3/195-99

A. M. Grimes: Country Teacher and Itinerant Minister, by Berlin B. Chapman, 40/3/287-292

A Bicentennial Look at Francis Asbury in West Virginia, by William E. Phipps, 48/*/123-30

Jehovah's Witnesses and the Castor Oil Patriots: A West Virginia Contribution to Religious Liberty, by Chuck Smith, 57/*/95-110

The Mind of a Copperhead: Letters of John J. Davis on the Secession Crisis and Statehood Politics in Western Virginia, 1860-1862, by Gerald P. Ham, 24/2/93-109

West Virginia: Analysis of the Secession Ordnance Referendum, May 23, 1861, by Joseph F. Rishel, 32/1/49-54

R. M. T. Hunter and the Secession Crisis, 1860-1861: A Southern Plan for Reconstruction, by Jeffrey J. Crow, 34/3/273-90

Epistles from the Springs of Virginia, by William D. Hoyt, Jr., 3/4/267-274

Two Famous Springs of Eastern West Virginia, by Thomas Marshall Hunter, 6/2/193-204

The History of Salt Sulphur Springs, by James Reginald Kidd, 15/3/187-257

The History of Sweet Springs, Monroe County, West Virginia, by Barbara Ruth Kidd, part I 21/4/233-268 part II 22/1/19-26

Microcosm and "Magic Mountain": Interpretations of the Virginia Springs, by Louise McNeill Pease, 31/4/201-5

The Celebrated White Sulphur Springs of Greenbrier: Nineteenth Century Travel Accounts, by Robert S. Conte, 42/3-4/191-221

Shannondale Springs, by William D. Theriault, 57/*/1-26

Constitutional Issues Raised by West Virginia's Admission into the Union, by Victor Langford, 2/1/12-35

The Formation of West Virginia: Debates and Proceedings, by C. H. Ambler, 2/3/171-178

The Makers of West Virginia, by C. H. Ambler, 2/4/267-278 reprinted 47/*/13-22

Address of the Delegates Composing the New State Constitutional Convention to their Constituents, by C. H. Ambler, 3/2/156-170

The Press in the Making of West Virginia, by John Lewis Kiplinger, 6/2/127-176

A Study of the Rhetorical Events in the West Virginia Statehood Movement, by Joseph Howard Riggs, 17/3/191-251

Slavery as a Factor in the Formation of West Virginia, by George Ellis Moore, 18/1/5-89

Blair Enters through White House Window, by Boyd B. Stutler, 20/2/76-79

The Virginia Background for the History of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era in West Virginia: An Analytical Commentary, by Richard Orr Curry, 20/4/215-246

Opinions of President Lincoln and His Cabinet on Statehood for Western Virginia, 1862-1863, by Isaiah Alfonso Woodward, 21/3/158-185

Purposes and Progresses of West Virginia's Centennial Celebration Throughout 1963, by L. U. Leslie, 24/2/160-167

The Mind of a Copperhead: Letters of John J. Davis on the Secession Crisis and Statehood Politics in Western Virginia, 1860-1862, by Gerald P. Ham, 24/2/93-109

The Inequality of Representation in the General Assembly of Virginia: Memorial to the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Adopted at Full Meeting of the Citizens of Kanawha, 25/4/283-298

The West Virginia Incident - An Appraisal, by George E. Moore, 26/2/80-85 reprinted 47/*/23-28

West Virginia's First Delegation to Congress, by Sheldon Winston, 29/4/274-277

How West Virginia Became a Member of the Federal Union, A Reprint, by Virgil A. Lewis, 30/4/586-597

The New Dominion and the Old: Ante-bellum and Statehood Politics as the Background of West Virginia's "Bourbon Democracy," by John Alexander Williams, 33/4/317-407

Arthur I. Boreman in Fear of the Future of the New State, ed. by Isaiah A. Woodward, 34/4/382-388

Ideology and Perception: Democratic and Republican Attitudes on Civil War Politics and the Statehood Movement in West Virginia, by Richard O. Curry, 44/2/135-155

TRANSPORTATION & TRAVEL

Kanawha Trails, by Robert Hurley, 18/3/202-215

Charleston's Railroad, by Kyle McCormick, 21/3/197-199

The History of Sweet Springs, Monroe County, West Virginia, by Barbara Ruth Kidd, part I 21/4/233-268 part II 22/1/19-26

Philip Pendleton Kennedy: Author of The Blackwater Chronicle, by Cecil D. Eby Jr., 22/1/5-13

The Beech Mountain Railroad Company, by Michael J. Dunn III, 23/2/79-85

The Blackwater Chronicle: An Essay in Appreciation of Philip P. Kennedy's Book, by William S. Osborne, 23/4/287-96

The James River and Kanawha Canal, by Harry E. Handley, 25/2/92-101

The West Virginia Northern Railroad, by Michael J. Dunn III, 26/3/161-69

A West Virginia Pepys, by Charles Carpenter, 26/3/170-77

Steam Packets on the Kanawha River, by Herschel W. Burford, 27/2/111-35

Steamboats on the Kanawha: The Towboats, by Herschel W. Burford and William A. Barr, 30/2/472-505

Steamboat Whistles on the Coal, by William H. Dean, 32/4/267-78

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge, by Clifford M. Lewis, 33/3/203-33

Railroad Building and the Rise of the Port of Huntington, by Edwin A. Cubby, 33/3/234-47

Charles Ward and the James Rumsey: Regional Innovation in Steam Technology on the Western Rivers, by George P. Parkinson Jr. and Brooks F. McCabe Jr., 39/2-3/143-80

The Completion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad to the Ohio River, 1869-1873, by Charles Bias, 40/4/393-403

Chessie's Growth: Success and Failure, 1966-1973, by Charles V. Bias, 44/1/41-53

A King of France in Appalachia, by Dennis H. O'Brien, 41/3/245-56

Alexander Wilson's Description of the Ohio Valley in 1810, 41/3/257-64

Building the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike, by Emory L. and Janet Kemp, 41/4/299-332

The Celebrated White Sulphur Springs of Greenbrier: Nineteenth Century Travel Accounts, by Robert S. Conte, 42/3-4/191-221

James Rumsey and His Role in the Improvements Movement, by Emory Kemp, 48/*/1-6

James Rumsey: Pioneer Technologist, by Edwin T. Layton Jr., 48/*/7-32

James Rumsey and the Rise of Steamboating in the United States, by Brooke Hindle, 48/*/33-42

S. M. Prince and Morgantown's Metal Truss Bridges, 1899-1920, by Mary K. Williams, 48/*/109-22

The Kinnan Massacre, by Boyd B. Stutler, 1/1/30-48

A True Narrative of the Sufferings of Mary Kinnan, 1/1/49-56

My Life: Emma Cornelia Alderson, 1938, by Emma Frances Alderson, 7/2/109-140

Anne Bailey in West Virginia Tradition, by Grace M. Hall, 17/1/22-85

Women in West Virginia's Scheme of Education, by Roy C. Woods, 21/1/22-34

Women Authors of West Virginia, by Virginia Foulk, 25/3/206-210

Parkersburg: History of the City from Time of its Settlement to Present in Gripping Narrative from the Pen of the Late Miss Kate Harris, from the Parkersburg Dispatch-News of February 16, 1913, by Virginia Laughlin, 25/4/241-264

The Civil War's Most Over-Rated Spy, by Curtis Carroll Davis, 27/1/1-9

Women and Education in West Virginia, 1810-1909, by Kathryn Babb Vossler, 36/4/271-290

Death, Grief and Motherhood: The Woman Who Inspired Mother's Day, by James P. Johnson, 39/2-3/187-194

The Old Mother and Her Army: Agitative Strategies of Mary Harris Jones, by Pat Creech Scholten, 40/4/365-374

Helping to Hold the Fort: Elizabeth Zane at Wheeling, 1782, A Case Study in Renown, by Curtis Carroll Davis, 44/3/212-225

Elizabeth Kee: West Virginia's First Woman in Congress, by William H. Hardin, 45/*/109- 124

Exciting Battle and Dramatic Finish: The West Virginia Woman Suffrage Movement, by Anne Wallace Effland, part I, 1867-1916, 46/*/137-158 part II, West Virginia's Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, 48/*/61-92

West Virginia Women at Work: A Pictorial Sampler, by Debra Harmon Parson, 49/*/125-138

WORLD WAR I

West Virginia Editorial Opinion on United States Entry into World War I, by Eugene Francis Saunders, 16/1/5-38

The Doughboys and The Camp Lee Bayonet, by Ross B. Johnston, 20/2/69-75

The Department of Special Deputy Police, 1917-1919, by Merle T. Cole, 44/4/321-33

"I will write you a few lines": World War I Letters of the Greenlee Family, 59/*/85-143

WORLD WAR II

Poland&YumlIn Defense of Freedom, by Michael Kwapiszewski, 4/2/79-91

A Suggested Wartime Program for County Historical Societies, by Carrol H. Quenzel, 4/2/92-97

West Virginia's Part in World War II, by C. E. Roth, 4/2/112-117

Roane County in World War II, James G. Jones, 11/4/203-242

Calhoun County in World War II, by Eloise Gunn, 15/4/333-374

Berkeley County in World War II, by Patricia W. Alger, 16/3/161- 243

Log of the "Wee Vee": The US Battleship West Virginia, by Myron J. Smith Jr., Part I, 38/4/291- 303 Part II, 39/1/3-29

The Politics of World War II Science: Senator Harley M. Kilgore and the Legislative Origins of the National Science Foundation, by Robert F. Maddox, 41/1/20-39

The Coal Strikes of 1943, by Cathy Kunzinger Urwin, 45/*/91-108

Organizational Development of the West Virginia State Guard, 1942-1947, by Merle T. Cole, 46/*/73-88


Strummin' on the Old Banjo: How an African Instrument Got a Racist Reinvention

What’s the difference between a banjo and a lawnmower? You can tune a lawnmower. What’s the difference between a dead skunk in the middle of a road and a dead banjo player in the middle of a road? There are skid marks in front of the skunk. Speaking of which, how many banjo players does it take to eat a possum? Two, one to eat it and the other to watch for cars. And last but definitely not least, what do you call 100 banjos at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

“The banjo in postwar America was perceived primarily as a white, rural instrument.”

There are entire websites devoted to banjo jokes, so we could spend all day on this, but let’s not. Instead, hang on to those descriptions of unplayable instruments and moronic musicians eating roadkill. Though they may produce casual chuckles today, these jokes are actually rooted in the racist put-downs that were once directed at black banjo players in America, as we learned when we spoke recently to Laurent Dubois, whose new book, The Banjo: America’s African Instrument, was published in the spring of 2016 by Harvard University Press.

Dubois’s book arrives at a weirdly bipolar moment in Western cultural history. On the one hand, the five-string banjo has never been more popular. Winston Marshall of Mumford & Sons plays sold out concerts with a top-of-the-line Deering banjo strapped over his shoulder, as does Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers. On Broadway, “Bright Star,” which was co-written by the funniest banjo player alive, Steve Martin, enjoyed a spirited, if brief, run. And even pop idol Taylor Swift has woven the sound of the banjo (albeit a six-string variant that’s tuned like a guitar) into her multi-platinum repertoire.

Top: “The Banjo Player,” 1856, by William Sidney Mount. Via Wikimedia. Above: “The Old Plantation,” 1785-1790, depicts life on a South Carolina plantation. From the collection of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Courtesy SlaveryImages.org, a project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

At the same time, racism in the United States hasn’t been so naked in decades. Young African American men are routinely gunned down by peace officers, prompting everything from the #blacklivesmatter movement to the refusal of an African American quarterback in the NFL to stand at attention during the national anthem. For many, the presidential election in the United States is itself a referendum on racism, particularly as it applies to which religious groups should be allowed inside the nation’s borders, and whether portions of those borders should be visible from space after the construction of a massive wall.

What, you might ask, does racism have to do with the banjo, an instrument that for most people is no more controversial than the banjo-heavy theme song for “The Beverly Hillbillies”? Well, race is actually central to any conversation about banjos, or at least it should be. That’s what makes The Banjo so relevant in 2016. The book includes a detailed explication of the instrument’s African origins before the slave trade, its Caribbean evolution in the 16th to 18th centuries, and its racist reinvention in 19th-century America. After reading Dubois’s book, this old-timey instrument may never sound the same to you again.

“The roots of the banjo,” Dubois begins when we spoke over the phone recently, “are not found in one specific instrument from a particular place in Africa. Instead, the banjo is pan-African.” For example, to this day, the Hausa people of West Africa still play a number of instruments that could be considered predecessors of what we know in the West as the banjo. Among these are the kuntingo, which has just one camel-hair string, a bamboo neck, and a resonator covered in calfskin. There’s also the babbar garaya, which features two strings and a body fashioned from a halved gourd. An even more direct ancestor is the akonting, which is still played by the Jola people of Gambia and was first documented for Westerners by an 18th-century Scottish explorer named Mungo Park. The akonting not only has a gourd covered with an animal skin, but it also has a bridge for the instrument’s three strings. And just like on modern-day banjos, the shorter top, or bass, string is played with the thumb.

While the akonting is usually singled out as being the closest African instrument to the modern American banjo, all of the instrument’s pan-African predecessors share one key trait—an animal skin stretched over the top, or head, of the resonator, not unlike the heads on drums and tambourines. The backs, sides, and tops of lutes, violins, and other chordophones (the term for stringed instruments ranging from acoustic guitars to zithers) are always made of hard substances, usually wood or steel, but the heads of banjos are fashioned from pliable materials. In Africa, that material was typically animal hide, often goat or antelope.

“The only thing that connects this instrument across space and time is the drumhead,” Dubois says. Today, banjo heads are made out of a plastic called Mylar, a Mylar hybrid called FiberSkyn, or high-strength Kevlar, which the Deering Banjos website describes as having “a surface texture like an orange peel.” Presumably, the phrase “a surface texture like a freshly flattened possum” might have been just as accurate, but it probably wouldn’t have struck very many banjo players as funny.

There was also nothing funny about the instrument’s arrival in the New World. Actually, the banjo itself never left Africa, but memories of banjo-like instruments did. Those memories, alas, were no doubt among the few pleasant thoughts in the minds of the human beings who, beginning in the 16th century, were wrenched from their homes in West and Central Africa and sold into slavery. From what are now Senegal in the north to Angola in the south, regardless of their ethnic affiliation or language, these human beings were packed into ships like sardines for the Atlantic crossing to Brazil and numerous Caribbean nations, including what are now Haiti and Jamaica.

A page from Hans Sloane’s A Voyage to the Islands of Madera Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica, 1707. This image was taken from a copy of the book in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. Courtesy SlaveryImages.org, a project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Once in the New World, enslaved people who survived the voyage—the mortality rate for slaves shackled together in the holds of slave ships ranged from 10 to 25 percent per trip—were forced to grow, harvest, and mill cane, which was then shipped back across the Atlantic as sugar, to satisfy Europe’s growing appetite for sweets. Slave-worked tobacco and cotton plantations in the southeastern United States followed, in the 17th and 18th centuries respectively, spurring international commodity markets centuries before anyone had coined the word “globalization.”

Not surprisingly, it mattered little to a plantation owner in Haiti whether his slaves were Hausa, Jola, or whoever. On New World plantations, a back was a back and a pair of hands were a pair of hands, tools to be worked to death if necessary. Indeed, a centerpiece of this systematic dehumanization was to ignore an individual slave’s unique roots, which is actually how the one-size-fits-all concept of generic “African” identify first took hold in the West. People had family histories and homelands—property did not.

Eventually, all those memories of banjo-like instruments in the minds of all those Hausas, Jolas, and whoevers coalesced into banzas, banjas, banjers, banjous, and bangiers, as just a few of the various New World incarnations of banjos were called. At some point, “banjo” became the word used to describe an instrument played by people called “Africans,” each term at once defining its object and stripping it of its deeper, more nuanced meaning.

Replica by Pete Ross of the banjo in the painting called “The Old Plantation” shown above. Via Pete Ross Custom Banjos.

In relatively short order, the gourd banjo bodies, or resonators, that had been so common in West Africa were replaced with gourd-like calabashes, which grew in abundance in the New World. Similarly, with no ready supply of camel or elephant hair for strings, New World banjo makers—which for hundreds of years meant enslaved people—turned to horse hair or tough, stringy plants such as vines. With musical raw materials just as common in the New World as they had been in West Africa, plantations throughout the Americas were soon humming with the sounds of the old country.

“Almost everybody on New World plantations would’ve remembered the sound of some kind of instrument with a resonator,” Dubois says. “The rest of the instrument might have been different, but the basic sound would have been familiar.” To hear what these instruments could have sounded like, Dubois and a couple of colleagues have created a site called Musical Passage, which features music that they perform based on transcriptions recorded by an Englishman named Hans Sloane, who visited what is now Jamaica for 18 months during 1687 and 1688.

According the Dubois, this auditory uniformity served both musicians and audiences well. “If you were a slave in Haiti,” he says, “and you played an instrument whose music was only familiar to one group of people but unfamiliar to another, as a musician, you’d basically be signaling that you were only playing for that first group.” The plantation dynamic, Dubois says, “created an interesting demand—to play music that crossed boundaries so that it appealed to people from different parts of Africa.” It was in this context that instruments such as the kuntingo, babbar garaya, and akonting, became the banza, banjer, and, eventually, the banjo.

A contemporary gourd banjo by Pete Ross, based on traditional designs used by the Mande people of West Africa. Via Pete Ross Custom Banjos.

Like the banjo itself, there are African antecedents for the slaves who played them. Foremost among these musical forebears is the class of professional musicians called griots (pronounced “gree-ohs”), who are still revered in parts of West Africa today. Though it’s unclear to Dubois exactly how far back the griots go, they are first referenced in African literature in the Sundiata Epic of 14th century Mali. In that tale, a griot named Balla Fasseke helps the epic’s hero, Sundiata Keita, become Mali’s king. Beyond that plot point, the epic specifies that griots were the “depositories of the knowledge of the past,” which they perpetuated via music and song.

“The griots,” Dubois writes in The Banjo, “became not only the players of these instruments but also their makers… In particular, a group of instruments with an oblong wooden body covered with an animal skin resonator—and known variously as the xalam, ngoni, or huddu (among other names)—were familiar in many different regions.” When played by the griots, Dubois writes, “these instruments were celebrated and understood as vital participants in the transmission of memory and history,” making them, “powerful symbols, condensing history and lineage, their sound connecting the living to generations of their ancestors.”

Accordingly, the griots and their heirs, who also became griots, were given great privileges by West African kings, even permitted, as described in the Sundiata Epic, to “make jokes about all the tribes, and in particular the royal tribe of Keita.”

“They are kind of like court jesters,” Dubois tells me, “but it is a more dignified status than that because they are also the keepers of the memory of the kingdom. They’re the ones who can recount from memory the royal family genealogies, as well as the roots of their own families, going back hundreds and hundreds of years.”

A replica by Pete Ross of the “Haiti Banza.” The original has been in the collection of the Musee de la Musique, Paris, since 1840. Via Pete Ross Custom Banjos.

Just as importantly, if not more so for the enslaved musicians that followed them, griots help their societies look forward. “They can inspire the future,” Dubois says, “in the sense that they use the past to help a particular king or army or group figure out what to do today. We had a modern-day griot come to Duke University, where I teach,” Dubois adds, “and he emphasized that they think of themselves as peacemakers, as people who can negotiate between different social groups or even amid political conflicts inasmuch as knowledge of the past can help people deal with the present. So, in some ways, the role the griots play condenses the role musicians often play in societies, although in the griot case, it’s much more formalized because it’s hereditary.”

On the Caribbean plantations of the 17th and 18th centuries, such past-to-future perspectives were crucial to the social structure of the enslaved. “Because the experience of plantation slaves in the Caribbean and elsewhere was so extreme,” Dubois says, “it’s not surprising that it produced musicians who were adept at playing this very unique role.”

As the primary instrument of plantation musicians, the banjo became a symbol of transformation and transition—be it the journey from Africa to the New World, or passage from pain and suffering in the present to relief and redemption in the hereafter. Indeed, one of the occasions when a banjo would just about always be heard was the funeral. In particular, in the Haiti of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the sounds produced by musicians playing banjos were thought to have healing powers. For example, one banjo Dubois came across in his preparation for his book is a Haitian banjo with three leaves carved on its wide neck, a reference, perhaps, to an 18th-century Haitian musician named Trois-Feuilles. More broadly, Dubois writes, the carving may have been meant to confirm “the role of herbal knowledge within the system of physical and spiritual healing that is Haitian Vodou.”

A Pete Rose re-creation of the banjo shown in Hans Sloane’s A Voyage to the Islands of Madera Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica from 1707. Via Pete Ross Custom Banjos.

“For me, that is heart of the book,” Dubois says. “I’ve studied Haiti for years, but this is an aspect of Haitian culture and history that hadn’t been done before. It took a lot of steps to figure out that it wasn’t just a random symbol but possibly a connection to this idea in Haitian Vodou about leaves, three leaves in particular, which are a symbol for herbal knowledge and healing. It’s a link back to Africa—so much of Haitian Vodou is an articulation of how even in exile you can reconstitute Africa and connect back to it. In many of the ceremonial aspects of Vodou, one actually calls on spirits, who represent a connection to Africa. When called, they will return to spend time with their children or descendants, transported from one continent to another via the spiritual realm. Admittedly, Haitian Vodou is almost certainly not the first thing people in America today think about when they hear the word ‘banjo,’ but once I established this possible connection, it just made so much sense that music, which is almost universally seen as healing, via the banjo, would’ve been used to impart this spiritual practice.”

“As the primary instrument of plantation musicians, the banjo became a symbol of transformation and transition.”

Naturally, this sort of thing made a lot of white slaveholders of European descent nervous, although they were not always of one mind when it came to what to do about the music being produced by their human property. Some simply did not permit music on their plantations at all, and the banjo was often banned, lest it be used to communicate coded acts of rebellion and spur uprisings on plantations, activities that were even more worrisome to slaveholders than something as nebulous as sonic Vodou. Other slaveholders, though, took advantage of the talent of their slaves, compelling musicians on their plantations to perform for guests at their parties, sometimes even inviting musicians of color into their white homes on special occasions. For these slaveholders, race and class were less important than good music—for a few moments, anyway.

Which is not to say that slaveholders who appreciated the musical skills of their slaves were enlightened precursors to Abraham Lincoln. In fact, Dubois’s book contains numerous references to newspaper advertisements written by slaveholders searching for their runaway slaves. In addition to the usual list of distinguishing characteristics—age, height, weight, scars—these slaveholders would also highlight the ability of their slaves to play instruments such as fiddles and banjos. As a result, runaways ran the risk of being caught in the act of playing music, which happened to be one of the few ways for people of color to earn money away from the plantation. For runaway slaves, music could be a trap.

Illustration of “A Carolina rice planter” from “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine,” 1859. Image taken from a copy of the magazine in the Special Collections Department of the University of Virginia Library. Courtesy SlaveryImages.org, a project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Tellingly, slaveholders were so desperate to reclaim their human property, they even mustered a tactical interest in their runaways’ tribal ethnicity. As Dubois describes it in The Banjo, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, slaveholder advertisements in a Haitian newspaper called “Les Affiches Americaines” included the names of more than 200 African ethnic groups, alongside the references to height, weight, and scars. As with the ability to play a banjo, a slave’s ethnicity was often the difference between his freedom or capture. Ironically, these runaways would have been better off cloaked in the dehumanized anonymity of being generically “African.”

If slaveholders were not of one mind when it came to the presence of banjos and music on their plantations, early ethnographers were just as confused, although their perspectives generally corresponded to their view of slavery, which by the 18th century was finally being questioned in the form of abolitionist movements in Europe and slave revolts in the Caribbean. Apologists for slavery saw the sounds of banjos and bones—percussive sticks that were clacked together to provide a rhythm for a song—as evidence that the enslaved were actually happy. If slaves were really so miserable and resentful of their lot in life, this tin-eared argument went, why do they sing and dance so much? But abolitionist observers, noting the enormous effort required to play music into the wee hours after an exhausting day in the fields, saw music as evidence of the value enslaved people placed on those precious moments when they could finally do as they pleased. For many, hearing the sound of a banjo was literally more important than getting a good night’s sleep.

By the beginning of the 19th century, that sound had become increasingly familiar to the white residents of the Southern United States, but not because the sweet melodies of late-night slave hootenannies were wafting across dew-dappled cotton fields and into their humble homes. Rather, in 1808, when the Slave Trade Act of 1807 took effect, enslaved people could no longer be imported into the United States, as had been the practice for almost 200 years. That meant the 1.2 million enslaved people living in the United States, representing just under 20 percent of the population, would need to be moved around the country to meet the demands of the burgeoning cotton empire—spurred by Eli Whitney’s 1793 cotton gin—and the country’s expanding borders—the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 roughly doubled the young nation’s size.

Illustration from an 1852 copy of a critique of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Robert Criswell. Courtesy SlaveryImages.org, a project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

In general, the migration of slaves within the United States went from east to west, and it was not a pretty sight, as recalled by a British traveler named George Featherstonhaugh, who wrote about his encounter in Virginia with a “coffle” of several hundred shackled male slaves, plus a number enslaved women and children, on their way to be auctioned to the highest bidder in Natchez, Mississippi. The men, Featherstonhaugh wrote, were “manacled and chained to each other,” while the slave traders, in their “broad-brimmed white hats,” stood nearby, “laughing and smoking cigars.” In The Banjo, Dubois quotes Featherstonhaugh’s undisguised disgust: “Black men in fetters, torn from the lands where they were born, from the ties they had formed … driven by white men, with liberty and equality in their mouths, to a distant and unhealthy country, to perish in the sugar-mills of Louisiana!”

Naturally, enslaved people would routinely try to escape their bonds in an effort to avoid such a fate. Counterintuitively, perhaps, the slave traders occasionally fought this impulse by hiring, as Featherstonhaugh writes, “Other negroes trained by the slave-dealers to drive the rest, whom they amused by lively stories, boasting of the fine warm climate they are going to, and of the oranges and sugar which are there to be had for nothing.” These black storytellers, “urging the men to be merry,” as Dubois puts it, often accompanied themselves on the banjo. Slave traders even had black banjo players perform during slave auctions, so much so that the table upon which a slave stood, so that would-be masters could get a good look at the merchandise, was sometimes called the “banjo table.”

If chance encounters such as these were one way whites learned about black performers who played the African banjo, a ticket to the theater was the other. For it was in the early 1800s that minstrel shows took the country by storm, offering white audiences a rose-hued view of life on Southern plantations, performed by whites wearing blackface.

White performers pretending to be black for white audiences? Apparently, ’twas ever thus. Indeed, according to Dubois, we in the 21st century are still living with legacies from the minstrel shows of the 19th. There are the little things, like the word “ham,” which still describes an actor who overacts, but comes from the practice of mixing ham fat with burnt cork to make the black makeup that white minstrels applied to their faces to disguise their race. Far more insidiously, the minstrel shows codified racist stereotypes about African Americans—from their “natural” sense of rhythm (less a compliment than an explanation of how uneducated musicians could possibly be so good) to their manner of speaking (the most offensive examples of black Southern dialects were written, rehearsed, and perfected by white minstrels).

Re-creation by Jim Hartel of a banjo made by Joel Walker Sweeney in 1845. Via Hartel Banjos.

The banjo climbed onto the minstrel stage in 1839, when a white Virginia musician named Joel Walker Sweeney played his banjo in blackface at the Old Italian Opera House in New York City, providing musical interludes between the plate spinners, opera singers, and magicians. Even in the hands of Sweeney, though, the banjo was considered an African instrument. “When whites are having to dress up as blacks in order to play the banjo,” Dubois says, “it becomes a reminder that the banjo is really a black instrument.”

According to Dubois, Sweeney earned positive reviews from “The New York Herald Tribune,” and was so confident of his career prospects that he turned down an offer from none other than P. T. Barnum (circuses like Barnum’s were prime employers of blackface performers in those days).

Sweeney was soon “banjoizing,” as one newspaper put it, throughout New England, and by 1841, advertisements for his performances touted the “scientific touches” of his banjo playing, a not-so-subtle attempt to assure white audiences that this white musician was fully in control of the “primitive” properties of what was widely understood at the time to be an African instrument. Sweeney put action behind his marketing hype by playing a banjo that had an additional fifth string, which increased its melodic range. This, writes Dubois, led some subsequent scholars and partisans to claim that Sweeney had actually invented the banjo, which he certainly did not—in fact, he was probably not even the first American to play one with a fifth string. Still, the five-string banjo became the standard form of the instrument throughout the 19th century, in no small part due to Sweeney’s popularization, and it remains the banjo standard to this day.

Sheet music from 1843 for the Virginia Minstrels. Via Wikipedia.

Evidence of the banjo’s African roots was everywhere throughout the minstrel era, although the geographical references often strayed from the West and Central African homelands of America’s enslaved people. The Virginia Minstrels, who first performed under that name in 1843, included a piece titled “Ethiopian Serenade” in their repertoire, Ethiopia being in East Africa. Their banjo player, William Whitlock, played a four-string “Congo” banjo, which geographically speaking was at least a bit closer to the mark.

In those days, most of the banjos played by the early blackface minstrels were also African—or at least Caribbean—in their construction. These handmade, one-of-a-kind instruments generally featured gourd or calabash resonators, a fair number of which were covered with woodchuck hide. Even J. W. Sweeney played an African-style banjo. But catching woodchucks, skinning them, and then nailing their tanned hides to the sides of fragile gourds was a lot of work for a performer on tour, and something most aspiring urban banjo players were unprepared to do.

In 1837, the drum came to their rescue. That’s when a metal drumhead tensioning rod was patented. This simple device held drumheads in place better than nails or tacks. A few years later, in 1840, a Baltimore musical-instruments store owned by William. E. Boucher, Jr. began using this device to hold down the heads of the banjos it began to produce to meet the growing banjo demand. “In addition to the new method for attaching the skin,” Dubois writes in The Banjo, “the necks were elegantly carved with distinctive peg heads, usually in an ‘S’ shape.” Soon, builders were manufacturing banjos in batches rather than one at a time, cutting multiple pieces of pear, maple, mahogany, or rosewood for the necks, and patenting parts designed to make the instrument more durable and improve its tone.

Re-creation by Jim Hartel of a Boucher banjo from around 1850. Via Hartel Banjos.

Beyond the banjo’s physical reinvention, the instrument was also given a new coat of cultural paint. Its new color would be white.

The transformation of the banjo from a black African instrument to a white American one occurred from the 1840s through the 1880s, the decades when the banjo’s popularity exploded and took hold. The motivations were equal parts racism and the chase for the almighty buck, as manufacturers such as the Dobson Brothers, and Samuel Swain Stewart, along with banjo proselytizers such as Joel Chandler Harris (author of the Uncle Remus stories) and Frank Converse, made two basic arguments. First, the gourd and calabash instruments played on plantations and minstrel stages were primitive objects, arguably not even banjos at all, at best mere prototypes for the more technologically advanced instruments made by American manufacturers. Second, slaves were too stupid to play these instruments with anything approaching virtuosity, so their contribution to the instrument’s history is just as well ignored.

One other motivation for this cultural deception was the urge to define America’s place on the world stage. “A key irony,” Dubois says of the banjo’s 19th-century revisionist history, “is that in order for Victorian America to distinguish itself from Europe, it needed a really American instrument to crow about. But the only place where you could get an American instrument was, of course, from black culture. How they navigated that is fascinating because no one could ever really escape the truth. Still, Stewart, Dobson, and the rest of them succeeded to the extent that it’s still a surprise to many people today to learn that the banjo was originally a black or African American instrument.”

Sheet music for the Ethiopian Serenaders from 1847. Via Old Hat Records.

The lies perpetrated about the banjo varied, but they all reinforced the proposition that the instrument’s connection with enslaved people was tenuous. In his history of the instrument, banjo maker George Dobson admitted that the banjo had African antecedents, but he also imagined that “Negro slaves, seeing and hearing their mistresses playing on the guitar, were seized by that emulative and imitative spirit characteristic of the race, and proceeded to make a guitar of their own out of a hollow gourd, with a coon-skin stretched across for a head.” Stewart, after first claiming that the banjo “was not of negro origin,” relented a few years later, explaining somewhat apologetically that “Truth has often come into the world through lowly channels.”

“You can actually track the history of how the idea of the banjo has evolved,” Dubois says of the instrument’s whitewashing. “These ideas weren’t just ‘in the air.’ Nineteenth-century boosters like Stewart worked really hard to make the banjo not African, to unhinge it from its history. We’re still living with that.”

Harris and Converse were even more full-throated in their racism. Citing the banjo’s use in blackface minstrel shows, Harris suggested that “The whole idea of its origins on the plantations was a theatrical fantasy,” as Dubois puts it in The Banjo. Converse, who made his living publishing manuals for white audiences to teach them how to play the banjo, flattered his readers by assuring them that “There were no players among the slaves capable of arousing its slumbering powers,” insisting that only “white admirers in the North” could awaken the instrument’s “inherent beauties.” Never mind that the techniques in his book were as stolen from enslaved people as the banjo itself. The banjo’s destiny, Converse wrote, need not be as “an accompaniment to the darkey song that told of the cotton fields, cane brakes, ‘possum hunts, sweet tobacco posies, or ‘Gwine to Alabama wid banjo on my knee,’ etc.”

Sheet music from 1848 for the Christy Minstrels, including “Oh! Susanna” by Stephen Foster. Courtesy of the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music, The Sheridan Libraries, The Johns Hopkins University.

That last line, of course, is a reference to the great American songwriter Stephen Foster’s “Oh! Susanna,” which he wrote in 1847, was popularized by the Christy Minstrels, and became one of the most famous works of American music. “The black narrator of the song sings in dialect,” Dubois writes, “telling of his search for his love Susanna, whom he hopes to find in New Orleans.” But, as Dubois notes, the most likely way a black man in the 1840s could have traveled from Alabama to New Orleans in the 1840s was as a slave, and probably manacled to others to “perish in the sugar-mills of Louisiana,” as British traveler George Featherstonhaugh had described it.

In fact, Dubois writes, Foster probably got the idea for “Oh! Susanna” from a slave ballad with similar lyrics, which was published in an abolitionist journal from 1835. Thus, Dubois writes, “Foster may have turned a song clearly sung from the perspective of a slave being forced to Louisiana into a comic story of lovelorn wandering.” Foster’s revisions made “Oh! Susanna” a hit on the minstrel stage, where it was frequently performed, making it one of the most famous examples of how the connection between banjos and enslaved people was downplayed, if not outright disregarded.

By the late 1880s, though, with legal slavery fully replaced by racist Jim Crow laws, Africans Americans were slowly reclaiming the banjo as their own. One of their first steps was to apply blackface to their dark complexions and pretend to be white men pretending to be black men in the still popular minstrel shows. According to Dubois, this “black minstrelsy,” as it’s known, was the first opportunity for all but a handful of African Americans to take the stage as professional performers. “This tradition,” he writes, “created a foundation for the performance practices of the twentieth, and even twenty-first, centuries.”

“The Banjo Lesson,” circa 1893, by Mary Cassatt. Via the National Gallery of Art. Gift of Mrs. Jane C. Carey as an addition to the Addie Burr Clark Memorial Collection.

Fortunately, black minstrelsy was not the only banjo tradition for African Americans to look back upon. At the turn of the century, hundreds of African American musicians like Horace Weston and Ike Simonds were also playing banjos as themselves, without having to resort to redundant and degrading makeup. Others performed in circuses or in all-black musical groups and ensembles, including with the Fisk Jubilee Singers, ex-slaves all, who performed religious numbers and songs about their families and friends on the plantation—pointedly, these numbers excluded references to their former masters.

Encouraged by this revival in black string-band music, as the 20th century dawned, a number of prominent African Americans intellectuals made it their mission to draw attention to the corrosiveness of the minstrelsy legacy. They knew that as long as caricatures and stereotypes of African Americans were being perpetuated onstage, African Americans would struggle to get ahead in real life. Foremost among this group was W. E. B. Du Bois (no relation to Laurent Dubois, in case you’re wondering), the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard, among other milestones.

Du Bois’s musical champion arrived in 1910 in the form of James Reese Europe, who had studied music under John Philip Sousa in Washington, D.C. before moving to New York, where he founded the Clef Club. Initially, the goal of this all-African American organization was to improve wages and performing opportunities for African American musicians, but the Clef Club is best remembered for the band and orchestra that bore its name.

James Reese Europe and the Clef Club Band, 1914. Photograph by R.E. Mercer. Courtesy Digital Collections, The New York Public Library.

Drawing as it did from the available pool of African American talent, Europe’s 125-member orchestra was dominated by banjos, mandolins, and guitars, as well as 10 upright pianos. By 1912, the Clef Club Orchestra was so acclaimed, it was invited to play Carnegie Hall, where Europe’s musicians performed before a mixed-race audience—both events being highly unusual at the time. The performance was so well received that by 1913, the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Europe’s orchestra was touring the eastern United States, and always playing to racially mixed audiences, except in the former capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia, where seating segregation prevailed.

In 1919, Europe was stabbed to death by one of his drummers in a dispute, but the Clef Club Orchestra had established a sound that would outlive the visionary bandleader, namely, a rhythm section propelled by the strumming of the old banjo. This, in turn, spawned New Orleans Dixieland jazz. Indeed, as early as 1915, the banjo was so intertwined with the nascent New Orleans jazz scene that the sheet music for pianist Jelly Roll Morton’s “Jelly Roll Blues” featured a banjoist on its cover. By 1918, a banjo player named Johnny St. Cyr was playing alongside Louis Armstrong on a New Orleans riverboat, and St. Cyr would become a fixture in New Orleans clubs and on early New Orleans jazz records, the most prized of which featured Armstrong on trumpet.

In 1915, the sheet music for pianist Jelly Roll Morton’s “The Jelly Roll Blues” featured a banjo player on its cover.

Throughout the 1920s, no self-respecting bandleader would fail to employ a banjo player. In fact, one of Duke Ellington’s first bands, the Washingtonians, was founded by a banjo player named Elmer Snowden. When Ellington took over, he hired Fred Guy as Snowden’s replacement—Guy played with the Washingtonians until World War II.

In the end, though, the 1920s would prove a bad decade for the banjo, thanks in no small part to the invention of the microphone in 1927. Many African American musicians had already been moving away from the uniformly loud and metallic-sound of the banjo in favor of the softer and warmer tones of the guitar, which made it better suited to a rising genre known as the blues. Microphones allowed these quieter compositions to be heard by audiences. Then, in the 1930s, guitar makers such as C. F. Martin introduced a number of new lines of larger, louder guitars, which made the instrument an even more versatile. By World War II, Dubois writes, banjo sales were crashing, while untold numbers of Gibson, Fairbanks, Vega, Bacon & Day, and Paramount banjos were either tossed onto scrap heaps to help the war effort or left to languish in pawnshops.

In the 1940s and 󈧶s, Pete Seeger’s love for the banjo helped start the modern folk-music revival. Via Wikipedia.

That’s where a teenage Pete Seeger got his first banjo, a four-string tenor model, in 1932. A few years later, he bought his second banjo, a five-string Stewart, in a different pawnshop for just five bucks. By 1948, the Caucasian Yankee had learned so many banjo songs from so many corners of America, including the future Civil Rights anthem “We Shall Overcome,” that he was able to write the definitive manual on the instrument, How to Play the 5-String Banjo. Seeger’s winning stage persona and invaluable book were a one-two punch, igniting a folk-inspired banjo revival that was embraced by a new generation of mostly white musicians in the mid-1950s.

Meanwhile, in 1945, a North Carolina banjo player named Earl Scruggs had joined a Kentucky mandolin player named Bill Monroe in his highly influential band, the Blue Grass Boys, from which the lightning-fast, percussive style of playing gets its name. Within a few years, Scruggs and Monroe’s guitarist, Lester Flatt, had formed their own bluegrass band, the Foggy Mountain Boys. In The Banjo, Dubois recounts a story told by Seeger’s brother, Mike, about how the brothers and their banjo-playing friends would gather at Pete’s house to try and figure out just how Scruggs did it. By 1955, Seeger had enough intelligence on Scruggs’s three-finger picking style that he added a short chapter to How to Play the 5-String Banjo about the “Scruggs-style banjo.”

A Flatt and Scruggs album from 1960. Earl Scruggs played the banjo so fast, it was even tough for Pete Seeger to figure out his technique.

Countless bluegrass bands followed, including the Clinch Mountain Boys, the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, and the Osborne Brothers, to name but a very few. Before long, the banjo in postwar America was perceived primarily as a white, rural instrument, whose bright, aggressive sound, Dubois writes, signaled the presence of “a backward, primitive, and frightening white southern culture.” This menacing side of the banjo, which is no doubt not what Pete Seeger had in mind, is exemplified in the 1972 film “Deliverance,” which featured the famous “Dueling Banjos” duet between a hillbilly boy and a businessman, who share nothing in common except a love for the language of the banjo and the velocity of its notes.

The “Dueling Banjos” scene from the 1972 film “Deliverance.”

But if the banjo was perceived by many as a white instrument by the mid-20th century, it still had its African American virtuosos, even if most of them would go through life without acclaim. The great singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist Taj Mahal was influenced by at least two such anonymous figures. “One of my earliest encounters with the banjo was when I was 9 or 10 years old,” Mahal told me when we spoke on the phone the other day. “Me and an old guy from West Virginia or Kentucky used to look after a veterinarian’s place. After the vet would go home, he would play fiddle, mandolin, and banjo.

“Another encounter was later on, I’d say the early 󈨀s,” Mahal continues, “when I was a member of the Elektras, the group I was with at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. We were playing one day on campus, and after we took a break, a Dixieland band started up and this banjo player started doing ‘Fly Me to the Moon.’ I was like, ‘Wait a second, let’s see what this is all about.’ So I walked over, and there was this very well dressed, very sophisticated, African American gentleman playing with some younger guys—they wanted to learn Dixieland and he was showing them a lot of different tunes. I ended up talking to him during his break about the banjo, how much he loved the instrument, and how his dad and uncles and aunts and everybody in his family played it. Pretty soon, I had to get back to what I was doing, but it was really great because he was so friendly and open.”

Mahal also benefited from the folk revival started by Pete Seeger and others. “Once that whole movement was happening at the Newport Folk Festivals,” Mahal says of the famous 1960s concerts in nearby Rhode Island, “I really got the chance to see and hear the instrument up close.” And, of course, there were resources at UMass. “There were a lot of people on campus that played banjo,” Mahal remembers. “I got involved with the folklore society, where we heard a lot of people play different kinds of styles of drop-thumb, clawhammer, double-thumb, and three-finger picking styles, all kinds of stuff. So there was a sufficient amount of information to get me interested and to stay with it until I eventually met people who knew how to play the original West African instruments.”

Dubois’s professional interest in the banjo also came by playing it. “I started playing the instrument over a decade ago,” he says. “I realized, though, that if I really wanted to understand the banjo, I had to understand its context. It wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t connected to all these different histories in Africa, the Caribbean, the South. The history of the instrument is one of the things that actually makes it so powerful. It’s not just a sonic object but a cultural symbol. There’s probably no instrument in the world that’s had more stuff projected onto it.”

Buck Owens (left) and Roy Clark on the “Hee Haw” television show, circa 1975.

Which, finally, brings us back to those jokes. By the end of reading The Banjo, you may think you know where those jokes comes from, and you’d be right if your suspicion is that they are rooted in racism. But just as it’s too imprecise to say the “banjo” is an “African” instrument, it’s also too imprecise to say that all banjo jokes are rooted in the same type of racism. The question is, which flavor?

I put that to Greg Adams, who is the Smithsonian’s banjo guy (not his actual title, but you get the idea), an avid banjo player, and a tireless advocate for the instrument. Not surprisingly, Adams has heard more than his share of banjo jokes.

“When someone comes up to me and says, ‘Hey, do you know any good banjo jokes?’ I’m like, ‘Well, do you want to go back to the late 18th century to look at Colonial songsters poking fun at enslaved persons, or are you looking for something from the blackface minstrelsy era, where maybe you’ve got an Arkansas traveler denigrating somebody of African American descent? Or perhaps you’d like something more recent, say the late 19th century, a coon song, in which the racism is in overdrive. Or, we can do the “Hee Haw” thing, where the racism is built on top of stereotypes of white ruralness.’

“In other words,” Adams continues, “when I look at what’s going on with all these jokes from the vantage point of the 21st century, they are all extensions of the same continuum, of cultures clashing and coming together. Eventually, you get past the jokes enough to ask the more interesting question about the banjo: ‘What does its history actually mean?’”

Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon represents the latest generation of musicians to pick up the banjo.

For Taj Mahal, the answer to that question is simple—music.

“In this country,” Mahal says, “everything moves really fast, and if you don’t get a good perspective, from far enough away, you can’t see the changes. You might even assume that something’s gone, finished, because it doesn’t have a popular expression that’s being promoted in the marketplace. For a while, the ‘Nashville Mafia’ managed to shut down steel guitars, banjos, and mandolins, but there are still lots of bands—the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leftover Salmon—that don’t worry about what the trend is. Play some music, that’s the point. It shouldn’t have to be ‘indigenous music,’ ‘folk,’ or ‘the blues,’ put in some box off to the side because it’s not commercial. Culture is more important than making money.”

(“The Banjo: America’s African Instrument” is available from Amazon. If you buy something through a link in this article, Collectors Weekly may get a share of the sale. Learn more.)


Don Cunningham

DON CUNNINGHAM. Although one of the younger mem-
bers of the Braxton County Bar Association, Don Cunning-
ham has already proven his ability as a lawyer and worth
as a man, and is enjoying a large and growing practice at
Gassaway. He is a veteran of the World war, and his record
as a soldier is characteristic of the man. He was born in
Randolph County, West Virginia, June 17, 1895, a son
of David S. and Minnie (Warner) Cunningham, born in
1858 and 1865, respectively. The paternal grandfather was
Solomon F. Cunningham, and the family is of Scotch-Irish
descent. David S. Cunningham was reared on a farm, and
educated in the free and normal schools of West Virginia.
During his younger years he was engaged in teaching school
and held a first-grade certificate, but later on in life carried
on an extensive business as a lumber merchant, and was a
member of the lumberman’s organization known as Hoo
Hoos. In his political sentiments and actions he was a re-
publican, and stanch in his party support. The Presbyte-
rian Church held his membership. The following children
were born to him and his wife: Guy, who is a graduate of
the Keyser preparatory branch of West Virginia University,
and is at home Warren, who is auditor of the Central West
Virginia & Southern Railroad Margaret, the wife of Floyd
Harris Robert, a resident of Montrose, Randolph County,
West Virginia and Don, whose name heads this review.

Don Cunningham was reared in Randolph and Tucker
counties, and attended the public schools, the West Virginia
Preparatory School at Keyser, West Virginia, and Wash-
ington and Lee University, being graduated from the law
department of the latter institution with the degree of
Bachelor of Laws. In 1917 Mr. Cunningham enlisted in his
country’s service as a private, rose through the ranks to
second lieutenant, and was at Camp Lee as an instructor
when the armistice was signed. Following his honorable
discharge he was placed in the Officers’ Reserve Corps of the
United States army. Following his discharge Mr. Cunning-
ham went to Elkins, West Virginia, and took the West
Virginia bar examination, was admitted to the bar Septem-
ber 30, 1919, for a short time was engaged in practice at
Elkins, and in March, 1921, came to Gassaway, where he
has since remained.

Mr. Cunningham married, March 12, 1921, Miss Ida L.
League, a graduate of the public schools and the Southern
Seminary at Buena Vista, Virginia. She is a daughter of
John S. and Grace B. (Woolford) Leagne, the former of
whom is a jeweler of Gassaway. Mr. Cunningham belongs
to Gassaway Lodge No. 196, K. of P., in which he is master
of finance and to the Loyal Order of Moose. Mrs. Cun-
ningham is a member of the Pythian Sisters. She is an
active worker in and member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, to which Mr. Cunningham is a liberal contributor.
The republican party and ticket receives the strong support
of the Cunninghams. Thoroughly abreast of the times, with
excellent abilities, both natural and carefully trained, Mr.
Cunningham brings to his practice and also to his civic
responsibilities the enthusiasms of youth and the results of
thoughtful preparation, and is rapidly advancing to a strong
position among the legal practicioners of his native state.


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