banjo, Bill Frazier, Brandon Kirk, Cain Adkins, Daisy Ross, Eternity Is So Long, fiddlers, Green McCoy, Green McCoy Jr., Harkins Fry, Harts Creek, Heaven on My Mind, history, Jesus Walked All the Way, Lincoln County, Milt Haley, music, Ranger, Sherman McCoy, Stamps Baxter, Time Is Passing By, West Virginia, writing
Inspired by Brandon’s visit to Daisy Ross, I called her to ask if she knew that Green and Milt were fiddlers.
“Brother Sherman and brother Green’s father was a fiddle player,” she said. “Mom said he was the best she ever heard. I didn’t know what Milt played — they played together — but Green played the fiddle. Brother Sherman played a banjo. Brother Sherman could play any kind of music. I guess Green McCoy could, too.”
I asked about Sherman’s tunes and Daisy said, “I remember when I was little and I wanted him to play that ‘Indian Girl’ and he’d have to tune that banjo different. He’s been gone fifty-some years but he was a good banjo player. He was a singing teacher. Three of my brothers was singing school teachers. Sherman and Green, and then my full brother Harkins Fry, he made music. He wrote songs all the time. He musta wrote a thousand or more and had them in Gospel songbooks. ‘Heaven On My Mind’, ‘Eternity Is So Long’ and ‘Jesus Walked All the Way’. The first ones he wrote, he was just a teenager; he was about sixteen, I think. ‘Time Is Passing By’ — he sent that off and got a thousand copies made of it and after that they liked his music so they went to putting them in songbooks and they put two in every Stamps Baxter songbook that come out.”
I was really curious to hear more about the Adkins family’s exodus from Harts Creek but Daisy only added a few new details.
“I don’t know exactly where they got on the boat at, but they got off at Ranger and had to store their stuff there at somebody’s house,” she said. “Grandpa got a man down here, Bill Frazier, to go up with a wagon and haul their stuff down. People had a hard time then.”