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Notable Characters rss

Levon Helm

December 20, 2018

Mark Lavon(Levon) Helm was born on May 26, 1940 outside Elaine in Phillips County, Arkansas to Nell and Diamond Helm.  He had two sisters and one brother. The Helms had a cotton farm and the family lived around Marvel, which is in the western part of Phillips County.  His family encouraged him to play and… Read More ›

John Smith Phelps: Military Governor of Arkansas

John Smith Phelps was born in Sinsbury, Hartford County, Connecticutt on December 22, 1814.  He graduated from Trinity College and was admitted to the bar in 1835.  Soon after, the Phelps family moved to Springfield in Greene County, Missouri. Mr. Phelps married Mary Whitney and together they would have five children.  They were John Elisha,… Read More ›

William Henry Grey

William Henry Grey was born on December 22, 1829 in Washington, D.C.  His mother was Elizabeth Grey, who was a slave until being granted her freedom by Henry Alexander Wise.  Wise was a U.S. Congressman from Virginia and there were rumors that William was his son.  Although Wise never officially recognized him, he followed the… Read More ›

Robert Nighthawk

“Nobody else could play a slide like him.  They think they can but they can’t…. I ain’t never heard anybody play a slide like Robert Nighthawk.  It’s wailin’ man.” Thats what everybody said about Robert Lee McCollum,  aka.  Robert Nighthawk.  He was born on November 30, 1909 near Searcy, Arkansas.  Many modern day blues artists learned… Read More ›

Sam Carr

Sam Carr was born April 17, 1926 in Marvel, Arkansas.  Marvel is a small town in Phillips County, just west of Helena.  His parents were Robert Lee and Mary McCollum.  Sam’s birth name was Samuel Lee McCollum ,so how did he become Sam Carr?  Who were Robert Lee and Mary McCollum?  Sam’s father was a… Read More ›

Frank Frost

Frank Frost was born on April 15, 1936 in Auvergne, Arkansas.  Like a lot of people, it was his family that inspired him to get into music.  His Father played the saxophone and it wasn’t long before Frank moved to the piano.  He could also play the guitar, but the harmonica is what he specialized… Read More ›

Maud Jeffries

Maud Evelyn Craven Jeffries was born December 14, 1869 at Willow Farm, near present day Lula.  She was the daughter of James Kenilworth Jeffries and his wife Elizabeth Field. James Jeffries grew up in Coahoma County and first made an appearance on a U.S. Census there in 1850.  He was with his mother and brother…. Read More ›

William Thomas Townsend, jr. of Rich

Taken from Clarksdale and Coahoma County Sometime after the Civil War, Captain Joseph Franklin Townsend and Colonel Hemingway bought a plantation overlooking the Yazoo Pass which they named “Bonita.” Using convict labor, the men cultivated Bonita Egyptian cotton, which was popular near the end of the 19th Century.  Townsend built a two story log home… Read More ›

James Cotton

James Cotton was born July 1, 1935 in Tunica, Mississippi. As a young boy, he was given a harmonica as a Christmas present and soon he had it mastered. Listening to Sonny Boy Williamson broadcasting at King Biscuit Time on the radio, he knew what his future would be. When he was nine, after his… Read More ›

Sonny Boy Williamson

Alex Rice Miller was born around 1912 near Glendora, Mississippi. He traveled around the Delta playing his harmonica. In 1948, he rose to attention after the first Sonny Boy Williamson was murdered in Chicago. Miller took the name and said he had invented it first. Sonny Boy Williamson II began playing on the King Biscuit… Read More ›

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