Isaac Daniel (I.D.) Stamper (1907-1986) was born in the foothills of the Ozark mountains in Searcy County Arkansas. His parents lived in both Searcy & Stone Counties. Both his parents were originally from Kentucky and the family moved back to Letcher County Kentucky in 1912.
I.D. worked in Kentucky coal mines for over 35 years. He started in the coal mines as a young teen and worked until he left for job as a maintenance man in a Louisville children’s hospital.
Growing up I.D.'s family was a musical family, and I.D. learned to sing and play the harmonica and banjo. His mother, Louise Stamper, was a fine singer and old time banjo player and passed her skill on to her large family. I.D. and his eight brothers and sisters often entertained their father’s fellow miners and lumber mill workers as they passed the house on their way to work.
His mother was related to Uncle Ed Thomas. I.D. said Uncle Ed came by his dad's house often and sometimes spent the night. In the 1940s I.D. built and began to play his first dulcimer made from a butternut log his father brought in for firewood and was made from his memory of Uncle Ed’s design, though he, “improved on it.” I.D. Stamper constructed over 500 instruments.
I.D. performed at local festivals, colleges, and folklife events at national parks. He declined invitations to both the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife and the National Folk Festival. His dulcimer performing career was cut short by the effects of his Parkinson’s disease.
I.D. Stamper - My Pretty Little Pink
I.D. Stamper plays his dulcimer in: Tomorrow's People