Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 12 February 1939

A dose of mountain dulcimer history throughout the year

Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 12 February 1939

Postby dbennett » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:58 am

Eli Taylor Presnell (1845-1939) died in Watauga County, North Carolina. He was born in 1845 in the same county to Harvey Presnell (1820 - 1908), who served in the Confederate States Army, and Marilda Hicks Presnell (1823 - 1902). Eli married America Banner (1844-1936) and they had 7 children.

Eli is credited by many of introducing, the mountain dulcimer on Beach Mountain in Watauga County, North Carolina. From 1997-03, Dulcimer Players News Vol. 23 No. 3 in his column "Mountain Dulcimer Tales & Traditions" Ralph Lee Smith writes about the "Stranger From The West" who first brought the mountain dulcimer to western North Carolina, "In 1885, Leonard's [Glenn] maternal grandfather, Eli Presnell, provided overnight lodging for the legendary "Stranger from the West" who was passing through the area and who was carrying a dulcimer. Local versions of the tale sometimes gives the stranger's name as Millard Oliver, but no one knows for sure. What is sure is: (1) that Eli traced the instrument's pattern, and from the tracing made a dulcimer for his four-year-old son Ninevah; (2) that the pattern is that of a dulcimer made by Charles N. Prichard of Huntington, West Virginia; and (3) that the principal dulcimer of Western North Carolina stems from this tracing and this instrument, with perhaps another made by Eli that has been lost..." For more see
https://issuu.com/dulcimerplayersnewsinc/docs/120823175704-df406671dca8494abca0a058a469091b/22
Last edited by dbennett on Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 12 February 1939

Postby dbennett » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:34 am

For more on Eli or the "stranger from the west" read Ralph Lee Smith's books "The Story of the Dulcimer" and "Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions" available at http://www.ralphleesmith.com/Books___CDs.html or your favorite dulcimer book seller.
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