Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 1 February 1823

A dose of mountain dulcimer history throughout the year

Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 1 February 1823

Postby dbennett » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:30 am

Elizabeth Maggard (1823-1887) was born in Poor Fork, Letcher County, Kentucky. In 1844 she married Gilbert Creech

According to Doug Naselroad, on the "Appalachian School of Luthiery" website "...The earliest dulcimer maker we have found in southeast Kentucky is Ely (Eley, Eli) Boggs (1781-1869), documented by historian V. N. “Bud” Phillips in his history of the Maggard family, Coming Down Cumberland. Ely Boggs was born in southwest Virginia and died in Letcher County."

The blog post goes on to say "…Ely was living in southwest Virginia when he made a dulcimer for Elizabeth Maggard, then a young girl living in Letcher County, Kentucky. Elizabeth was perhaps no older that fifteen when she received her dulcimer, which would place its manufacture at about 1838..."

Regarding Elizabeth Maggard and her dulcimer, I found this note on two genealogy sites: "One of Elizabeth's delights was to strum a dulcimer and sing old ballads that had been handed down through generations of the Maggard and Robertson clans. Her dulcimer had been crafted by old Ely Boggs. It was brought to her by James (Panther Jim). Her love of music and singing to Gib is what won his heart. They lived for a time on Cumberland. Later they moved to Leslie Co., KY. They were living there when the Civil War commenced. Gib bid his family good bye to go and fight. He was captured by the foe and was shot and killed on Big Leatherwood Creek in Perry Co., KY on the site where later stood the Marion C. Cornett home. He is buried at P.H. Hall Cemetery. Elizabeth gathered her children to return to Cumberland and on the way they reached Leatherwood Creek, Elizabeth made inquiry and finally found her late husband’s grave. There she took her dulcimer from the sack and standing at the head of the grave she strummed out a tune and made up a long song to go with it...a song which was never written down."

In 1887 Elizabeth died in Eolia, Letcher County, Kentucky.
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