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Ernest (Pop) Stoneman
Born:  May 25, 1893
Died:  June 14, 1968
Country Music Hall of Fame (2008)
WGBS New York, NY

About The Artist

Ernest Van Stoneman ranked as one the most important country music recording stars having his first releases on the OKeh label in 1925. In the next few years he had dozens of additional recordings on various labels including Edison, Gennett, and Victor. After 1928 his career began to decline somewhat and hit bottom with the onset of the Great Depression. As the father of a large family that relocated to the DC area, they survived years of dire poverty, persisted in music, and eventually climbed back to prominence.

Stoneman was born in 1893 in the Iron Ridge community near the Carroll-Grayson County line in the Blue Ridge area of southwest Virginia, one of the nation's richest section's repositories of traditional music. He grew up absorbing that culture from childhood. When he married Hattie Frost in November 1918, an even more musical family than his own, his musical immersion went even deeper. Meanwhile, he learned the carpenter trade and was working at that occupation in Bluefield, West Virginia when he heard the first recordings of Henry Whitter. Believing that he could do as good or better, Ernest began saving his money to go to New York and try out. He did so in November 1924 and visited the office of the General Phonograph Company (OKeh Records). Upon hearing the demos, he thought he had recorded them a bit fast and decided to do them over in February 1925. His first release "The Titanic"/"The Face that Never Returned" sold quite well and inaugurated a career that would endure (with a long break in the middle) until the age of stereo. With the growth of the town of Galax it became his home base.

Stoneman's early recordings for OKeh were done under the direction and management of A & R pioneer Ralph Peer and when Peer moved from that label to Victor, Ernest went with him in 1926 (although he still did sessions with OKeh in 1927). He also recorded for Edison where his sessions were released on both disc and cylinder. Avoiding exclusive contracts, he also recorded for Gennett where the recordings also appeared on Champion and a variety of Sears-Roebuck labels. In 1927, he did a session for the Plaza Corporation where his masters appeared on Banner and other labels. This meant that he often cut the same titles for more than one firm with releases under a bewildering assortment of names.

In late July 1927, Peer, with help from Stoneman, held field recordings in Bristol which included not only his own string band (known sometimes as the Dixie Mountaineers or the Blue Ridge Cornshuckers, later as the Stoneman Family), but several other groups including the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. Ironically, the latter two would have careers that eclipsed his own.

Members of his own band included such figures as his wife Hattie, in-laws Bolin and Irma Frost, fiddler Kahle Brewer and wife Edna, Walter Mooney, and his wife's cousin Alex "Uncle Eck" Dunford who would record several solo numbers featuring his unique voice and droll humor.

Stoneman did additional sessions for Victor, Gennett, and Edison in 1928. In 1929, he was on recordings credited to Frank Jenkins, Oscar Jenkins (on Paramount), and Fields Ward. His work with the latter was under the name Justin Winfield, but most of them were not released until the 1960s. His recording career was on the wane and with the onset of the Great Depression he and teen-age son Eddie had a session for Vocalion in 1934. Thereafter he cut no more discs until 1960 with the more modern Stoneman Family. However, some of the numbers recorded in this early era that were unreleased later came out on various LP and CD collections.

Following the crash of October 1929, much of Stoneman's musical and carpenter work began to dry up. Having signed notes for other friends, he soon faced financial disaster. By 1932, his home was repossessed and he escaped other creditors by the skin of his teeth. With his ever growing family, they survived dire poverty in Washington, D. C. until World War II when they moved from dire to mid-level poverty. After the war, he and some of his children revived their careers as The STONEMAN FAMILY (q. v.).

The children of Ernest and Hattie Stoneman:

  1. Edward (Eddie) Lewis Stoneman (B: June 30, 1920 — D: September 14, 2001)
  2. Irma Grace Stoneman Dugan Jewell (B: 1921 — D: September 4, 2003)
  3. John Catron Stoneman (B: August 20, 1923 — D: April 19, 2001)
  4. Annie Anita Stoneman (B: December 8, 1924 — 1932)
  5. Patsy I Stoneman (B: May 27, 1925 — D: July 23, 2015)
  6. Joseph William Stoneman (B: November 4, 1926 — D: April 10, 1990)
  7. Anna Juanita Stoneman (B: December 28, 1927 — D: 1935)
  8. Jack Monroe Stoneman (B: May 10, 1929 — D: April 14, 1992)
  9. Gene Austin Stoneman (B: June 12, 1930 — D: August 15, 2005)
  10. Dean Clark Stoneman (B: June 12, 1930 — D: February 28, 1989)
  11. Scott Stoneman (B: August 4, 1932 — D: March 4, 1973)
  12. Donna LaVerne Stoneman Bean (B: February 7, 1934 — )
  13. Rita Vivian Stoneman (B: March 8, 1937 — D: June 12, 1937)
  14. Oscar James (Jimmy) Stoneman (B: March 8, 1937 — D: September 22, 2002)
  15. Veronica Loretta (Roni) Stoneman (B: May 5, 1938 — )
  16. Van Haden Stoneman (December 31, 1940 — D: June 3, 1995)

Credits & Sources

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1993 A Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
  1993 B When the Roses Bloom Again
  2157 A Pass Around the Bottle
  2157 B Bully of the Town
  2158 A The Fatal Wedding
  2158 B Sinful to Flirt
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  151 A The Girl I Left Behind In Sunny Tennessee
  151 B Katy Cline
  152 A Barney Mccoy
  152 B Pretty Snow Dear
  153 A May I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight Mister
  153 B Silver Bell
  309 A An Old Fashioned Picture (By Vernon Dalhart)
  309 B Barney Mccoy
  312 A May I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight Mister
  312 B Mother's Grave (By Vernon Dalhart)
  665 A Bully Of The Town
  665 B Pass Around The Bottle
  666 A The Fatal Wedding
  666 B It's Sinful To Flirt
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  7755 A Pass Around The Bottle
  7755 B Bully Of The Town
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  51788 A Bad Companions
  51788 B When the Work?s All Done This Fall
  51823 A Wreck of the C. & O.
  51823 B Sinking of the Titanic
  51864 A Watermelon Hanging on the Vine
  51864 B The Old Hickory Cane
  51869 A Wild Bill Jones
  51869 B John Henry
  51909 A My Little German Home Across the Seas
  51909 B Bury Beneath the Willow
  51935 A Once I Had a Fortune
  51935 B Two Little Orphans
  51938 A Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
  51938 B Tell Mother Will Meet Her
  51951 A The Bully of the Town
  51951 B Bright Sherman Valley
  51994 A We Courted In the Rain
  51994 B Kitty Wells
  52026 A The Fate of Talmadge Osborne
  52026 B The Fatal Wedding
  52290 A He Was Nailed to the Cross for Me
  52290 B When the Redeemed Are Gathered In
  52299 A The East Bound Train
  52299 B The Unlucky Road to Washington
  52312 A Down on the Banks of the Ohio
  52312 B We Parted at the Riverside
  52350 A All Go Hungry Hash House
  52350 B Sally Goodwin
  52369 A There?ll Come a Time
  52369 B The Old Maid and the Burglar
  52386 A Careless Love
  52386 B It Is Sinful to Flirt
  52461 A Fallen By the Wayside
  52461 B The Prisoner?s Lament
  52479 A I Remember Calvary
  52479 B He Is Coming After Me
  52489 A Goodbye Dear Old Stepstone
  52489 B All I?ve Got?s Gone
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  3368 A May I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight Mister
  3368 B The Girl I Left in Sunny Tennessee
  3369 A Silver Bell
  3369 B Pretty Snow Deer
  3381 A Katy Kline
  3381 B Barney McCoy
  6044 A The Poor Tramp Has to Live
  6044 B Kenny Wagner?s Surrender
  6052 A Long Eared Mule
  6052 B Round Town Gals
  6065 A Sweet Bunch of Violets
  6619 A New River Train (as Justin Winfield)
  6619 B John Hardy (as Justin Winfield)
  6733 A (Grayson & Whitter)
  6733 B Say Darling Say (as Justin Winfield)
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  16500 A Bully Of The Town (as Sim Harris)
  16500 B Sinful To Flirt (as Sim Harris)
Montgomery Ward
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  8136 A Are You Washed In The Blood?
  8305 B Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  40288 A The Titanic
  40288 B The Face that Never Returned
  40312 A Freckled Faced Mary Jane
  40312 B Me and My Wife
  40384 A Sinful to Flirt
  40384 B The Dying Girl's Farewell
  40405 A Piney Woods Girl (w/ Emmett Lundy)
  40405 B The Long Eared Mule (w/ Emmett Lundy
  40408 A Jack and Joe
  40408 B The Lightning Express
  40430 A Uncle Sam and the Kaiser
  40430 B Dixie Parody
  45009 A All I've Got's Gone
  45009 A Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
  45009 B Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
  45009 B All I?ve Got?s Gone
  45015 A The Sailor?s Song
  45015 B The Fancy Ball
  45036 A The Kicking Mule
  45036 B (by Roba Stanley)
  45044 A Asleep at the Switch
  45044 B The Orphan Girl
  45048 A Kitty Wells
  45048 B In the Shadow of the Pine
  45051 A The Religious Critic
  45051 B When My Wife Can Return to Me
  45054 A The Texas Ranger
  45054 B Don?t Let Your Deal Go Down
  45059 A The Old Hickory Cane
  45059 B May I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight, Mister
  45060 A Silver Bell
  45060 B My Pretty Snow Deer
  45062 A The All Go Hungry Hash House
  45062 B He?s Going to Have a Hot Time By and By
  45065 A Katie Kline
  45065 B Are You Angry with Me Darling
  45084 A The Fatal Wedding
  45084 B The Fate of Talmadge Osborne
  45094 A Lonesome Road Blues
  45094 B Round Town Gal
  45125 A The Road to Washington (as Mr. and Mrs. Ernest V. Stoneman)
  45125 B The Mountaineer?s Courtship (as Mr. and Mrs. Ernest V. Stoneman)
  7011 A Wreck on the C. & O. (12 inch disc)
  7011 B John Hardy (12 inch disc)
  Unknown-1 A Jack And Joe
  Unknown-1 B Lightning Express
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  20223 A In the Golden Bye and Bye
  20223 B I Will Meet You in the Morning
  20224 A I Love to Walk with Jesus
  20224 B Hallelujah Side
  20235 A Sourwood Mountain
  20235 B Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane
  20237 A West Virginia Highway
  20237 B All Go Hungry Hash House
  20294 A Going Up Cripple Creek
  20294 B Sugar in the Gourd
  20302 A Ida Red
  20302 B Old Joe Clark
  20531 A Going Down the Valley
  20531 B The Sinless Summer[land]
  20532 A The Great Reaping Day
  20532 B I Would Not Be Denied
  20533 A I?ll Be Satisfied
  20533 B When the Redeemed Are Gathering In
  20540 A Peek-a-Boo Waltz
  20540 B Down Where The Watermelons Grow (ByPhil Reeve and Ernest Moody)
  20671 A Story of the Mighty Mississippi
  20671 B Flight of Lucky Lindbergh (By Ernest Rogers)
  20672 A The Poor Tramp Has to Live
  20672 B The Fate of Talmadge Osborne
  20799 A The Old Hickory Cane
  20799 B Till the Snowflakes Fall Again
  20835 A Old Time Corn Shuckin? Part 1
  20835 B Old Time Corn Shuckin? Part 2
  20844 A Sweeping Through the Gates
  20844 B Are You Washed in the Blood
  20880 A Mountaineer?s Courtship (with Irma Frost)
  20880 B (Uncle Eck Dunford and Hattie Stoneman)
  21071 A The Resurrection
  21071 B I Am Resolved
  21129 A The Dying Girl?s Farewell
  21129 B Tell Mother I Will Meet Her
  21186 A No More Goodbyes
  21186 B I Know My Name Is There
  21264 A Possum Trot School Exhibition, Part 1
  21264 B Possum Trot School Exhibition, Part 2
  21518 A A Serenade in the Mountains, Part 1
  21518 B A Serenade in the Mountains, Part 2
  21648 A The Two Little Orphans
  21648 B The Raging Sea, How It Roars
  40030 A The Broken Hearted Love
  40030 B We Parted By the Riverside
  40078 A There?s a Light Lit Up in Galilee
  40078 B Down to Jordan and Be Saved (with Uncle Eck Dunford)
  40206 A Too Late
  40206 B The Spanish Merchant?s Daughter (with Hattie Stoneman)
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  02632 A There's Somebody Waiting For Me
  02632 B Texas Ranger
  02655 A Broke Down Section Hand
  02655 B Nine Pound Hammer
  02901 A My Only Sweetheart
  02901 B All I Got's Gone

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