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James Moore was reportedly his real name. But this early country music musician was known to the audiences as the The Sheepherder. We found a tidbit in Ivan Tribe's "Mountaineer Jamboree" history of country music in West Virginia that he was from Nebraska, born in 1869.
Mr. Tribe notes that The Sheepherder was a second fiddler in Cowboy Loye Pack's group when they were at WMMN in Fairmont, West Virginia. Cowboy Loye was also from Nebraska, so it may be where they first started working together.
A feature article in May 1948 on Jake Taylor and his Railsplitters provided a few more details about the Sheepherder. He was said to be an old time champion fiddler from Nebraska. He worked for several years with Cowboy Loye. He was known to have a quick wit and liked to kid around with folks. He was 79 years old then and still doing the personal appearance tours that the groups did back in that era.
We found that he was being heard at WMMN in 1948 from a letter to the editor of the National Hillbilly News publication. The fan indicated they enjoyed seeing the big show at Shank's Park put on by all the WMMN acts including Jake Taylor and the Railsplitters, Lee Bailey, Hank the Cowhand and his Foggy Mountain Boys. Mary Jean Shurtz wrote in an earlier column that she ribbed the Sheepherder for not remembering her when Jake Taylor and his Railsplitters came to her neighborhood for a show at the Hillside Park, just south of Newcomerstown.
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