About The Artist
Ruth Evelyn Baldwin was a native of Coolville, Ohio, but moved several counties northward to the river town of Bridgeport, across the Ohio River from the city of Wheeling.
She first joined forces with the WWVA group known as the Chuckwagon Gang led by Joe and Shirley Barker. But soon she became part of a duet with another young lady known as Millie Wayne, a sister (or perhaps half sister) of Calvin "Curley" Miller who led another Jamboree group.
About the same time, she married a man named Benjamin R. Peters (on December 28, 1942 in Belmont, Ohio) who (born in Wheeling, WV) hailed from Monroe County, Ohio, several miles downriver from Bridgeport. The couple had a daughter Shirley Jean. Ruth always used her nickname "Bonnie" on radio.
Bonnie and Millie became known as the Radio Rangerettes and were quite popular, especially during the war years. The two also did solo work on WWVA as well.
Bonnie's regular Jamboree years extended from 1943 until 1960, and sporadically thereafter. Millie left WWVA in 1952, but remained friends with Bonnie and a decade or so later they recorded an album together on Norman Kelly's Country Star label.
Meanwhile, Bonnie did deejay work at WMOD Moundsville, West Virginia, south of Wheeling and also hosted a children's TV program in Steubenville where she sang between showing cartoons.
In addition to her radio work and album with former partner Millie Wayne, Bonnie recorded a number of 78 and 45 rpm singles over the years. Sadly, none ever came close to being hits, although one single came out on the King label in 1969.
One of her songs, "I'm the Children's Mother." was also recorded by fellow Jamboree artist Karen McKenzie (daughter of Doc Williams).
Bonnie was active on the club scene well into the 1980s; David Allen Coe who later had several major hits was once a member of her band.
Bonnie also appeared at numerous Jamboree Reunion shows over the years.
At her death, she was buried in her husband's, home county, Monroe. Her husband was buried in a military grave; her headstone indicates she was buried with the Baldwin family.
Credits & Sources
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