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Happy Hollow Cowboys
WCED Dubois, PA
WMBG Richmond, VA
WRVA Richmond, VA

About the Group

About The Group

Deacon Wayne and the Happy Hollow Cowboys The Happy Hollow Cowboys were led by Ralph (Deacon) Wayne who was born in Wisconsin. An old song folio indicated he spent four years on the Evans Ranch in Montana located in the Peace River Valley.

He was a veteran of World War I, serving in the 32nd Division, 128 Infantry.

He got his start in radio in 1927.

He had a few years of musical education as well. Four years at the MacPhail School of Music in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One year with OScar Seagle of New York. Two years with the William Clair Hall Institute (voice).

Deacon was with radio station WCAU in Philadelphia for four years where he had a program that sponsored by the Drug Trade Product company in Chicago, Illinois.

It was said he had appeared on over 30 other radio stations during his musical journey.

We have seen some mentions on older articles that Deacon Wayne later became known as Deacon Newman and was heading up the Sleepy Hollow Ranch Gang.

Denver Dan (John David Spurrier) was born in Frederick County, Maryland and stood five foot five. He got the name of "Denver Dan" when he had a stay in Colorado. He played the accordion for the group and practiced five or six hours a day. He started professionally in radio in 1939.

Bud (Clifford Nelson) was born in Kentucky but was making his home in Huntington, West Virginia at one point while with the Happy Hollow Cowboys. Fans knew him as "Smilin' Bud Nelson". He played guitar, sang solos and lead in the trio numbers. He was also said to be one of the best cowboy comedians in the business.

Curly Reed (Gilbert Reed) was born in Richmond, Virginia and stood five feet seven. Played many different string instruments.

Judy (Sarah Wayne) was born in Downingtown, Pennsylvania and was five feet five. She played bass fiddle, sang comedy tunes as well

Timeline & Trivia Notes

Group members

  • Ralph (Deacon) Wayne
  • Sarah (Judy) Wayne
  • Gilbert (Curly) Reed
  • Clifford (Bud) Nelson
  • John David (Denver Dan) Spurrier
  • Mel Johnson (circa mid-1940s)
  • Slim McMahon (circa 1946)

Credits & Sources

  • Bill Boyd Ranch House News; Vol. 4 No. 6; June 1947; The International Bill Boyd Fan Club; Janie B. Hamilton, Editor; Lovelock, NV
  • The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; September 1945; Mountain Broadcast Co., Inc.; 45 Astor Place; New York, NY
  • National Hillbilly News; Vol. 2 No. 8; May - June 1947; Poster Show Print Co.; Huntington, WV