Relatives of the late "Fiddlin' Charlie Bowman" celebrated his life Saturday afternoon
with the dedication of a new official Tennessee State Highway Marker. The marker
was placed at the intersection of Roscoe Fitz Road and Tenn. Highway
75 in Gray. Family members came from as far away as Georgia, Maryland,
Philadelphia, South Carolina and West Virginia for the dedication.
Charlie Bowmanís great nephew, Bob Cox, played an integral part in the
recognition his uncle is now receiving. "Iíve been working on the Bowman
story for about 4 or 5 years," Cox said. "It took about 9 months of
effort to get the marker put up in acknowledgment of Uncle Charlie's
contributions of 25 years to music."
The champion fiddler of East Tennessee was born in 1889 in Gray, and taught
himself to fiddle at around 12 years of age. Bowman won 28 of the 32 fiddling
contests that he entered around the region. He later joined a group called
the "Hill Billies" which skyrocketed him to fame. "Uncle Charlie was
versatile, he appealed to the audience and really knew how to work
a crowd," said nephew James Bowman.
Relatives weren't the only ones in attendance, as representatives from
around the region took part in the celebration of Bowmanís life. "Itís great
to honor people who have history and roots in Washington County," said State
Rep. David Davis.
The marker was unveiled to the crowd after remarks from Bill Snodgrass, a
field representative who was filling in for Rep. Bill Jenkins. As he took
the covering off of the marker he exclaimed, "Letís celebrate the heritage
of Charlie Bowman!"
And celebrate they did with a musical tribute of songs that Bowman wrote. "He
was most famous for 'Nine Pound Hammer', 'Roll On Buddy,' and 'East Tennessee Blues,'
so we'll be performing those today," James Bowman said.
Aug. 14 has been proclaimed "Charlie Bowman Day" in Washington County.
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