“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hillsville in Carroll County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Carroll County

— The Crooked Road — Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail —

The Crooked Road Carroll County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, June 9, 2017
1. The Crooked Road Carroll County Marker
Inscription.  Caroll County. Carroll County has been richly productive of traditional musicians for generations. Legendary musical families have lived in Carroll since the late colonial period, including the Stonemans, Meyers, Meltons, and Edmonds families. The small Coal Creek area has provided an amazing array of talented musicians, and continues to this day. Ernest V. ‘Pop’ Stoneman was the first musician from Carroll County to make commercial recordings in New York in 1924. His song, ‘The Sinking of the Titanic’ became very popular and is still recorded by contemporary bands. Tony Alderman of Carroll County was a founding member of ‘The Hill Billies,’ the fabled 1920s radio and vaudeville band that gave ‘hillbilly’ music its name. The band was the subject of the first country music film in 1928 and was marketed with Al Jolson's film, ‘The Singing Fool.’ Dorothy Quesenberry Rorick of Dugspur, fiddler, banjoist, and singer, was a delightful fixture at area fiddlers conventions for a generation.

There are many weekly jam sessions and other performances of live music in Carroll County. It is the home of the Blue Ridge Music Center, a museum
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and performance venue located at milepost 213 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The only good that came from a murderous March 1912 shootout at the Carroll County Courthouse are two lovely ballads concerned with the fate of Floyd and Claude Allen. Details of this event—which resulted in five deaths—can be seen at the Carroll County Historical Museum at the historic courthouse in Hillsville. One of the region's largest gatherings is the Hillsville Flea Market held annually on Labor Day weekend.

The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Coalfields region, southwest Virginia is blessed with historic and contemporary music venues, musicians, and fretted instrument makers. Historically isolated, the region retained its strong musical legacy by passing traditions down through musical families to an appreciative community.

Old time mountain music, bluegrass, and gospel can be enjoyed all year long and several museums are devoted to showcasing the area’s rich musical heritage.

The Crooked Road winds through the ruggedly beautiful Appalachian Mountains and leads you to the major hotspots of old time mountain music, country music, and bluegrass. Alive and kickin’ for today’s fans, these venues preserve and celebrate musical traditions passed down through generations. Annual festivals, weekly concerts,
The Crooked Road Carroll County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, June 9, 2017
2. The Crooked Road Carroll County Marker
radio shows, and jam sessions ring out to large audiences and intimate gatherings. Please visit the Crooked Road website to plan your trip to coincide with the current entertainment events.
Erected by The Crooked Road.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicCommunicationsEntertainmentParks & Recreational AreasWomen. In addition, it is included in the The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1912.
Location. 36° 45.729′ N, 80° 43.525′ W. Marker is in Hillsville, Virginia, in Carroll County. Marker is on East Stuart Drive (Old U.S. 58) east of Floyd Pike (U.S. 221), on the right when traveling east. It is across from the Carroll County High School. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hillsville VA 24343, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hale-Wilkinson-Carter Home (approx. 0.7 miles away); Hillsville (approx. 0.7 miles away); Hillsville Civil War Memorial (approx. 0.7 miles away); John Carroll (approx. one mile away); Woodlawn School (approx. 5.7 miles away); Woodlawn (approx. 6.2 miles away); The Stonemans
Carroll County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, June 9, 2017
3. Carroll County Marker
(approx. 6.2 miles away); Wythe County / Carroll County (approx. 7.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hillsville.
More about this marker. The Carroll County side of the marker has three photographs. The first is captioned “Hillsville Flea Market,” the second is a photograph of “Dorothy Rorick,” and the third is a portrait of “Frank Jenkins, Oscar Jenkins,and Earnest Stoneman.” Click on the image to zoom in to examine them. The Crooked Road panel shows The Carter Family on the upper right, Dr. Ralph Stanley in the center right and a map of western Virginia showing stops on The Crooked Road and “You are Here.”
Also see . . .
1. The Hill Billies. Artist biography and discography on “The Victor Recording Company cut the first sides by the as yet unnamed band of whom Al Hopkins was nominal leader. Owing to poor microphone placement, the results were technically inadequate. The group returned to New York in January 1925, this time to OKeh, where A&R man Ralph Peer impulsively named the band the Hill Billies following a joking remark made by Al Hopkins. Among the first pieces
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recorded were ‘Silly Bill’ and ‘Old Time Cinda’ and in April they also cut ‘Cripple Creek’ and ‘Sally Ann’. Other songs in the band’s repertoire were ‘Fisher’s Hornpipe’, ‘Black Eyed Susie’, ‘Bristol Tennessee Blues’ and ‘Round Town Gals’.” (Submitted on June 22, 2017.) 

2. Banjo Pickin’ Girl. “Dorothy Quesenberry Rorick took pride in her old homemade banjo which had been in her family for many years explaining, ‘Down in the hollow I remember all we ever had, all every family had, to decorate their home in the old days was the fiddle and the banjo on the wall. We used to entertain ourselves.’ As Dorothy grew up, she became a featured performer in her local region. By 1937 she was the star of her own radio program out of Columbus, Ohio leading an all-girl band called the ‘Golden State Cowgirls.’ She recalled visiting Nashville in the old days and becoming acquainted with performers such as Roy Acuff and Red Foley. There are songs in the National Archives that are copyrighted under her name.” (Submitted on June 22, 2017.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 24, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 22, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 369 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 22, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Feb. 24, 2024