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Ackerman in Choctaw County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Hoyt Ming

 
 
Hoyt Ming Marker (front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
1. Hoyt Ming Marker (front)
Inscription.  [Front]
Choctaw County fiddler Hoyt Ming (1902-1985) led the lively string band recorded as “Floyd Ming & His Pep Steppers” at a Memphis Victor session in 1928. His “Indian War Whoop,” with its fiddling “holler,” became an old-time country music standby. Potato farmer Hoyt, with his wife Rozelle on guitar and brother Troy on mandolin, regularly played at fairs, fiddling contests, and rallies before World War II. Rediscovered in 1973, Hoyt and Rozelle Ming returned to recording and live appearances.

[Reverse]
Hoyt Ming Born in Choctaw County on October 6, 1902, into a musical farming family of German-American extraction, Hoyt began teaching himself to play fiddle at fifteen, after admiring a string band that played for his father Clough at the Mings’ house. At least three of Hoyt’s seven brothers and one sister learned to play string instruments at about the same time; his brother Troy took up the mandolin and joined him in forming a family band that played for local dances and parties. By 1928 Hoyt had married guitarist Rozelle Young; they relocated to rural Lee County and

Hoyt Ming Marker (reverse) is in poor condition due to weathering. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
2. Hoyt Ming Marker (reverse) is in poor condition due to weathering.
The condition of this marker has been reported to the MS Country Music Trail.
appeared as a trio, with Rozelle’s sister on mandolin. Hoyt heard that Victor Talking Machine record producer and scout Ralph Peer, who was already overseeing Jimmie Rodgers’ rise to stardom, was about to hold auditions in nearby Tupelo. Hoyt, Rozelle, Troy, and square dance caller A. D. Coggin auditioned as a quartet, and became one of the first acts from this area to get the go-ahead to record. Their February 13, 1928, recording session at an auditorium in Memphis produced four instrumental recordings, typical of Mississippi string band music of the time in repeating musical phrases and showing subtle blues influences—but with particularly driving rhythms and Hoyt’s specialty “war whoop” fiddle inflection on the most celebrated record. Rozelle Ming tended to stomp her foot on the beats. Atypically, Ralph Peer not only chose to leave that sound in, but named the band the “Pep Steppers” after it. The record label proceeded to transcribe Hoyt’s name as “Floyd Ming,” leading to inevitable confusion later.

The brief initial recording experience led to Pep Stepper appearances at fairs, political rallies and fiddler’s contests through the 1930s, but with their focus on raising a family, Hoyt and Rozelle kept music a sideline, and Hoyt tended to his main occupation, potato farming. Infrequent gigs made it hard to keep a band together,

Hoyt Ming Marker is at the Bruce Burney Memorial Walking Track. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
3. Hoyt Ming Marker is at the Bruce Burney Memorial Walking Track.
and by the 1950s, they’d essentially given up playing for audiences. Unbeknownst to them at the time, Harry Smith included “Indian War Whoop” in Folkways Records 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music, and the tune became a favorite in the 1950s-’60s folk revival. In 1973, David Freeman of the “old time” music label Country Records approached Hoyt about appearing again, having tracked down the mysterious “Floyd” Ming by searching around the Tupelo area one Victor record had pointed to. By that summer, Hoyt, Rozelle and new young accompanists began playing at large-scale folk festivals and recorded a full album, "New Hot Tunes!" for Freeman’s Homestead imprint. “Monkey in the Dogcart” became a frequently played instrumental from that album. In 1975 they contributed to the soundtrack of the motion picture "Ode to Billy Joe," based on Bobbie Gentry’s song. Hoyt Ming passed on in 1985, two years after his wife.
 
Erected 2014 by Mississippi Country Music Trail. (Marker Number 28.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Country Music Trail marker series.
 
Location. Marker has been damaged. 33° 18.588′ N, 89° 10.151′ W. Marker is in Ackerman, Mississippi, in Choctaw County
Hoyt Ming Marker is at the Bruce Burney Memorial Walking Track. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
4. Hoyt Ming Marker is at the Bruce Burney Memorial Walking Track.
. Marker is on East Main Street 0.1 miles east of South Commerce Street, on the right when traveling east. Located at the at the Bruce Burney Memorial Walking Track. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: East Main Street, Ackerman MS 39735, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Two Steps From The Blues (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Governor J.P. Coleman (about 600 feet away); Governor Ray Mabus (about 600 feet away); Ackerman (approx. 0.4 miles away); Choctaw County High School (approx. 0.4 miles away); Coleman's Mill (approx. 3½ miles away); Shiloh Methodist Church and Cemetery (approx. 3.8 miles away); The Great Eastern Hardwood Forest (approx. 8.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ackerman.
 
Also see . . .  The Mississippi Encyclopedia article on Hoyt Ming. (Submitted on October 8, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
 

More. Search the internet for Hoyt Ming.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 8, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 8, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 38 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 8, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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