Maggie Hammons Parker (top), Edden Hammons (center), the Hammons Family (bottom)

Listen to “Diggin’ Potatoes”

Listen to “Queen of the Earth & Child of the Skies”

The Hammons Family

Pocahontas County

Edden Hammons
Pete Hammons
Maggie Hammons Parker, d. 1987
Sherman Hammons, d. 1988
Burl Hammons, d. 1993
Lee Hammons
Currence Hammons

The Hammons family came to West Virginia from Kentucky before the Civil War, mostly settling in Pocahontas and Randolph counties. They were known locally as some of the finest musicians in the mountains, playing and singing an ancient repertoire and holding to a nearly lost style of playing.

Edden Hammons was considered to be the best fiddler of the lot – he was recorded in 1947 by West Virginia University professor Louis Chappell and appeared in a World War II-era newsreel, fiddling for President Roosevelt at The Greenbrier hotel. Wider recognition came in the 1970s when neighbor and local musician Dwight Diller became acquainted with the Hammonses and began a long and thorough examination of the family, its history, and their music.

Dwight was soon joined by Alan Jabbour and Carl Fleischhauer from the Library of Congress and a steady stream of other, mostly young and urban, musicians and folk music lovers. Recordings were made, interviews were transcribed and published, and people from many backgrounds became fascinated by this rustic family and their rural mountain heritage. West Virginia University Press issued an LP of Hammons family music in 1984 as well as CDs in 1999 and 2000. The Library of Congress issued a double-LP set in the early 1970s, and Rounder Records issued an LP shortly thereafter. These two projects were combined by Rounder into a two-CD set with an accompanying 77-page booklet in 1988.