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e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia is the comprehensive reference resource for the Mountain State of West Virginia. Based on the best-selling West Virginia Encyclopedia, e-WV offers thousands of articles on West Virginia’s people and places, history, arts, science and culture.

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This Date in History

April 21, 1908: Phoeba Parsons was born

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Traditional musician Phoeba Cottrell Parsons (April 21, 1908-July 4, 2001) was a banjo player, ballad singer, storyteller, teller of riddles, and flatfoot dancer. She was born in Calhoun County and picked up her brother’s homemade banjo at age ten, even though ‘‘he didn’t want me to play because he was afraid I’d beat him.’’ This brother, Noah Cottrell, was also a respected banjo picker, fiddler, and storyteller. He died in 1991.

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