The Old-Time Herald Volume 13, Number 7

Feature
Ditch Dvořák, They Want “Turkey in the Straw”:
A Brief History of Old-Time Fiddling in Montana
By Aaron Parrett

Though they may have been preceded by some long-forgotten French trader or trapper who happened to be musically inclined, Pierre Cruzatte and George Gibson—privates in Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery in 1805—inaugurated the history of old-time fiddling in Montana. The one-eyed navigator and translator Cruzatte is the better known of the two men, perhaps most remembered for shooting Lewis in the rear on the return journey, myopically mistaking him for an elk. But the expedition’s journals remind us that the Corps enjoyed the performances of two fiddlers, and we should remember that Gibson also played, though he is mentioned in this capacity only once in the journals.


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