The Old-Time Herald Volume 14, Number 9

Uncle Lawn Brooks
By Lucas Pasley
Lawn Brooks with his close friend and music partner Cliff Evans


ere’s an unusual résumé: gunsmith, wagoner, blacksmith, sawmiller, farmer, and fiddler. It’s hard to imagine that there will be many 21st-century children who will grow up to have the list of skills that Lawn Brooks had. When I think of Uncle Lawn, I like to picture the moment that his wagon-wheel would come together — the hot metal wrapped around the edge of the smoking wooden wheel, then placed in the creek to contract and tighten the wheel to snug perfection — an art all but lost, requiring a level of precision that now we only trust to machines and computers.

Lawnie (Lawn or Lon) H. Brooks was born in 1893 into a musical family. His father, Bill Brooks, was an early settler to the region around Stone Mountain, North Carolina, whose ten children did a lot to populate what is now eastern Alleghany County. All but one of Lawn’s nine siblings played a little music — that one was my great-grandfather, Frank Brooks. Despite the musical difference, or perhaps because of it, Lawn and Frank were close throughout their lives. In contrast, Lawn had a lifelong rivalry with his brother Guy, the fiddler for the Red Fox Chasers. Neither one thought too much of the other’s fiddling, though both were tremendous musicians.

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