This banjo was owned by Henry Dobson, an African-American musician from South Carolina. One night in 1895, at a party held near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dobson played his beloved instrument for the last time. During his performance, a vicious fight broke out, and Dobson’s best friend was killed. As the man was fatally stabbed, both Dobson and his banjo were splattered with blood. He vowed never to play it again, and traded it to Charles Ross Schrecengost for a guitar. In 1989, Museum founder John Rice Irwin obtained the banjo from Schrecengost’s son, Haven, who lived in a remote hollow near Grainger County, Tennessee. The banjo, in two places bears the name of Henry Dobson. Two dates are inscribed: 1878 and 1881.
This item is located on the first floor of our Hall of Fame Building.