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12. Shelbyville

Williamson Hamblen is credited with this tune. Here is a short history of speculation. In 1857 Williamson's father David R moved his family from Cumberland Gap, Virginia to Brown County Indiana by way of Lexington and Frankfort in Kentucky and Madison and Columbus in Indiana. While in Frankfort, they were one county away from Shelbyville, Kentucky, a town with a large Black population very active in aiding escaped slaves flee the chains of slavery. This tune Shelbyville may suggest an African American provenance, with its minor/modal tone and rhythmic quality. If they picked up the tune around there, as Williamson was only 11, David R may have been the original source. Brown County, Indiana, where they eventually resided, is next to Shelby County with another Shelbyville as its county seat. The family lived there for 22 years and in 1879 David R moved with his youngest daughter's family to Shelby County Illinois, whose county seat is, guess what, Shelbyville. At any rate A. Porter Hamblen, who transcribed his family tunes, apparently remembered Williamson playing it. Wherever it's from, we like it.

Chris' Hopf F#C#G#D# (GDAE)