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May 15, 2022 - 8:07:14 AM
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Old-Time TOTW #203 is Halifax from Nicodemus Henry "N.H." or "Nickie" Mills (29 September 1907--30 June 1981) of Maggodee/Boones Mill, Franklin County, VA. He was the son of Nicodemus Henry "Nick" Mills (1872-1958) and Irena Emma Wright (1876-1947). He had seven sisters and five brothers. His Myhill ancestors from England were in Virginia by 1627. The Wrights (on his maternal side) had been in VA since the 1650s. N.H. married Dorothy Pearl Hodges (1912-1989) on 19 July 1937 in Rocky Mount, VA. (sources: Ancestry and public documents)

Mills was recorded by Armin Barnett in 1972. He valued his privacy and said to Barnett, "If anyone asks about me, tell them I'm dead." He was blind in his right eye according to his WWII draft registration.

Since the Mills family were private people, it is not surprising that this is all the information I was able to find out about him.

Town of Boones Mill website:

Regarding the tune Halifax, Traditional Tune Archive states:
"A tune and tune name peculiar to the Franklin/Floyd County area of southwestern Va. (Blanton Owen & Tom Carter, 1976)."

Halifax is the capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, but it's more likely the name refers to the town in Halifax County, Virginia, along the Banister River. It has a small population of 1,309 (2010 Census) and is the county seat of Halifax County.

The tune reminds me a lot of Green Mountain from Isham Monday of Monroe County, Kentucky.

Joining me are friends John Siepierski (Los Angeles, CA), Cody McManus (Maine, USA), Titus Stevens (Buffalo, NY) all on fiddle; Mary Siepierski (Bradford, PA), Ulrike Brauneis (Washington D.C.), and Stephen Rapp (Kent, OH) all on banjo.

This video is of a late night jam at Crook Farm Old Time Music Festival which took place in September 2021. Many thanks to Jeanie Thieken for capturing the moment and sharing her recording.

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Old-Time TOTW group on Facebook:

Stephen Rapp's YouTube channel:

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