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Emmett Lundy was born in Grayson County, Virginia on May 9, 1864, one of nine

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children of Churchwell and Caroline Ward Lundy. He died in 1953. From family records, we know that the Lundys emigrated from England in 1687, settling first on Pennsylvania lands purchased from William Penn. Emmett's great-grandfather John Lundy moved to Grayson County around 1787 and acquired the land the family still holds near Dalhart, just south of the present town of Galax.

During Emmett's early years, the Virginia mountain area around his home was largely an agrarian, traditionally integrated frontier society. As a young man, Emmett became absorbed in the music which he heard around the community at dances, log rollings, pumpkin peelings and other excuses for having a little fiddle music. In his late teens, Lundy started the fiddle (the main instrument found here at this time), and immediately took up with an older fiddler named Green (for Greenberry) Leonard.

Green Leonard lived in Old Town, just a few miles north of the Lundy home place. Leonard was a pretty old man when Lundy met him, probably born in the early decades of the 19th century, though the exact date and place are unknown (to me). It is a fact, however, that he secured a Grayson County marriage license in 1833 and from all accounts thereafter was a lifetime resident of the county. Leonard must have been an extraordinary fiddler, for most older Grayson County fiddlers, even today, acknowledge him as the "best there was". The legend might endure more strongly than actual fact, but it's compliment enough that his memory remains alive some hundred years after his death. According to Lundy, Leonard was about "65 to 80" during the time he knew him, a period roughly datable to the 1880s and '90s.

Though an excellent musician, Lundy never attempted to make a living with his fiddling. His music was an amusement. He invariably played the fiddle at night following supper, carrying on this practice even when he was very old. Lundy was primarily a farmer, but helped support his large family of 14 by blacksmithing, repairing watches and pulling teeth. A member of the Primitive Baptist church (a denomination which frowns upon the use of instruments), Emmett refused to believe that there was harm in his fiddling. Although some say that he himself never played for a dance, his music was in fact heard at various community events such as celebrations, school breakings, work gathering and fiddlers' contests. He is reputed to have won, some time in the early '20s, the first $10 gold piece ever presented at a Galax fiddlers' convention. We shouldn't think that old-time music was only played at social gatherings, for then, as now, musicians got together just to play some and perhaps to swap a few tunes. Though Emmett's music was individual in nature (he never regularly performed with a band), he played often with many of the musicians around his home. Isom and Fielden Rector, two old fiddlers who lived close by and are remembered as being among the best, were close friends and musical cronies. Lundy also played with Crockett Ward of the Bogtrotters Band. These sessions are described by Fields Ward as sometimes lasting more than a day or two at a time. Eck Dunford, musically associated with both the Bogtrotters and Ernest Stoneman, often came to Lundy's for a tune or two. Dunford is said to have been one of the first people around who became proficient on the guitar, an instrument he often used in backing up Lundy's fiddle tunes.

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