Festival of American Folklife

January 4, 1980: Musician John Homer Walker Dies in Princeton

Jan 4, 2019
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Musician John Homer Walker died in Princeton on January 4, 1980, at age 81. The Mercer County native was raised in Summers County and lived much of his adult life in neighboring Glen Lyn, Virginia. He usually worked as a laborer and farmhand.

“Uncle Homer,” as he was affectionately known, learned to play clawhammer-style banjo from his mother and uncle. He picked up traditional songs, like the old spiritual, “Steal Away,” from his grandfather, who was born a slave.