Fiddler French Carpenter was born in Clay County on June 7, 1905.
For generations, the Carpenter family was renowned for its musical ability, and French may have been the best of the lot. He learned most of his music directly from his father, Tom, a fiddling preacher.
Tom had learned from his father, Sol, one of the most influential fiddlers in central West Virginia.
Here’s a clip of French Carpenter playing “Camp Chase,” which his grandfather Sol supposedly came up with to win a fiddle contest and his freedom from a Union prison during the Civil War.