Early country singers.
Fields Mac Ward and his uncle Benjamin Wade Ward were talented musicians who performed traditional Appalachian music from the early years of commercial recording through the urban folk revival of the 1960s. Born in Saddle Creek, near Independence, Virginia, on October 15, 1892, Wade was one of the nine children of Enoch and Rosamond Carico Ward. Enoch and his son David Crockett Ward played ﬁddle, while another son, Joe Ward, played the banjo, and Rosamond sang ballads and songs. Wade started playing the banjo at age eleven and the ﬁddle at sixteen. He later helped form the Buck Mountain Band, which eventually included Fields as a member. Besides learning music from his parents, Fields— born January 23, 1911, on Buck Mountain, Virginia—was also heavily inﬂuenced by the recordings of Riley Puckett, from which he learned guitar technique.
Crockett Ward’s son and Wade’s nephew, Fields Ward made his ﬁrst commercial recordings in the mid-1920s for the OKeh label and recorded later for Gennett. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, he made recordings for the Library of Congress with a string band called the Bogtrotters, which featured Wade on banjo; several performances from those sessions were issued commercially. In 1940 the Bogtrotters performed for a national audience on the CBS radio program American School of the Air.
Shortly after World War II, the Bogtrotters broke up. Both Fields and Wade temporarily quit performing on a regular basis; the former moved to Maryland, where he worked as a house painter, while the latter continued to farm. Rediscovered by folk music revivalists in the 1960s, both musicians appeared at festivals and on several albums as respected practitioners of Virginia’s old-time music. Wade died May 29, 1971, while Fields passed away October 26, 1987.
Cite this Entry
"Fields and Wade Ward," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2017, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 26 May 2017 <http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=207>
"Fields and Wade Ward." (2017) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved May 26, 2017, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia: http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=207