Famous Fiddler Violet Hensley

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Violet Hensley, center, appearing on The Art Linkletter Show; circa 1970. Photo care of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.

Famous fiddler Violet Hensley, who was born near Mount Ida, is known as an Arkansas Living Treasure, named so by the Arkansas Arts Council in the early 2000s. She is over a century old and along with playing music, she makes fiddles too.  More details about this interesting lady can be found at her website, where she dubs herself ‘The Whittlin’ Fiddler of Yellville.’

Brumley was born near Mount Ida in 1916 to George Washington Brumley and Nora Springer Brumley. Her father was a musician and fiddle maker and she wanted to be the same. He made his first fiddle at a young age and she followed suite, telling her father that she also wanted to make an instrument. She followed his skills and used homemade tools to craft her first fiddle at 15 years old. You can learn more about her father George Brumley at a visit to the Heritage House Museum in Mount Ida, where one of his fiddles is displayed.

Below, is a video on Violet Hensley that was part of the Arkansas Made, Arkansas Living Treasure Film Series, which was a project of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.