A fiddle made by Charlie Blake, grandson of Stewart Blake of Clover Fork.
"A family of Blakes . . . lived on Clover Fork, near Orlando . . . a colorful family, many of the members go by nicknames. Hillary or 'Hilly' Blake was born on Clover Fork in 1911. He was a fiddle and dulcimer maker. He recalled that his uncle, Stewart Blake, hewed a dulcimer out of a fence rail. "Bunk" Blake either 'made or helped to make' instruments. Amos or "Daddy" Blake also became involved with making instruments. "Tater" Blake has an old chestnut dulcemer made by Stewart with an elaborately carved peg head. Hilly remembered that in hard times, Stewart made his strings out of old broom wire. I asked Audra Van Noy, who has an old dulcimer made by Stewart and [her dad] Bunk Blake, if had been written inside. She said no, neither one of them could read or write." -Central West Virginia historian Gerald Milnes, from the chapter about dulcimers in his 1999 book Play of a Fiddle. (pg. 142)
It is Charlie's cousins, the children of his uncle Stewart Scott Blake (1869-1948), who were described by Milnes at the top of this entry. Milnes mentioned that Stewart Blake swore that two things in particular were needed to make good sounding dulcimers: a hollowed out the finger board and leaving the back of the instrument unfinished. (pg 136). This observation echoes the experience of his cousin Hobert on Bragg Run in the following exerpt from Milnes' book.
Milnes also tells us that in the 1950s Basil Blake took his dulcimers in a new direction. He made a small sized dulcimer for his niece Reva Cutlip. He continued to to make dulcimers in this new size. This was a remarkable innovation in the Blake family culture.
Not only was Bunk Blake good at making dulcimers, but Uncle Zeke reported in 1936 that “Bunk Blake of Clover Fork is manufacturing sugar scoops made out of tin cans. Mrs. P. J. [Jesse] Bragg and “Possum” Skinner are his sales agents.”