Monday, December 21, 2009

J.W. Day


My Great Grandfather is James William Day (aka) J.W. Day, Jilson Setters from Ashland Ky.

He recorded 10 songs on 5, 78 records for Victor in 1928.

I have three of the records and am looking for the other two.

I need :
1) The Wild Wagoner / Marthis Campbell
2) Way up on Clinch Mountain / The Arkansas Traveller

My sister and I have found about 60 pictures of him in a collection on the web. We found a book written about him called "The singin' Fiddler of Lost Hope Hollow" by Jean Thomas, plus three other books written by her that include him, a poster of J.W. called "The Fiddler" and recordings he made for The Library of Congress in 1934 and 1937. The records I have now have been matted and framed with details and a picture. They turned out very nice. We have been able to locate his marriage cert. to my Great Grandmother from 1886 and his death cert. from 1942 We intend to donate all these items to the museum in Ashland KY when we pass away. They already have a very nice display about him and Jean Thomas and these items will fit nicely.

Here is the link to the pictures.
It is to The University of Louisville.

The pictures are in the Jean Thomas Collection.

Jean Thomas "discovered" J.W. and was his manager from the late 1920s until his death in 1942.

Many people don't know that his stage name, Jilson Setters, comes from his father Jilson Day and his mother Elizabeth Setters.

One of the records I need is on ebay. I think I will bid on it and see what happens.

Thanks again.

Jim Carpenter


Got the CD's yesterday. They were more than I had hoped for. Thank you so much. The sound was much better than I thought it would be. There were 3 songs from the LOC that I did not have. Thanks to you, I now have all ten of the songs he recorded for Victor on CD.

I also have 4 out of 5 Victor 78s he recorded. I was able to win the one on eBay last Sun. So, our collection is coming along well.

You talked about seeing the Albert Hall while in London. J.W. had quite a trip over there. He wrote the song Fiddler of Lost Hope Hollow while on the ship going over. He told my Mom that he was the only one in his party that did not get sea sick on the ship.

Congrats on your 25th wedding anniversary.

Thanks again,


  1. Norm, I have enjoyed reading your blog. My name is Robert L. Day and William J. is my Guncle.
    Thank you so much for sharing.
    P.S. My cousin in Califormia found a copy of the book"fiddler of lost hope hollow". Jean Thomas signed it, but it had an "X" for Blind bill, and words saying it was bills mark.
    Thanks again for your blog.

  2. Hi, my great grandfather was Robert L. Day, the brother of J.W. Day. I talked to Jim Carpenter today. I have done alot of geneology of the Day family and have it on I am always happy to meet new relatives and any info you can give me on our family history is appreciated. I have found out that J.W. mother's maiden name was Polley and it was her step-father's name that was Setters.
    Linda Day Hall

  3. My grandfather was Claude Day his family decended from England I had it raced all the way back from Michigan to Chicago to England on Ancestry but I did not pay to maintain it / view it any longer.