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Dancing in Early Gunnison Valley

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Title Saga of the Sanpitch Vol 18
Subject Pioneers
Description Stories and poems about early Southern Utah Pioneers
Publisher Snow College
Date 1986
Type Text
Format image/jpeg
Language eng
Rights Management Snow College
Holding Institution Snow College
ARK ark:/87278/s6n014pd
Setname snowc_sts
Date Created 2005-03-01
Date Modified 2005-03-01
ID 325758
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6n014pd

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Title Dancing in Early Gunnison Valley
Description It was not long until he, with his inborn love of music and his natural talent, began to accompany the first choir, which, had been singing with no piano or organ. Next he began playing for valley dances--one of the earliest forms of entertainment for the settlers, old and young alike. After his marriage to Fredericka Tollestrup in 1875, he became more adept on the fiddle and earned the affectionate nickname of Jim Fiddler; soon his family of boys and girls became known as Jim Fiddler's children. The first dances in the valley were held in private homes--a primitive dugout or a log cabin* They were known as "corner dances" since no other space was available. The dances, of course, were very simple and the dancers few in number. My mother, bom in 1878, was only a child when her parents, and older brother moved from Gunnison to Centerfield. They were in the "field" in 1882 when the first public building was built--a small log structure with a dirt roof, wooden floor, two small windows, and a cobblestone fireplace. The building was used as a church, school house, and for social functions. James played for many dances held in the "meeting house," the name most commonly used by Centerfield residents. One of the most popular dances was called a "wood dance," ¦ The Bishop, Christian A. Madsen, would schedule a dance in payment for a load of wood hauled and split for a widow with a family of children, or for logs to be burnt in the stone fireplace. Any type of square dance, or even the lively Danish-Slide-Off, was permissible, but a waltz was frowned upon, very definitely, by the bishop because he felt it was too worldly, even evil, for his young charges. In fact, at that time many of the settlers termed the waltz a "dog dance." Often James would fiddle away until the wee, small hours of the morning, or until the exhausted dancers were ready to leave for home. Eventually, as time passed, other men began to play: George Saunders, who strummed the banjo, and Chris (Hale Tinker) Madsen, accordionist, but each of the three, musicians played alone, never as an ensemble, 76
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 089_Dancing in Early Gunnison Valley.jpg
Source Saga of the Sanpitch Vol 18
Setname snowc_sts
Date Created 2005-02-19
Date Modified 2005-02-19
ID 325678
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6n014pd/325678