"Blind Dave"

There appear to have been several blind street fiddlers named Dave roaming Kentucky in the late nineteenth century.There was Dave Day of Morgan county who was part of the Blind Day Brothers. Then there was also Dave Finch and Dave Stevens. There was also a David Henderson from Springfield, Ohio. As the clippings below show, there was some confusion about the identity of these blind street fiddlers.

Highland Weekly News (Hillsboro, Ohio) ~ December 30, 1875

A poor blind fiddler named David Henderson, from Springfield, has been giving street concerts the past week. He plays and sings very well, and seems to gather in a pretty good harvest of nickels and dimes.

Highland Weekly News (Hillsboro, Ohio) ~ October 31, 1878

The old blind fiddler appeared on our streets again last week, and doled out his woeful tunes to gaping crowds of idle listeners.

Frankfort Weekly Roundabout ~ August 7, 1880

Blind Dave swayed back and forth and made music on the street corners Thursday and from the shouts that proceeded from the crowds that surrounded him we should judge that his songs were new and amusing.

Louisville Courier Journal ~ April 19, 1882


April 17.—This being County Court day and the third day of Rev. George O. Barnes' revival an unusually large crowd was in town. The streets were crowded early with many from adjoining towns and counties. Half a dozen auctioneers made "Rome howl" selling stock, while the reaping, mowing and threshing machine agents were on hand, with other small venders [sic], including "Blind Dave," the fiddler.

Danville Kentucky Advocate ~ October 18, 1889

Two people, evidently objects of charity, were on our streets Wednesday. One, a blind man, who played the violin, the other a woman, who had lost one of her limbs.

Danville Kentucky Advocate ~ February 6, 1891

"Blind Dave," the fiddler, married a woman in Louisville who is also blind, and they lived happily together until she was taken sick. Dave didn't want to be encumbered with a sick wife, so he stuck his fiddle under his arm a few days ago and went away, taking a one-legged woman with him.

Stanford Semi-Weekly Interior Journal ~ February 20, 1891


—Old David Stevens, the blind fiddler, well-known all over Kentucky, eloped to Jeffersonville with Jane Glachem, a woman with a wooden leg, and was married.

Salem Daily News (Ohio) ~ August 22, 1893

Springfield, O., Aug. 22.— Dave Henderson, familiarly known as "Blind Dave," and one of the best known characters in Central Ohio cities, died here in the infirmary of inflammation of the bowels. Dave made his living by fiddling on street corners, and had his regular route, just as theatrical combinations do. He was a very peculiar looking old fellow, and sang and played the fiddle in a style which was unique. He had a great many songs, but no one ever distinguished a word of what he was singing about. He was very popular and picked up a great deal of money, so much, in fact, that he was able to support a wife, who died two years ago, and two sons and a daughter, who now live in Dayton. He had a wonderful knowledge of the cities he visited, and found his way around them without the least assistance. He knew where all the town pumps were, and the corners where he played.

Frankfort Roundabout ~ September 9, 1893

Another Dave.

The "Blind Dave" who died at Springfield, Ohio, is not the blind fiddler who has been seesawing back and forth and sawing on the same old tunes for the last thirty years, at the court day and other public gatherings in this part of the country. The latter individual is very much alive and still able to scrape cat gut.

Frankfort Roundabout ~ August 11, 1894

Blind Dave, the fiddler, who was reported dead last year, is still fiddliing for court day crowds in the central part of the state.

Richmond Climax ~ August 26, 1896

The Daves.

"Blind" Dave, the fiddler, and his crippled wife were in town Monday, furnishing crude music to all who would listen to it. Dave plays the same old tunes he did twenty-five years ago.—Georgetown Times.

Dave comes to Richmond occasionaly, and from the number of other places where we have seen him, he goes nearly everywhere else occasionally. A dozen or so years ago, we were driving through the streets of Nashville, and there was Dave sawing and jawing just as he did 'befo' the wahr.

Bourbon News (Paris, Ky) ~ July 6, 1897

BLIND DAVE, the fiddler, was a court day visitor here yesterday giving the same old tunes he scraped out twenty years ago. He was accompanied by his one-legged wife.

Maysville Daily Public Ledger (Maysville, Ky) ~ July 8, 1897

Maysville can furnish all kinds of attractions this hot weather for those who were not fortunate enough to have been born wealthy and have to be content with a bath in the surf of the muddy Ohio instead of at the seashore. Yesterday morning a one legged woman leading a blind man, who had a very ancient fiddle, was an attraction that but few places can boast. It is thought that the Manager at Aberdeen will get them as a side line to the merry go-round.

Bourbon News (Paris, Ky) ~ October 1, 1897

W. H. Davis, of the Fast Mail, (Eastern) writes from Wheeling that the company played to large business this week in West Virginia, and that the management is well pleased with his work. The company plays in Ohio until the 9th, in Pennsylvania until the 12th, reaching New York state the 13th, and playing the next three nights in Rochester. Seeing Blind Dave, the fiddler, and his one-legged wife, in Wheeling, brought memories of old Kentucky to Mr. Davis.

Louisville Courier Journal ~ January 13, 1898

["New Albany" column]

J. F. Blount, of Louisville, while drunk yesterday, lifted ten cents from the hat of "Blind Dave," the minstrel, who has his station at the east end of the market house, and proceeded to spend the two nickels for a drink. He was arrested by Patrolman Stark, and he will have a hearing today.

Paducah Sun ~ June 20, 1901



Mr. Will Finch has returned from Morehouse, Mo., where he was called by the illness of his father, Mr. Dave Finch, who died there a few days ago.

The deceased was one of the best known characters in Southwest Kentucky, and for many years was a celebrated fiddler. Dave Finch was known all over Marshall, Calloway, Ballard and McCracken counties. He was an "old time" fiddler and was perhaps 65 years old at the time of his death. The burial took place at Morehouse.