On March 18, 2017, the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund visited landowner Henry Phelps in Nitta Yuma, Mississippi. We visited a couple of different cemeteries in the vicinity, including Nitta Yuma Cemetery, the final resting place of Armenter Chatmon--aka Bo Carter, of the Mississippi Sheiks. This short film shows the relatively well-kept rural burial ground as we found it upon our arrival. The last frame shows the view from Carter's grave on the edge of the field.
Mr. Phelps wants it made known to the world that Nitta Yuma Cemetery is open to the public. The map below shows the preferred easement (blue) that goes past the home of his sister and around the field adjacent to the burial ground (green).
|The death certificate of |
Bo Carter (Armetia Chatmon)
It is difficult to exaggerate the historical significance of Bo Carter in regards to the Mississippi blues. As blues historian Steve Calt points out, only one Mississippian—Memphis Minnie—made more pre-World War II records than Carter, and his music proved some of the most original of all the recorded musicians in the South. Considering the deep well of traditional material that he could have drawn from, his inventiveness is even more remarkable. He grew up in the central Mississippi town of Bolton, which boasted a large number of guitarists, many of whom came from an elder generation. He even had an estimated dozen musically-gifted brothers who formed a string band that played for white square dances. Yet, the majority of his estimated 150 sides reflect the work of a prodigious composer and astute businessman, who managed to keep heading into recording studios long after most blues musicians had returned to the barrel houses and jukes as a supplement to their incomes on the farm.
Click here to read Elaine Hughes account of Bo Carter performing at her house in Vicksburg.
"The County Farm Blues" was recorded on February 12, 1940 in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the last of in upwards of 150 sides recorded by arguably the most professional songwriter and recording artist of the Pre-World War II South. Born to Henderson Chatmon while staying on the county convict farm of Dr. Dupree in Bolton, Mississippi, Armenter Chatmon came up in the highly musical world that seemed to reverberate around his father and mother on the farm (see, "Dr Dupree's Convict Farm," Hinds County Gazette, Oct 8, 1887). The family string band performed all around at different house parties and tourist destinations, some of which impressed so much that local journalists made note of these troubadours in brevities included in the Jackson Clarion Ledger.
|Bo Carter, Will Shade, and Gus Cannon|
© Paul Oliver 1960
|Bo Carter c. 1930|
|Bo Carter c. 1935|