Hillbilly-Music.com—The People. The Music. The History.
Clay Everhart
and North Carolina Cooper Boys
Born:  June 3, 1889
Died:  December 31, 1963

About The Artist

With his band members the North Carolina Cooper Boys, banjo picker Henry Clay Everhart had a quality stringband in the Lexington, North Carolina area for several years from the early-to-mid 1920s. At first glance, one might suspect (as did both Bob Carlin and myself) that the Cooper Boys had been employed in barrel manufacturing. But actually that was the surnames of two cousins Tom (July 15, 1894 — June 20, 1983) and Dewey (June 2, 1899 — November 23, 1951) who played guitar and fiddle respectively. Everhart held a regular job as a mirror beveller while the Coopers moved from farm labor to textile mills.

In 1927, the threesome cut six numbers for the OKeh label at their Winston-Salem sessions. Only two of the numbers were released. In 1931 the trio went to Atlanta and did four numbers for Columbia. With the deepening Depression, again only two numbers saw the light of day.

Not long afterward the band broke up as Everhart's work took him to Lenoir where he continued working as a mirror beveller in the furniture industry for some 27 years. He eventually formed a band called the Sunset Travelers, had a weekly radio program at WJRI from 1947 in Lenoir, and after retirement settled in Florida and played with local musicians. Remaining in the Lexington area, the Cooper Boys played locally, usually with pickers named Berrier until Dewey died. The Everhart and Cooper musical history was researched and published through the efforts of Bob Carlin.

Family information from Ancestry.com:

  • Clay Everhart was married twice - Notie Viola (Lloyd) (August 9, 1894 — January 15, 1921) and Ila Bell Hunt (November 9, 1904 — February 8, 1995). By searching for Ila Bell, ancestry records were found for Clay. The 1920 census shows that Clay and Natie (Katie?) had four children, Mildred, Dorothy, Hilda and Alama. The 1940 census shows that Clay and Beulah had five children, Clayton Wesley, Jack William, Ruth, Dewey, Bobby and Nancy. North Carolina marriage records show he married Notie Viola on September 26, 1908; Ila Bell on December 20, 1923.

  • Thomas Franklin (Tom) Cooper married Beulah Walser (January 11, 1903 — June 30, 1983) on October 21, 1921. Census records for 1940 indicate they had four children: Two sons - Laurence and Elmer and two daugthers, Vernie and Ruth.

  • Robert Dewey (Dewey) Cooper married Madie Fultz (September 28, 1900 — October 11, 2004) on September 12, 1919. Census records did not list any children.

Clay Everhart - North Carolina Cooper Boys - Columbia 15737-D - October 1931

Credits & Sources

Sound Sample—(YouTube Video Format)

The Rose With A Broken Stem

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  15737 D A Rose With A Broken Stem
  15737 D B Standing By A Window
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  45174 A Daniel in the Den of Lions (as North Carolina Cooper Boys)
  45174 B Red Rose Of Texas (as North Carolina Cooper Boys)