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Doc Williams
and The Border Riders
Born:  June 26, 1914
Died:  January 31, 2011
West Virgnia Music Hall of Fame (2009)
WWVA Original Jamboree
WJAY Mullins, SC
WWVA Wheeling, WV
WFMD Frederick, MD (1945)
Veteran U. S. Navy

About The Artist

Doc Williams made his first appearance on the WWVA Jamboree back in December of 1937. He's the oldest living regular member of the Jamboree and still a favorite of the fans. It didn't take him long to capture the hearts of the fans - in 1938 he won the distinction as the station's most popular act.

His band the Border Riders were there when he joined - back then it included "Rawhide" Flincher, his brother Cy Williams, Sunflower and Curly Sims.

Before Doc and the Border Riders made it to WWVA, he made a few stops. He grew up in the small towns of Pennsylvania. Doc and his brother played locally in the Kittaning area until Doc went back to Cleveland in 1932 and joined a group called Doc McCaulley and his Kansas Clodhoppers, where Doc learned a lot about the music of the West Virginia mountains.

It wasn't long til Doc formed his own group called the Allegheny Ramblers. That group had his brother Cy (real name Milo) on fiddle and Curley Sims on mandolin while Doc handled guitar and harmonica.

Around 1935, Doc and his group went to radio station KQV in Pittsburgh and also changed their name to the Cherokee Hillbillies. Shortly after that they met up with a female singer named Billy Walker and became the Texas Longhorns. She left for WWL in New Orleans in 1937. Doc and his group, regrouped so to speak and then became the Border Riders. It was at this time, Cowboy Doc (as he was known then) took the surname of Williams, too.

Later on, Doc also started his own record label, Wheeling Records. And opened a store in Wheeling across from the Capitol Music Hall . In fact, his wife, Chickie had quite a hit with "Beyond the Sunset" that included a poem called "Should You Go First" back in 1947.

Timeline and Trivia Notes

  • Real name was Andrew Smik; from Cleveland, Ohio
  • Founded Wheeling Records
  • Started "Doc Willams Country Store" in Wheeling

Border Rider members included:

  • Doc Williams
  • Curley Sims
  • Doc's brother, Cy
  • Sunflower (real name Mary Calvas (who was also married to Cy)
  • Hamilton "Rawhide" Flincher, who played a comedian role
  • Big Slim (Harry C. McAuliffe) joined in December 1937 as vocalist
  • James "Froggie" Cortez later took over for Rawhide in comedy
  • Marion Martin, accordion player was added later, too
  • Doc's wife, Chickie (real name Wanda) filled in for Sunflower when needed and eventually held that role permanently and became a star in her own right
  • Shorty Godwin appeared as Hiram Hayseed for a stint, too in the comedy role.

Doc Williams and the Border Riders came onto the music scene in 1937. Cowboy Doc as he was called then had been a member of Billie Walker's Texas Longhorns group, but she had decided to move on to radio station WWL in New Orleans, Louisiana. Doc then decided to form his own band and changed his name at that time to Doc Williams. His real name? You can find that elsewhere on the site.

We'll be adding to the story here as time goes by and we catch up.

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group members, 1937 (Pittsburgh, PA):

  • Doc Williams
  • Hamliton "Rawhide" Fincher
  • Mary Jane Mosier
  • Cy Williams

Group members, 1937 (Wheeling, WV):

  • Doc Williams
  • Hamilton "Rawhide" Fincher
  • Cy Williams
  • Sunflower (Mary Calvas)
  • Curley Simms

Group members, 1938-40 (Wheeling, WV and Memphis, TN)

  • Doc Williams
  • Curley Simms
  • Cy Williams
  • Froggie Cortez
  • Sunflower (Mary Calvas)

Group members, 1942 (Wheeling, WV):

  • Doc Williams
  • Smokey Davis
  • Jesse Porter
  • Cy Williams
  • Sunflower (Mary Calvas)

Credits & Sources

  • Mountaineer Jamboree, By Ivan Tribe, The University Press of Kentucky, 1984
  • The Simplified By Ear System of Guitar Chords by Doc Williams, Published by Andrew J. Smik, Jr., First printing, June 1943

Sound Sample—(YouTube Video Format)

Silver Bells

Printer Friendly Version

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1085 A Broken Memories
  1085 B Snow Deer
Wheeling Records
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  DW1002 A Silver Bell
  DW1002 B Willy Roy, The Crippled Boy
  DW1003 A Merry Maiden Polka
  DW1003 B Broken Memories, The Crippled Boy
  DW1006 A Roses Are Blooming
  DW1006 B Snow Deer
  DW1007 A Night Wind Waltz
  DW1007 B Weary Tired And Blue
  DW1008 A Red Wing
  DW1008 B My Old Brown Coat And Me
  DW1009 A Fire Fly Waltz
  DW1009 B Polka Girl
  DW1010 A Man In The Moon
  DW1010 B Little Blossom
  DW1011 A Rainbow
  DW1011 B Mary Of The Wild Moor
  DW1013 A Glorious Home (w/Cy Williams)
  DW1013 B My Sinner Friend (w/Cy Williams)
  DW1014 A Wheeling Back To Wheeling, W.Va.
  DW1014 B Three Wishes
  DW1015 A Fetchin' Gretchen Home
  DW1015 B Why Should I Cry?
  DW1016 A Prisoner At The Bar
  DW1016 B I Love You Little Darling
  DW1017 A One Heart One Life
  DW1017 B There's Another Always Waiting
  DW1021 A My House Of Broken Dreams
  DW1021 B Hannah

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