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Uncle Rufe Armstrong
and his Coon Hunters
Born:  November 1, 1920
Died:  January 1, 2005
WMMN Sagebrush Roundup
WMMN Fairmont, WV
WRRF Washington, NC
WSAZ Huntington, WV

About The Artist

Uncle Rufe Armstrong and his Coon Hunters were a popular act on the old WMMN Sagebrush Roundup in Fairmont, West Virginia in the early 1940s. Uncle Rufe as he was known had spent a few years on the vaudeville circuits with the Keith circuit as it was known. He was a native of Bern, North Carolina, and in the WMMN Family Album of 1941, admitted he was 38 years old at the time.

Another member of the troupe was Uncle Rufe's wife, "Petunia" who was born in Jacksonville and dropped out of school when she was in the 11th grade so she could tour with the WSM Grand Ole Opry road show. They said she started off as a "toe dancer" but later she turned to "eccentric dancing" because she grew a bit tall.

"Hill Billy Bill" Kirby was another member of the troupe and was a West Virginia native and had started at WMMN in 1932. He also did time as an announcer, engineer and entertainer.

Earl Sampson was born in Moundsville, WV on a farm in 1917 and was known as Little Sampson with the group. He joined the Coon Hunters in 1940 and was known as "The World's Biggest Little Fiddler".

Then there was Mary Elizabeth Minner who they called "Boots". She was the newest member of the Coon Hunters back in 1941 and played what they coined a "...wicked bass fiddle". She also handled some vocal chores.

Credits & Sources

  • WMMN Family Album 1941; Publishers Unknown, but probably WMMN; 1941

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