Bill Hewitt 8/9/26 - 1/24/07

Aug. 9, 1926 - Jan. 24, 2007


William Hewitt, 80, Sarasota, died Jan. 24, 2007. He was born Aug. 9, 1926, in Chester, Pa., and came to Sarasota in 1951. He was a finish carpenter and a Navy veteran of World War II. He was a member of Friends of Florida Folk and Sarasota Folk Club.

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Don Grooms 1930 - 1998


Don Grooms 1930 - 1998 


Don Groom was a Cherokee Indian and Florida songwriter. Born in Cherokee, North Carolina, Don later went on to study journalism and traught at the University of Florida in Gainesville. His songs are song at festivals and campgrounds throughout Florida. He wrote songs about Native Americans, Florida and about being a good human being. He was appreciated for his original songs, as well as his wit, humor and sincerity.

 Born in 1930, Don Grooms was raised in Cherokee, North Carolina. He came from a family with Cherokee and Appalachian heritage. As a child, he played a cornstalk fiddle, a cigar-box banjo, and a $3 Silvertone guitar. At age 10, Grooms began playing for square dances and at 14 he belonged to a dance band that played pop tunes. Grooms became a professional journalist and moved to Florida to teach journalism at the University of Florida. While in Gainesville, Grooms was influenced by Will McLean, which motivated him to return to songwriting and playing guitar. He became a fixture at the Florida Folk Festival, where he performed on stage alongside Florida Folk Troubadours Gamble Rogers, Jim Billie and Will McLean. Grooms received the Florida Folk Heritage Award in 1996.

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Cousin Thelma Boltin 1904 - 1992

Thelma Ann Boltin
Cousin Thelma Ann Boltin,   was director and emcee of the Florida Folk Festival for 30 years, an institution that she helped found in 1952. Boltin was actively involved in the field of folklore for over 40 years, helping start smaller festivals like the Heart of Florida Folk Festival, held in Dade City. She served as the chairman of folk music for the Florida and National Federation of Music Clubs and was the recipient of a national award from the American Association for State and Local History for "contributions to preservation and popularization of Florida folkways, folklore, and folk music."

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James Gamble Rogers 1937-1991

James Gamble Rogers, IV
January 31, 1937 - October 10, 1991

"The stories I tell are all true except
the few that are obviously whimsy."


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Will McLean 1919 - 1990

The late Will McLean is best known as Florida's premier folk song writer. McLean was born in 1919 near Chipley, Florida. He spent most of his life in the woods and writing songs. McLean's love of music was nurtured by his grandfather who gave him his first instrument, a gourd and cornstalk fiddle with a horsehair bow. At the age of six, he wrote his first song, "Away O'ee."

Read more: Will McLean 1919 - 1990