Leadbelly LbNA # 66544
|Placed Date||Feb 28 2014|
Huddie Ledbetter, better known to the world as “Lead Belly,” survived a life that included brutalizing poverty and long stretches in prison to become an emblematic folk singer and musician. He is renowned for his songs - the best known of which include “Rock Island Line,” “Goodnight, Irene,” “The Midnight Special” and “Cotton Fields” - as well as his prowess on the 12-string guitar. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmQXmqbZ3Pc
Leadbelly began to have serious troubles with the law beginning in 1915, and by the following year he was an escaped criminal living under the alias of Walter Boyd. Leadbelly shot and killed Will Stafford in December 1917, while on the run from the law. He was quickly arrested, convicted, and sentenced to Shaw State Prison in Huntsville, Texas. Leadbelly spent the majority of the next seven years in the Texas penal system, becoming a legend for his labor ability and his singing. While in prison, he sang a ballad for Governor Pat Neff in January 1924, begging for a pardon that was granted a year later.
Lead Belly subsequently moved to New York, where he worked as a chauffeur (for John Lomax) and occasional performer. During the last 15 years of his life, he became friends with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and became known as “the King of the Twelve-String Guitar.” Lead Belly recorded for a variety of labels, including Folkways, and performed tirelessly, though still subsisting in relative poverty, until his death in 1949 of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Ironically, shortly after his death, his recording of “Goodnight, Irene” sold over 2 million copies.
To locate the letterbox:
This box is located in Huntsville State Park. Pick up a trail map and locate where the Lone Star Trail intersects the Chinquapin Trail (near #8 on the trail map). After arriving at this intersection, go north on the Chinquapin about 50 steps and you will see a trail marker. Continue following this curvy path about 150 more steps and you will come to a sharp hairpin curve to the left around a tall pine. On the right side of the trail, you will see a long smooth fallen tree. Look forward (west) to the end of this tree and you will notice a large pine tree at the end. The box is at the base of this tree. *There is also a bonus box nearby.