Carrollton Patriot Newspaper

10 Mar 1944
Played here 50 years ago
The files of the Patriot of 50 years ago record that the famous blind Negro pianist "Blind Tom" gave an exhibition in Carrollton on Tuesday night March 6th 1894.
"Blind Tom" had a national reputation and appeared in New York City and other large cities each year for about 40 years. He was born in 1850, of slave parents, near Columbus Georgia, and gave his first exhibition about 1861. Little is known about his early training, nor of the gift of repeating musical selections.
He was mentally unbalanced and difficult to manage while on tour. Often at the completion of a selection he would spring not applied himself. As to his ability, he was advertised as being "able to play correctly, the most difficult composition after hearing it once." He was also supposed to be able to "play two melodies simultaneously."
"Blind Tom" had been given the name Thomas Greene Bethune. His death was reported many times, as will be noted from the news item from the old files. He was reported at swept away in Johnstown flood ( which occurred in 1889) but this was not true. He is recorded as having died in 1908.
The patriotic of March 2, 1894, states: “The World-renowned pianist “Blind Tom” Will give a concert in the Christian church in the city on Tuesday evening, March 6th. Thomas has been known for years as the most wonderful pianist in the world, and the people of Carrollton are indeed fortunate in having an opportunity to again hear him."
In the same issue, "the original blind [Tom] is to give an entertainment at the Christian church next Tuesday night. He is in St. Louis this week and the papers have been busy correcting the impression that [Tom] died on diverse locations in the past 20 years, and was swept away by Johnstown flood. Tom still lives and is still oblivious to everything but music."
"Blind Tom" appeared at Greenfield prior to his local engagement and a green field correspondent of the Patriot had this to say:
"Blind Tom, The pianist was greeted by a large audience at the Methodist Church Monday night. He is a good musician, but if he is really and truly the original Blind Tom he has failed to hold his own. Persons here who heard can't 20 years ago say that he was a much better performer than, and some doubt has spent expressed as to whether this Negro is the genuine article or a counterfeit Tom. He did not make a success at repeating the selection which Miss Belknap played for him, but the entertainment, as a whole, was quite enjoyable. The receipts were $91, and the Epworth League got $31.85."
The account of local entertainment reads as follows:
"The original and only Blind Tom appeared at the Christian church Tuesday evening and gave almost exactly the same program he has been giving for the past twenty-five years. Tom is nothing more than a musical curiosity, a sort of few men phonograph that shows a remarkable power of receiving and retaining sound impressions. He is growing fleshier with advancing years, and his Fourier is not so quick nor his hands so nimble as they used to be. He still applauds his own performances and repeats, in a parrot-like manner, the introductory speeches made by his manager years ago. His imitations of other instruments on the piano are clever. J.A. Carson played a selection that was new to Tom, and the latter gave a fairly good imitation of the rendering. The House was crowded and the

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