Mary Jane Queen Preserved a Family Tradition of Songs and Stories
In Jackson County, North Carolina, the Queen family has long played, sung, and shared the music of their native home. The matriarch of the Queen family was Mary Jane Queen. Her father, James Sylvester Prince, born in 1876, was known as a great banjo player. Mary Jane also absorbed many old songs from her singing grandmothers, and one of her brothers was said to be the first person in the Caney Fork section of Jackson County to own a guitar. Though the old music was always in Mary Jane Queen’s memory, it wasn’t until later in life, after she’d raised eight children and become a widow, that she began to focus on singing and sharing the old songs that she’d grown up with.
The “Down the Road on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina” podcast highlights bluegrass and old-time music stories, performers, and traditions across the mountain and foothills counties of Western North Carolina. Hosted by Laura Boosinger and produced by Kim Clark of WNCW-FM, the podcast is a joint effort of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the North Carolina Arts Council, and WNCW-FM.