Castor Folk Fiddle

Description (Brief)
This fiddle was made by John Castor of Piney Woods, Mississippi in 1850. This folk violin from traditional violin shape has “filled” center bouts, creating a “guitar-type” outline. The instrument bears a strengthening bar inside the body extending from bottom to top block. This fiddle is made of a one-piece table of pine, one-piece back of irregularly figured maple, ribs of similar maple, maple (?) neck, pegbox and plain “handle” in hammer shape. The back of the fiddle bears a label that reads: “Made by John Castor, “Piney Woods” near / Woodville, Miss. in 1850. He was left / handed, and the best jig fiddler in / the whole country. Castor heard Charles / Wyn(er) (?) (a pupil of de Beriot) play and / out of gratitude gave him this violin. / Wyn(er) (?) gave it to William Feltus, he to / Thomas M. Wetherill, my brother, and / my brother to me, Mayer Wetherill / in 1857.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Castor, John
Physical Description
pine (table material)
maple (back material)
overall: 23 7/8 in x 8 1/8 in x 4 in; 60.6425 cm x 20.6375 cm x 10.16 cm
Place Made
United States: Mississippi, Piney Woods
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Louis Krasner
Additional Media

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