Major Franklin

The National Fiddler Hall of Fame



Major Franklin


Major Lee Franklin (August 8, 1904 – January 2, 1981) was and is a legend among Texas fiddlers and fiddlers across the nation. He was born in August 1904 in Amity, Arkansas, and when he was eight, the family moved to Northeast Texas. His father was a fiddle player, so he grew up hearing music. When he was four, his father gave him a small metal fiddle; he practiced on it and on his father's fiddle when his father was not home. According to those who knew him, he became a perfectionist when playing the fiddle; he did not believe in stunt fiddling or other practices to detract the listeners from hearing mistakes or to impress the audience. For a living he worked at a variety of occupations from farming, to working in the oil fields, to working for Kraft Foods; he played with regional bands, over radio stations and for dances, which meant that he played a variety of music styles. In 1949 he won the World's Champion of Fiddling Contest in Crockett, Texas and through the years he competed against numerous other fiddling legends. He was highly respected for humor and storytelling as well as for fiddling. Major Lee Franklin died January 2, 1981, but his music and influence lives on. He and his wife are buried in Denison, Texas.

Major Franklin was inducted into The National Fiddler Hall of Fame in 2011.