1892 - 1961
From Forsyth County, North Carolina, Ernest Thompson lost his sight at age 18 in a sawmill accident. Although he attended the State School for the Blind and learned skills commonly taught at the time (piano tuning, broom making), he became most interested in developing his musical skills. Becoming a one-man band adept at many instruments, Thompson performed as a street musician and at dances, building a large repertoire of songs. In April and September of 1924, Thompson went to New York to record the songs he would be remembered for, most notably "Are You From Dixie?" which became a standard and is characterized by Thompson's high-pitched singing.
Tribe, Ivan M. "Ernest Thompson." Century of Country: The Definitive Country Music Encyclopedia. August 16, 2004.