Final Notes, Cecil Polley

Illinois fiddler Cecil Polley died on August 12, at the age of 100. He was born in Fancher, Illinois, and grew up farming, playing baseball, and, from the age of 12, playing fiddle in a family band with his father, grandfather, and aunt.

Polley farmed for many years, and raised whiteface cattle. In 1969 he retired from farming, and began a new career as an animal control warden in Montgomery County. He and his wife Nellie were avid square dancers, and he was active in the community as a Mason and through his interest in Democratic politics. Until the age of 98, he appeared in area parades driving his Allis Chalmers tractor. He was also a collector of political memorabilia, and is remembered for his enthusiasm for such favorite foods as fried chicken, ham and gravy, tomatoes, and butterscotch pie.

In 1969, Polley formed the Country Ramblers, a band who played throughout Central Illinois. He was a charter member of the Illinois Old Time Fiddlers Association, and competed in fiddle contests until the age of 97. He finally laid down the fiddle in the final year of his life, playing for the last time at his 100th birthday party.


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