Final Notes, Clifford Hardesty

Fiddler and fiddle maker Clifford Hardesty, 87, of Canal Lewisville in Coshocton County, Ohio, died on July 8th. Born in 1921, he was one of the nine children of John (a coalminer and farmer) and Florence Hardesty of Coshocton County. He began to play music at the age of ten, when he borrowed his older brother’s fiddle and taught himself to play “Red River Valley,” followed by “Coming Round the Mountain” and “Can I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight, Mister?” As a young man he farmed and worked hauling coal and lime with his ’39 pickup truck. He later went into the fuel business, operating a service station in West Lafayette. In 1973 he began teaching himself to build fiddles, of which he built scores over the course of the next thirty-five years. Hardesty appears on multiple recordings (including Clifford Hardesty: Ohio’s Master Fiddler), and played and demonstrated at many festivals throughout the nation. He was a teacher and mentor to many musicians in Ohio and beyond.

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