Phoeba Cottrell Parsons was born in 1908 near Arnoldsburg in rural Calhoun County. Phoeba (pronounced Fee-bee) grew up surrounded by music and dance and became a fine banjo player while still a young girl. Her father John Cottrell was a fiddler and he taught young Phoeba to play the fiddlesticks; she later became a skilled flatfoot dancer and ballad singer. Phoeba enjoyed sharing her talents with others well into her 90's, even thrilling an audience with a little flatfoot dance when she was in the right mood. She lived in Calhoun County near the town of Orma until her death in 2001 at age 93. Photograph by Michael Keller.

Phoeba Parsons