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 John William “Blind Boone” Boone

John William “Blind Boone” Boone

Birth
Miami, Saline County, Missouri, USA
Death 4 Oct 1927 (aged 63)
Warrensburg, Johnson County, Missouri, USA
Burial Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 4391 · View Source
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Concert Pianist and Musical Composer. He is credited, along with Louis Moreau Gottschalk, with giving legitimacy to black music. He was born in a Federal militia camp near Miami, Missouri, to a contraband slave named Rachel Carpenter, who had been owned by descendants of Daniel Boone. His father was a bugler in the 7th Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Union) and his mother worked as a cook in the federal military camp. When he was six months old, doctors removed both of his eyes in an attempt to cure his cerebral meningitis or "brain fever." He was raised in Warrensburg, Missouri, where his mother worked as a servant for various families. He possessed a musical talent that was recognizable at a remarkably young age. As a result, his hometown of Warrensburg decided to ensure that he received an education and paid for him to attend the Saint Louis School for the Blind in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1872 to study piano and learn Braille and the broom trade so he could support himself. He soon became bored with his experience there, and he was expelled for skipping classes to go listen to black musicians who played music in the nearby taverns because the new school superintendent did not allow black students to play the piano. He returned to Warrensburg where he began playing with local musicians. In 1880. In Columbia, Missouri, he had the honor of playing at a concert given by famous pianist, Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins, and was able to repeat Tom's music note-for-note. The fame he received from this performance soon ignited his professional career. He met John Lange, Jr. who owned an entertainment hall in Columbia, Missouri. He recognized his talents and they formed a partnership called the Blind Boone Company. He played over 8,000 concerts throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico, performing classical (which was his first love, particularly that of German composer Franz List) and ragtime music. In 1912 he became one of the first black artists recorded by the QRS piano roll company. He died of a heart attack at the age of 63 while visiting family in Warrensburg. A sculpture dedicated to him created by artist Ai Qiu Hopen resides in Blind Boone Park in Warrensburg.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 21 Jan 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4391
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John William “Blind Boone” Boone (17 May 1864–4 Oct 1927), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4391, citing Columbia Cemetery, Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .