Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Ledbetters in:
 • Shiloh Baptist Church Cemetery
 • Mooringsport
 • Caddo Parish
 • Louisiana
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In

Changes are coming to Find A Grave. See a preview now.

Huddie William "Lead Belly" Ledbetter
Birth: Jan. 20, 1889
Caddo Parish
Louisiana, USA
Death: Dec. 6, 1949
New York
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

American Folk Blues Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist. Musician from childhood, Lead Belly played accordion, 6 and 12-string guitar, bass and harmonica. He led a wandering life, learning songs by absorbing oral tradition. For a time he worked as an itinerant musician with Blind Lemon Jefferson. In 1918 he was imprisoned for murder, after serving six years, he was pardoned by the Governor of Texas, who had visited the prison an heard him sing. Resuming a life of drifting, Lead Belly was imprisoned for attempted murder in 1930 in the Angola, Louisiana prison farm. There he was discovered by the folklorists John and Alan Lomax, who were collecting songs for the Library of Congress. A campaign spearheaded by the Lomaxes secured his release in 1934 and he embarked on a concert tour of eastern colleges. Subsequently, he published 48 songs and commentary in 1936 about Depression-era conditions of blacks, recorded extensively and from 1937 when he settled in New York City performed for political causes. He worked with Woody Guthrie, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and others as the Headline Singers, performed on radio and appeared in a short film. In 1945, shortly before his death, he gave a concert in Paris. Lead Belly died penniless, but within six months his song "Goodnight, Irene" had become a million-record hit for the singing group "The Weavers," along with other pieces from his repertoire, among them "The Midnight Special" and "Rock Island Line," which became a standard. 
Family links: 
  Martha Promise Ledbetter (1904 - 1968)
Shiloh Baptist Church Cemetery
Caddo Parish
Louisiana, USA
GPS (lat/lon): 32.59637, -94.01432
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Cinnamonntoast4
Record added: Jan 24, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6121635
Huddie William Lead Belly Ledbetter
Added by: Bobb Edwards
Huddie William Lead Belly Ledbetter
Added by: Anonymous
Huddie William Lead Belly Ledbetter
Added by: Brasshalo
There are 2 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Heather
 Added: Jun. 6, 2017
- Ronald Walton
 Added: May. 2, 2017

- James Broxson
 Added: Apr. 2, 2017
There are 295 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.4 after 128 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service