Band Members

Ernest Van Haden Stoneman

Born: May 25, 1893 in Galax , Virginia Death: June 14, 1968 in Nashville , Tennessee Primary Instrument: Guitar and Autoharp

Hattie Elvinia Frost Stoneman

Born: September 28, 1899 in Galax , Virginia Death: July 22, 1976 in Nashville , Tennessee Primary Instrument: Fiddle

Pattie Inez “Patsy” Stoneman Murphy

Born: May 25, 1925 in Galax , Virginia Death: July 23, 2015 in Manchester , Tennessee

Calvin Scott “Scotty” Stoneman

Born: August 4, 1932 in Galax , Virginia Death: March 4, 1973 in Nashville , Tennessee Primary Instrument: Fiddle

Donna LaVerne Stoneman

Born: February 7, 1934 in Alexandria , Virginia Primary Instrument: Mandolin

Oscar James “Jimmy” Stoneman

Born: March 8, 1937 in Washington, D.C. , DC Death: September 22, 2002 in Smyrna , Tennessee Primary Instrument: Bass

Veronica Loretta “Roni” Stoneman

Born: May 5, 1938 in Washington, D.C. , DC Primary Instrument: Banjo

Van Haden Stoneman

Born: December 31, 1940 in Washington, D.C. , DC Death: June 3, 1995 in Rutherford , Tennessee Primary Instrument: Guitar


BMI’s database credits various Stoneman family members with 119 published compositions, co-compositions, and arrangements including:

“Blue Grass Ramble”

“Girl From Galax”

“Lonesome Banjo”

“Sinking of the Titanic”

“That Pal of Mine”

“Turn Me Loose”

Early Influences

Buzz Busby

Chubby Wise

Came to Fame With

The Blue Grass Champs, 1955-1962

Performed With

Ernest V. Stoneman, 1924-1934

Pop Stoneman and His Little Pebbles, early-mid 1950s

Blue Grass Champs, 1955-1962

The Stoneman Family, 1962-

Led the Way

  • Ernest V. “Pop” Stoneman released 192 songs on record, including “Sinking of the Titanic,” a hit and a standard, 1924-1934.
  • Pop helped to organize Victor’s famous Bristol sessions, 1927.
  • Introduced mountain and bluegrass music to the capital region.
  • As the Blue Grass Champs (with Scotty, Donna, and Jimmy Stoneman) won the nationally televised Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, 1956.
  • Took first place honors in the band and fiddle categories at the National Champion Country Music contest in Warrenton, Virginia, 1956.
  • Nationally distributed albums on Starday, MGM, and RCA, 1960s.
  • Country Music Association Vocal Group of the Year, 1967.
  • IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award, 2002
  • Pop inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame, 2008

By the Way

  • Pop appeared on a 1956 television quiz show called The Big Surprise, hosted by Mike Wallace, winning $10,000.
  • During World War II, Pop worked at the U.S. Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C.
  • Roni and Donna were the first women to play bluegrass banjo and mandolin on a record.
  • Roni placed first in a banjo competition at Sunset Park in southeastern Pennsylvania, but was denied the prize of an Earl Scruggs model Vega banjo because of her gender, 1963.+

From the Archives

“Pa would sing lead, an’ I’d come along with the tenor. We’d do things like ‘Sourwood Mountain’ and ‘She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain,’ with Ma working it out on her violin. That fiddle has been in our family 175 years – but Lordy, it’s getting all unglued now.”
Eddie Stoneman, quoted in “Mountain Family’s Hunger Puts Blues in Merry Music,” Washington Evening Star, August 24, 1938.
“Donna Stoneman is the only one that could hold a light to me on a mandolin.”
Jethro Burns, quoted on The Tonight Show, ca. 1960s.
“My brother Scott could play a fiddle with a coat hanger, a toothpick, a comb. Anything he could get his hands on. Daddy said, ‘I reckon that Scott’s about the only child I got with a fiddle wrist. He’ll be the fiddle player.’ We were playin’ up in Maryland when he won the national fiddle contest. They brought him back on their shoulders through the door of the club. Scott hollered, ‘Hey, I won, I won, I won, I won!’”
Patsy Stoneman, quoted by Robert K. Oermann in America’s Music: The Roots of Country, 1996.