Some of you like to research the old acoustic-era artists, searching for authoritative answers to their dates of birth and death or greater details on their lives than has been known heretofore. Maybe you have had the experience of digging in on an artist in newspapers, genealogy records, and other online archival databases, only to come up completely empty after hours and hours of fruitless, exasperating effort. Then, after a few weeks, a few months (years even), you decide—silly you—to try again, against your best inclinations.
A couple of weeks ago, we dug in again for the umpteenth time on J. W. Myers, about whom the only general wisdom seems to be “born ca. 1864, Wales; died ca. 1919.” Well, this time, we got a bit lucky.
Seems Myers was experiencing a bit of a renaissance in 1912, as he made his way back on stages in the Northeast, and a Fall River, Mass., newspaper carried a little profile on the baritone they figured might still be remembered among some of the old-timers in the area. The long and the short: Myers was on the stage in the U.S. in the late 1870s as a mature teenager named “Johnnie Myers” (or “Johnny”); he was probably born six or so years before the assumed year of 1864; he was probably from New York, not the UK; and he had adult children on the stage (unnamed).
High-strutting with this bombshell discovery, we set about to find better information about Myers’ origins, date and place of death, and so far . . . no luck, again. So for you sleuths out there, take a look at this article from the Fall River Daily Globe and see what you can put together about the real story of John W. Myers.