Claiborne Williams

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Claiborne Williams
Born (1868-12-31)December 31, 1868
Origin Ascension Parish, Louisiana, USA
Died October 10, 1952(1952-10-10) (aged 83)
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Genres Dixieland Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Music teacher
Instruments Violin
Years active 1880s - 1940s

Claiborne Williams (December 31, 1868 in Ascension Parish, Louisiana – October 10, 1952 in New Orleans, Louisiana) was an American musician, bandleader, and music teacher.

Life and career[edit]

Claiborne Williams was born in Ascension Parish near Donaldsonville, Louisiana. As a young man, he worked in New Orleans for the Werlein Music Company on Canal Street, where he repaired musical instruments. At the age of 17 he led a band at the Wilbert Theatre in Baton Rouge. At 18 he was also leader of the St. Joseph Brass Band, and was a music teacher in the nearby towns of Donaldsonville. Notable pupils of Williams were trombone player Louis Nelson,[1] and Oscar "Papa" Celestin; later Louis Nelson played a few dates with Claiborne's orchestra.

Williams was primarily a violinist, but taught all instruments. He charged fifty cents for a lesson lasting from half an hour to an hour. Although he travelled around the USA, Canada and even Europe as leader of "Billy Kersand and his Minstrel Troupe", [2] most of his musical career was spent in and around Donaldsonville. Williams' musical career continued well into the late 1930s early 1940s. Members of the Claiborne Williams band included famed Dave Bartholomew, "Papa" John Joseph, Richard Jones, and Walter Lewis.

Claiborne Williams died at the age of 83 on October 10, 1952 in a New Orleans hospital.


  1. ^ Carter, William. Preservation Hall, Continuum International Publishing Group, page 139, (1999) - ISBN 0-304-70517-9
  2. ^ The JazzGazette


  • Koenig, Karl. Musical History of Donaldsonville & Claiborne Williams, 1868-1952: Gentlemen Musician of Donaldsonville, LA.: leader, St. Joseph Brass and String Band, Basin Street Press, (1996) - B0006QGUEI

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