Mose Case Entertains, 1866

In February of 1866, Mose Case, an acclaimed musician and humorist, performed in the concert hall of the Lake House Hotel. An albino African-American, Case was something of a novelty, but was said to be an extraordinary guitar player as well. His arrangement of “The Arkansas Traveler,” published as sheet music in Buffalo, N.Y., made him famous and his rendition of the same was said to be the gold standard for the tune.

News accounts of his performance noted:

“Mose Case gave a concert at Lake House Hall on Saturday evening of last week. The programme was good, the music excellent, and everybody went home filled with laughter, besides admitting that Mose Case was master of the guitar.”

“The vocal and instrumental concert given at Lake House Hall last Friday evening by Mose Case was listened to by a small but appreciative audience. The instrumental part of the entertainment as particularly fine, being indeed all it was advertised to be, and more than met the expectation of those present.”

Case was based in Buffalo, and traveled throughout the northeast giving concerts. One newspaper reported, “Mose Case, the best guitarist in the world, is giving concerts in Vermont. Mose will pick more music out of a guitar and make more fun for an audience an hour than any other man on this terrestrial ball.”

Mose Case died penniless in New York City in 1885.


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