Thanks for posting the information on Peg Moreland. I can add a little
Moreland was known as "The King of the Ditty Singers." Reportedly he
was born in (or near) Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas (south of Fort Worth).
Seemingly there was a town there named Rienzi, which no longer exists. The
family soon moved to West Texas, probably Canyon (south of Amarillo), where
his father started a grocery business. In 1921 Moreland was elected Justice
of the Peace in Canyon, a position that he held for three and
a half years, by wooing the voters with his "witty ditties." He also played
saxophone and clarinet in the municipal band.
In July 1959 Moreland was living at the New Oxford Hotel in Dallas, Room
425. I met him in the hotel lobby and he allowed me a short interview,
he abruptly terminated announcing that he was "running late."
He told me that his mother and father had come west in covered wagons and
that he had been born in Hill County.
He had come to Dallas in 1924, and started on radio WFAA
in 1925. He and other local performers (including Goebel Reeves) would just
show up at the studio and the manager would ask if they wanted to go on the
air. With an affirmative answer, the manager would pick up the telephone
and order "warm up the transmitter." Moreland then went to work as a mail
clerk on the Santa Fe Arizona run, but WFAA continued to get fan mail from
his earlier broadcasts. Thus he was convinced to return to Dallas in 1927
regular program. He claimed never to have made any money in radio, but the
publicity allowed him to get jobs singing in theaters and at other events.
"I just picked up songs as a kid, and had a good memory," he told me. He
often assisted the WFAA librarian by reciting the words of songs which the
librarian couldn't locate. For performing and recording material Peg would
take snatches of old songs that he had known as
a kid and augment and revise them as necessary. Although he had some formal
musical training (piano and reed instruments), he denied ever composing
anything from scratch.
He gave an example of the way the recording industry attributed traditional
material. One of the performers on the WLS National Barn Dance had
been singing "Prisoner at the Bar." George Biggar, program director, wanted
to clear it for publication in a folio. Aware
that Moreland had recorded the song (Victor 21548, recorded July 5, 1928),
he called Moreland long distance and asked who had composed it. Moreland
him that he had known it all his life, and he was certain that it was in the
public domain. When the folio appeared, the song was included with the WLS
performer listed as composer. When Biggar came to Dallas, Moreland
him about this, and Biggar apologized, contending that the publisher had
assigned the composer credit without his knowledge.
Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio singer Peg Moreland was born Arnot (or Arnet) Jackson Moreland in
Rienzi, Texas on Oct. 29, 1892. Peg's father Sam was a farmer who had
been born in Mississippi. Peg's Texas-born mother Mollie had one parent
who had been born in Canada. As of 1900 the family lived in Hill
As of 1917 Peg was in Randall County, Texas, he was unemployed, he had
already served as a corporal in the National Guard, he was already
calling himself Jackson Arnot (or Arnet) Moreland, and he had not yet
lost one of his legs. As of 1930 he was single and he gave his
occupation as a musician in the theater. At this point Peg had an older
brother Albert who was working as a railroad brakeman, and both of them
were living with Mollie. Peg was married when he died in Dallas on Jan.