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Several years ago, I acquired an interesting fiddle that is obviously handmade, but very well done. I don’t know if it is absolutely unique or if it represents a particular style.

Viewed through an “f-hole” is the pencil inscription, “Mack Roulston, Russellville, Ark.” In my research for provenance, I found a Mack C. Roulston born on August 10, 1901, and died on October 13, 1992, at the age of 91. Mack last resided in Russellville in Pope County. He was also known as McKinley Carl “Mack” Roulston as well as Roy McKinley Roulston. He is buried in Logan County.

I have found little else about Mack other than that he had two children who were simultaneously killed by a bolt of lightning in 1934. The children’s obituary had spelled his name Raulston, which caused some concern since then inscription in the fiddle (and on his gravestone) is Roulston. You will note that his marker has a fiddle and bow carved in it. To me this would indicate that he was considered a fiddler and/or a fiddle maker of some recognition.

I do not know if this instrument is one of a kind or if he made more, or if he was a local or regionally known musician. I keep the instrument in an old case that I later acquired somewhere else. They are a perfect marriage.

Tom Curb
Salado, TX