From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Hampton, Pete George

(born: 1871  -  died: 1916) 

Born in Bowling Green, KY, Pete G. Hampton was the first African American to be recorded playing a harmonica. According to his 1905 passport application, Hampton was also a variety actor, and he had an artificial right eye. He recorded as a banjo soloist and singer, the recordings were made in Britain and Germany between 1903-1911. He recorded, toured and lived in Europe with his wife, Laura Bradford Bowman. It is said that he recorded more than any other contemporary African American. In 1913 Hampton, his wife, and her father returned to the United States, where Hampton died three years later. For more see Who was the first blues harp player to record? by Pat Missin; the Laura Bowman entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; and a more detailed biography and photo image see K. Mason, "Pete G. Hampton," The Amplifier Online, 04/02/2010. Listen to Pete Hampton performing "Dat Mouth Organ Coon", link from Vintage Harmonica 78s website.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Warren County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Bowling Green, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Hampton, Pete George,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-01-03 20:33:15