Born in Harris, North Carolina on October 27, 1908, DeWitt “Snuffy” Jenkins was the youngest of seven children with four brothers and two sisters. Several in his family were musically inclined. He started entertaining at age five doing a clog dance for a sawmill group. He started playing a fiddle, but could not use the bow, so he plucked it like a mandolin. He could play almost any acoustic instrument, but switched early from guitar to banjo because the strings hurt his fingers. He played strictly by ear and never read music. He graduated from Harris High School in Harris in 1925. In 1927, he and his brother Verl started working together as a team, Snuffy on banjo and Verl on fiddle, playing at square dances and fiddlers conventions. They formed a group called “The Jenkins String Band” consisting of his brother Verl on fiddle, cousin Dennis Jenkins on guitar, friend Howard Cole, also on guitar and, of course, Snuffy on banjo. He had seen pickers like Smith Hammett and Rex Brooks experimenting with using three fingers to try to play a more melodic rhythm. He tried it and mastered it quickly. He was the first known banjoist to play that style on the radio in 1934 on WBT in Charlotte on the Crazy Water Crystals barn dance. Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs and Don Reno all cited him as a major influence on their careers. He was playing a gold Gibson Mastertone which he sold to Don Reno, who later traded it to Earl Scruggs for a guitar. That was the banjo Earl used as he rode the rocket to fame. In 1936, Snuffy joined J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers and on April 15, 1937, the band came to Columbia, South Carolina to perform on radio station WIS which was a 50,000 watt clear channel radio station. Legendary announcer Byron Parker, a musician and business manager who, at one time had represented Bill and Charlie Monroe, joined the group when J.E. Mainer left and the group came to be known as “Byron Parker’s Hillbillies.” Their programs always contained comedy and it was during one of these capers that Parker gave DeWitt his nickname “Snuffy.” Shortly thereafter his lifelong friend and master fiddler, Homer “Pappy” Sherrill joined the group. After Byron Parker’s death in 1948, the group was renamed “The Hired Hands” in his honor. Snuffy married Margaret Cannon from Columbia and, in October of 1939, they had a son named Toby. In 1940, Snuffy bought a 1934 Gibson Mastertone RB-4 banjo at a pawn shop in Spartanburg for $40 which he used throughout his career. He played that banjo for the rest of his life, performing for more than half a century. That banjo now resides in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. Snuffy Jenkins passed away on April 29, 1990. His last performance had been a month before.