John McFadden

(c. 1847 - c. 1913)


John McFadden

John McFadden was a highly respected fiddler in the circle of Francis O’Neill’s close friends in Chicago. McFadden’s ability to retain tunes and improvise variations was greatly celebrated by O’Neill and his contemporaries.

Born in Carrowmore, near Newport, County Mayo around 1847, his father and brother were both fiddlers, and McFadden received his first lessons from his family. He and piper James Early performed regularly as a duo throughout Chicago and the Midwestern United States for both concerts and dancing competitions.

McFadden was also well known as a composer and is credited with writing several dance tunes, including “The Queen of the Fair.”


Sources: Irish Minstrels and Musicians, 395 – 396; The Scribe, 86; Illinois Statewide Death Index, 1916-1950

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