Ted Brackett was from Inman, South Carolina. His father, a farmer by trade, played an old time claw hammer banjo and Ted’s uncle played the fiddle. Growing up in a musical family, he soon showed interest in the music. He and his two brothers absorbed all they could, and by the time Ted was 12 years old he was playing at house parties and barn dances all over the Upstate. He recalls, “We’d walk with instruments in hand, until we got to where we were going, and after it was over, we’d walk back home. It took us all night long.”
Ted was born in 1915 and remembers the old music on the radio in the 1920s. His favorite musician was Georgia fiddler, Fiddlin’ John Caron. Ted remembers, “My uncle had a similar old-timey playing style. I guess I got a little from both of them.”
In 1940, at the age of twenty-five, Ted married, settled down and went to work at the Inman Cotton Mill. Together, he and his wife raised a family on Ted’s modest income from the mill. At that time, it seemed a much better life than farming. Even though Ted was busy with family, church and work responsibilities, he never strayed very far from his love of music. His younger brother, Leonard, would accompany him on banjo. Leonard played an old time two-finger style technique to Ted’s simplistic fiddle style. Ted and Leonard played regularly until the early 1990s. Leonard passed away in the Spring of 2002. Up until his death in 2007, Brackett lived in the same mill house he and his wife purchased over sixty years ago. Brackett received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 2004.