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Tom Ennis: Uilleann Piper

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Tom Ennis: Uilleann Piper

By Jeff Ksiazek

Published March 15, 2017

Piper Tom Ennis was born December 21, 1888 in Nebraska. The Ennis family moved to Chicago by 1900 where his father, John, was working as a police officer under the command of Captain Francis O'Neill. Tom had already begun to learn the uilleann pipes from his father by this time. By the time he was drafted during World War I, Ennis was employed as an actor but had already recorded this set of reels, "The Maid That Left The County/Drowsy Maggie/Around The World For Sport" in New York on April 17, 1917.

By the 1930s, Ennis and his family were living in New York and was listed as a professional musician in the census (specifically as an Irish bagpiper). Sadly, Tom Ennis suddenly died on August 11, 1931 due to heart disease in Hillsdale, Michigan. From the Detroit Free Press:

HILLSDALE, Mich., Aug. 11 Thomas Francis Ennis, 42 years old, Chicago radio entertainer, died on Jonesville near here where he and Mrs. Ennis had stopped over night enroute to Detroit.

Death was due to heart disease. Mr. Ennis was known to his radio audience as the Irish piper.

Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan)
Wed, Aug 12, 1931

This 78 rpm disc is from the David Giovannoni Collection, object DG 78 00-221.

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