Henry Sloan was a musician whose life was a mystery despite being a contributor to the formation of Delta blues.
LIFE IN THE SOUTH
Some sleuthing by music historians put birth year around 1870 and he was born somewhere in the Mississippi Delta. What is known that his father, Sam Sloan, originated from South Carolina being born there in 1842. His mother was Laura Sloan and the two married in 1867.
There is a significant gap in his family history up until the late 1890s-early 1900s when he was living in the area of Bolton, Mississippi. Here he would become friends with the likes of Charley Patton and Sam Chatmon. He worked on Dockery Plantation, where Patton’s family was based and would teach him the guitar. Patton would later play with for a couple of years until there’s another gap in Sloan’s history.
By 1920, it appears that Henry Sloan and his family had moved away from Bolton, Mississippi and were apparently living in West Memphis, Arkansas. He lived here with his wife and two sons by the names of Henry Jr. and Hall. Henry Sloan and his family lived in or around West Memphis until his death on March 13, 1948.
Unlike his pupil and friends Patton, Chatmon, Robert Johnson, and others in the early Delta blues scene, Henry Sloan would never leave a recording of his work.