Alanson Mellon Dunham was born on Crockett Ridge, Norway, Maine, July 29, 1853.
In 1925, "Mellie" who had been playing fiddle for local dances all his life, won a fiddle contest in Lewiston, ME. When Henry Ford heard about him Dunham was invited to Dearborn, Michigan to play for him. According to a Grand Ole Opry History Picture Book, Ford dubbed him "King of the Fiddlers." At this time, the WSM Barn Dance, predecessor of today's Grand Ole Opry, was just getting started. The Mellie Dunham Orchestra was made up of Mellie on violin, son-in-law Nathan Noble on bass and daughter-in-law, Cherry (Cherrie) Noble on piano. In January 1926 the Keith-Albee vaudeville shows produced a show around Mellie in New York's Hippodrome Theater, at the time, the largest theater in the world. It consisted of an old fashioned barn dance and was booked to play one week. It was so popular, however, it was extended for a second week. During this time, he recorded for the Victor (later RCA Victor) Company "Lady of the Lake", "Mountain Rangers", "Chorus Jig", "Hull's Victory", "Boston Fancy" and "Rippling Waves Waltz" which was one of his many compositions. In early February the orchestra played a week in New Jersey and also cut a 2-sided record titled "Medley of Reels" in Victor's Camden studios. These were some of the first electrically produced recordings using a microphone. Prior to 1926, an acoustical recording system had been used. He appeared with his wife many times on stage during the Vaudeville era and during concerts in Maine. Among his other accomplishments, he made snowshoes that were used on Admiral Peary's Arctic expeditions circa 1910.