Nashville Famous Graves and Cemetery Tour
Nashville area is the final resting place for many famous musicians as well as local prominent people. Grave photos, bio’s and the most helpful GPS location to Nashville’s famous graves. This page highlights many of them but for a more comphrensive website for grave hunting from across the country visit my website famousgravehunter.com.
All the photos are by Tabitha Hawk in Nashville and biographies are from Find a Grave which is an excellent resource for those who are into grave hunting.
( 353 E Main St, Hendersonville, TN 37075) The burial place of Johnny and June Cash, Jean Shepard in Hendersonville, TN.
Max Barnes (1936–2004), songwriter
“Mother” Maybelle Carter (1909–1978), musician, songwriter
Helen Carter (1927–1998), country singer and daughter of Maybelle Carter
Anita Carter (1933–1999), singer-musician and daughter of Maybelle Carter
Johnny Cash (1932–2003), country music legend
June Carter Cash (1929–2003), country music singer
Rosie Nix Adams (1958–2003), singer-songwriter and daughter of June Carter Cash
Ferlin Husky (1925–2011), country music singer
Merle Kilgore (1934–2005), country music singer-songwriter
Joe Maphis (1921–1986), country music master guitarist
Luther Perkins (1928–1968), country music guitarist for Johnny Cash
Sheb Wooley (1921–2003), actor and singer-songwriter
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
June Carter Cash
Country Singer, producer, author, actress. Born in Maces Springs, Virginia, on June 23, 1929, as Valerie June Carter, she was a member of the famous singing Carter Family. The Carter Family began recording country music in 1927 and continued until Maybelle’s death in 1978. The Carter Family Singers included members like ‘Mother’ Maybelle Carter, Anita Carter, and Alvin Pleasant ‘A.P.’ Carter, and of course June who would go onto a successful singing career herself. In the 1950s she moved to New York to study acting at the request of Elia Kazan who discovered her while scouting movie locations in Tennessee. Also about this time she attended the premiere of “A Streetcar Named Desire” in the company of Elvis Presley, and sat with Elia Kazan and Tennessee Williams. In 1961 she turned down an offer to work on a variety show that had Woody Allen as one of the writers, but instead agreed to tour with the Man In Black, Johnny Cash, for $500 a week. On March 1, 1968, she married Johnny Cash, after he proposed on stage during a concert in London, Ontario, and remained married to him for 35 years until her death. She was previously married to country singer Carl Smith, who gave her a daughter, country singer Carlene Carter. In 1963 with Merle Kilgore, she co-wrote Johnny Cash’s hit song “Ring Of Fire.” A talented singer, songwriter, and musician, she recorded hits with her husband like “Jackson” and “If I Were A Carpenter” which both won Grammy Awards in 1967 and 1970. In 1972 they recorded duets like “It Ain’t Me Babe” in 1964, and “If I Had A Hammer” in 1972. In 1979 she wrote her autobiography, “Among My Klediments” and released her memoir, “From The Heart” in 1987. In his 1997 autobiography, Johnny Cash described how his wife stuck with him through his years and abuse. In 1999 she released the album, “Press On” which followed in her musical autobiography, which told of her 31 year marriage and collaboration with Cash, which later won a Grammy, and was her first release in over a quarter-century. Also an actress she appeared in the films and television specials, “All My Friends Are Cowboys” (1998), “The Apostle” (1997), “Stagecoach” (1986), “The Last Days Of Frank And Jesse James” (1986), “The Baron And The Kid” (1984), “Murder In Coweta County” (1983), “Johnny Cash: Cowboy Heroes” (1982), “Johnny Cash: Christmas In Scotland” (1981), “The Unbroken Circle: A Tribute To ‘Mother’ Maybelle Carter” (1979), “Thaddeus Rose And Eddie” (1978), “The Gospel Road” (1973), and “The Country Music Holiday” (1958). On television she appeared in, “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman” “Little House On The Prairie” “This Is Tom Jones,” “Hee-Haw,” “The Adventures Of Jim Bowie,” “Gunsmoke,” and “Hollywood Squares,” as a guest panelist in 1978. Also was in “Johnny Cash And Friends” in 1976, played ‘Elaine “Cookie” Pollock Thomas Christopher’ in 1962 on “The Edge Of Night” and played ‘Amy Ames Britton Kincaid’ in 1960 on “The Secret Storm.” She was the mother of Carlene Carter, John Carter Cash, step-mother to Roseanne Cash, and god-mother to Hank Williams Jr. June Carter Cash passed away on May 15, 2003, at the age of 73, after suffering from heart problems at the Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, where she had been admitted on May 7. Her husband and family were at her side.
Bio by: Peterborough K
Maybelle “Mother” Addington Carter
Country Music Singer. Known as “Mother Maybelle,” she was one of the founding members of The Carter Family, the first family of country music and one of the most influential acts in the history of country music. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass, country, southern gospel, pop and rock musicians, as well as on the U.S. folk revival of the 1960s. They were the first vocal group to become country music stars. She was born to Hugh Jackson Addington and Margaret S. Kilgore on May 10, 1909 near Nickelsville, Virginia. On March 13, 1926 she married Ezra J. Carter. They had three daughters, Helen, Valerie June and Anita. In 1927, with her cousin, Sara and her brother-in-law, A.P. Carter, she formed the first commercial country music group. Maybelle was the guitarist and played autoharp and banjo. She created a unique sound for the group with her innovative ‘scratch’ style of guitar playing, where she used her thumb to play melody on the bass and middle strings, and her index finger to fill out the rhythm. She was instrumental in moving the guitar from rhythm to the lead instrument. The Carter Family performed together until 1943. While Maybelle and her daughters continued to tour as Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, A.P.. left to run a general store in Virginia. From 1952 to 1956, A.P. re-joined The Carter Family with Sara and some of their grown children. After her daughter, Valerie June, known as June, married Johnny Cash in 1968, Maybelle and her daughters were regular performers on his weekly TV show. The Carter Family’s signature recordings include “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, “Wildwood Flower,” “Gold Watch and Chain” and “Keep On the Sunny Side” which are today considered country music standards. Their music has been recorded by Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Emmy Lou Harris, and Willie Nelson, among many others. The Carter Family was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970. In 1993, her image appeared on a U.S. postage stamp honoring the Carter Family. In 2001 she was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor. In 2002 she ranked #8 in Country Music Television’s Greatest Women In Country Music. In 2005, The Carter Family received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. PBS also aired a one-hour show on the Carter Family on American Experience. In 2010, Lipscomb University in Nashville named the stage in Collins Alumni Auditorium after her. The music of the Carter Family continues to inspire generations of musicians more than 80 years after their first recording.
Bio by: Dan
Harold Ray Bradley
Musician and Producer. In his youth, he was interested in the banjo, but his older brother Owen suggested that he concentrate on guitar. By 1943, while still in high school, he landed a summer job playing lead guitar with Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours. After serving in the navy from 1944 to 1946, Harold enrolled at George Peabody College in Nashville, where he studied music, and played at the Opry in the evenings with Eddy Arnold and Bradley Kincaid to earn extra income. His first country recording session came in 1946, when he recorded with Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys. In 1950, he recorded on Red Foley’s smash hit “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy,” which went to #1 on both the country and pop charts. During the 1960s, he recorded three albums as a pop guitarist on Columbia Records, “Misty Guitar”, “Guitar for Lovers Only” and “Bossa Nova Goes to Nashville”. As a session guitarist, he was part of a studio-guitar triumvirate with lead specialists Hank Garland and Grady Martin, known as the “A-Team of Superpickers”. Bradley’s rhythm playing wasn’t always apparent when listening to recordings, although his parts were essential contributions, as in Roy Orbison’s 1961 hit “Crying”. Bradley did play lead parts that stood out as in the opening banjo notes on Johnny Horton’s 1959 hit “The Battle of New Orleans” and his electric bass guitar work can be heard on Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” Over the years Bradley played on literally hundreds of hit recordings, including Eddy Arnold’s “Make the World Go Away”, Don Gibson’s “Oh Lonesome Me”, Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry” and Roger Miller’s “King of the Road”. Among other artists he recorded hits with were Ray Price, Jeannie C. Riley, Bobby Vinton, Burl Ives, Tammy Wynette and Conway Twitty. After operating two small Nashville recording studios in the early 1950s, Bradley and his brother Owen opened Bradley Film and Recording in 1955, and two years later, added a second studio, using a military Quonset hut. Along with RCA Studio B, the Bradley Studios helped give birth to the pop-influenced Nashville Sound. In addition to his studio achievements, Bradley was the first president of Nashville’s chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). In the 1980s he toured with Floyd Cramer and served as bandleader for Slim Whitman. He also produced Irish country singer Sandy Kelly and Eddy Arnold’s later RCA albums. In 1991 Bradley began his long service as president of Nashville’s chapter of the American Federation of Musicians (AF of M) and later became that organization’s international vice president. Shortly before the announcement of his 2006 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, he received the AF of M’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010 Harold was one recipient of the Trustees Award at the 52nd Grammy Awards. in 2016, he received the Cecil Scaife Visionary Award during a gala event at the Musicians Hall of Fame. Among film soundtracks that featured Bradley’s work are ‘Kissin’ Cousins’, ‘Clambake’, ‘Stay Away Joe’, ‘The Fastest Guitar Alive’, ‘Sugarland Express’, ‘A Walk In the Spring Rain’, ‘Tick, Tick, Tick’, ‘Breathless’, ‘Smokey & The Bandit II’, ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’, ‘Six-pack’, ‘Missing’ and ‘Sweet Dreams’. Bradley also appeared briefly In Robert Altman’s award-winning movie ‘Nashville’. Bradley diedof age-related natural causes.
Bio by: Louis du Mort
Kenneth Duane Hinson
Gospel Singer. He was the lead singer for the “Original” Hinson Family. Also an accomplished guitarist and songwriter, he wrote “Call Me Gone,” “Ain’t That What It’s All About,” and “Desperation.” He won the Favorite Male Vocalist of the year in 1976 and 1988 awarded by the “Singing News.” He was also voted as the “Entertainer of the Millennium” in 2000 by the Country Gospel Music Association.
Country Singer, Actor. Born in Erick, Oklahoma, as a teenager he worked as a rodeo rider and then formed his own band. In the mid-1940s, he performed on radio stations WLAC and WSM in Nashville, Tennessee, and subsequently had his own show on the Calumet Radio Network. He signed to the Bullet Records Label in 1946, moving in 1948 to MGM Records where he remained until 1973. Wooley began acting in movies in 1950, appearing first in “Rocky Mountain” with Errol Flynn. In 1952, he played killer ‘Ben Miller’ in the Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly classic western, “High Noon.” In all he acted in more than 60 films, among them “Giant” (1956), with James Dean and “Hoosiers” (1986), with Gene Hackman. On television, he played the role of ‘Pete Nolan’ in the popular “Rawhide” series from 1959 to 1966. As a recording artist, Wooley had his first success on the pop charts. His ‘Are You Satisfied?’ appeared in 1955, reaching only to the No. 95 spot. In 1958 he released his most famous hit the novelty tune, “The Purple People Eater.” The song went No. 1 on the pop charts and stayed there for six weeks. “That’s My Pa,” another novelty effort in 1962, was his first country hit. It also reached No. 1. As Ben Colder, Wooley scored six country and five pop hits with such parodies as ‘Don’t Go Near the Eskimos’ ‘Still No. 2,’ ‘Almost Persuaded No. 2,’ ‘Detroit City No. 2’ and ‘Harper Valley P.T.A.”‘His last charted country song came in 1971 with ‘Fifteen Beers Ago,’ a sendup of Conway Twitty’s ‘Fifteen Years Ago.’ Wooley also wrote the theme song for the Hee Haw TV series. In 1968, the Country Music Association honored him with its comedian of the year award. On October 9, 2002, Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee saluted Wooley as an ‘American treasure’ by reading a catalog of his achievements into the Congressional Record. Wooley’s recordings in all include, ‘Purple People Eater,’ ‘That’s My Pa,’ ‘Detroit City,’ Runnin’ Bear,’ ‘Don’t Go Near The Eskimos,’ ‘Harper Valley P.T.A.,’ ‘Little Green Apples,’ ’10 Little Bottles,’ ’15 Beers Ago,’ ‘Almost Persuaded,’ ‘Hello Walls,’ ‘Green, Green Grass Of Home,’ ‘Sunday Morning Fallin’ Down,’ ‘Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms,’ ‘Folsom Prison Blues,’ ‘Little Brown Shack Out Back,’ ‘D-I-V-O-R-C-E,’ ‘Easy Lovin,’ ‘Help Me Face It Through The Night,’ ‘Ruby,’ and ‘The Games People Play.’
Bio by: Peterborough K
Grave Location Left Side of Chapel of Memories Mausoleum
(1001 4th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203) is the oldest public cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee. Many of Nashville’s prominent historical figures are buried there.
Four of Nashville’s founders, James and Charlotte Robertson & John and Ann Robertson Cockrill; American Revolutionary War soldiers Lipscomb Norvell, Joel Lewis, Anthony Foster; four Confederate generals: Felix Zollicoffer, Bushrod Johnson, Richard Ewell, and Samuel Read Anderson; the man who named the American flag “Old Glory,” Captain William Driver; Union Navy Commodore Paul Shirley; a Tennessee Governor, William Carroll; 15 mayors of Nashville, and two of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, Mabel Lewis Imes and Ella Sheppard Moore, also many slaves and free persons of color interred prior to the Civil War, are among those buried in the small and peaceful cemetery, The City Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 because of its historical and architectural significance.
Notable buried at Nashville City Cemetery
Samuel R. Anderson – Confederate brigadier general in the Civil War.
Washington Barrow – U.S. Charges d’Affaires to Portugal; U.S. Congressman from 1847-49.
William Carroll – Governor of Tennessee from 1821 to 1827 and again from 1829 to 1835.
Thomas Claiborne – U.S. Congressional Representative from 1817 to 1819.
William Driver – coined the name Old Glory for the U.S. flag in 1831.
Francis Fogg – developed Nashville’s public school system in 1852.
Harlan Howard (1927–2002), a prolific American songwriter, principally in country music.
Mabel Imes and Ella Sheppard – two of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers.
Lt. Lipscomb Norvell – Revolutionary War Soldier and father of US Senator John Norvell.
John Patton Erwin (1795-1857), Mayor of Nashville from 1821 to 1822, and from 1834 to 1835.
Alexander Porter (1785-1844), U.S. Senator who represented Louisiana.
Felix Robertson (1781–1865), Mayor of Nashville from 1818 to 1819, and from 1827–1829.
Anne Robertson Johnson Cockrill (1757-1821), pioneer.
James Robertson and his wife, Charlotte Robertson – two of the founders of Nashville (then called Fort Nashborough)
Wilkins F. Tannehill (1787-1858), Mayor of Nashville from 1825 to 1827.
Charles Clay Trabue (1798-1851), member of the Missouri House of Representatives from 1824 to 1828 and Mayor of Nashville from 1839 to 1841.
James Robertson – The Founder of Nashville | Grave Location
Ella Sheppard Moore. Social reformer, pianist, educator. Matriarch of the Fisk Jubilee Singers of Fisk University
Mable Lewis Imes. Fisk’s Jubilee Singers annually mark the anniversary of their formation with a “Jubilee Day” celebration. During this event, friends and alumni make an annual pilgrimage to City Cemetery and Greenwood Cemetery to visit the graves and honor the memories of Mabel and three other original Jubilee Singers buried in Nashville: Ella Sheppard Moore, Georgia Gordon Taylor and Minnie Tate Hall.
Harlan Howard. In 1961, Harlan had accomplished a feat that has not since been duplicated. He had 15 songs on the country Top 40 simultaneously. In 1973, the man who had written over 4000 songs, with over 100 of them going Top 10.
Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home & Memorial Park
(660 Thompson Ln, Nashville, TN 37204)
Little Jimmy Dickens (1920–2015), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
George Jones (1931–2013), Country Music Hall of Fame Singer
Marty Robbins (1925–1982), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
Porter Wagoner (1927–2007), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
Tammy Wynette (1942–1998), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
More people of interest
Joe Allison (1924–2002), songwriter
Liz Anderson (1927–2011), country music singer, songwriter, and mother to country musician Lynn Anderson.
Lynn Anderson (1947–2015), Country music singer
Eddy Arnold (1918-2008), Country Music Singer, Recording Executive, Producer and Country Music Hall of Fame Member
Ernie Ashworth (1928-2009), country music singer, Grand Ole Opry member
Rob Bironas (1978–2014), professional football player/Placekicker for the Tennessee Titans
Otis Blackwell (1931–2002), Songwriters Hall of Fame member
Owen Bradley (1915–1998), record producer, Country Music Hall of Fame member, Academy Award nominee
Jim Ed Brown (1934–2015), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
Boudleaux Bryant (1920–1987), Country Music Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame member
Felice Bryant (1925–2003), Country Music Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame member
Billy Collins (1963–1984), Boxer
Elringo De’Angelino (1934–2009) Well known Nashville street musician for over 20 years, better known as Velvet Thunder.
Little Jimmy Dickens (1920–2015), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
Kerby Farrell (1913–1975), Major League Baseball Player, Manager Boston Braves, Chicago White Sox
Red Foley (1910–1968), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
Benton Cordell Goodpasture (1895–1977), Churches of Christ minister, editor of the Gospel Advocate
Dobie Gray (1940–2011), American singer and songwriter
Vernon Holland (1948–1998), Professional football player Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants and Detroit Lions
Tommy Jackson (1926–1979), Musician, Considered by many in the country music industry to be the first great Nashville session fiddler
George Jones (1931–2013), Country Music Hall of Fame Singer
Rayburn Leo Knight
Neal Matthews, Jr. (1929–2000), decorated soldier, Country Music Hall of Fame singer
Claudette Frady-Orbison (1941–1966), wife of legendary singer Roy Orbison. She died when her motorcycle was hit by a truck. She is buried with her two young boys, Roy Dewayne Orbison (1958–1968) and Anthony King Orbison (1962–1968), who died together in a house fire
Johnny Paycheck (1938–2003), country singer
Lynn Peterzell (1955–1994), noted audio engineer
Webb Pierce (1921–1991), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
Dottie Rambo (1934–2008), Gospel singer and songwriter. Named songwriter of the century in the early 90’s, Grammy and Dove winner, Gospel Music Hall of Fame for self and family group The Rambos, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, composed over 2,500 songs
Marty Robbins (1925–1982), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
Jerry Reed (1937–2008), Country music singer and Actor
Dan Seals (1948–2009), 80’s country singer, of 70’s pop/rock duo England Dan & John Ford Coley
Red Sovine (1917–1980), country singer
Brock Speer (1920–1999), gospel music singer
Mel Street (1933–1978), country singer
JD Sumner (1924–1998), singer, Elvis’ backup
Van Stephenson (1953–2001), Country singer, songwriter. He was a member of Blackhawk
Gordon Stoker (1924–2013), singer The Jordanaires
Mack Vickery (1938–2004), Songwriter, singer, musician, Alabama Music Hall of Fame
Porter Wagoner (1927–2007), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
Tammy Wynette (1942–1998), Country Music Hall of Fame singer
Buried in Woodlawn Cemetery are the following:
Garden of the Grand Tour: George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, Rob Bironas, Billy Sherrill, Jerry Chesnut
Sunset Garden A: Dan Seals
Sermon on the Mount: Roy Orbison, Claudette Orbison, Anthony Orbison
Garden of the Good Shepherd: Red Stovine, Brock Speer
Chapel Garden F: William Owen Bradley
Chapel Garden H: Eddy and Sally Arnold
Companion Garden A: Thomas Lee Jackson
Garden of Gethsemane: Marty Robbins, Webb Pierce, Larrie Londin, Willard Mack Vickery
Garden of Time: Mel Street
Garden of Prayer: Hattie L. Bess aka “Tootsie”
Garden of Everlasting Life: Porter Waggoner, Dale Cooper (Stoney Cooper), Doobie Gray
Graceland Garden: Clyde Foley aka “Red Foley”
Lakeside Garden: Groover Lavender aka “Shorty Lavender”
1st Floor: Replica of Christ Tomb
2nd Floor – Right Hall: Jack Strap
3rd Floor – Left Hall: Boudleaux & Felice Bryant, Jerry “Reed” Hubbard, Dottie Rambo, Van Stephenson, Tammy Wynette, Little Jimmy Dickens, Jim Ed Brown, Lynn Anderson, Liz Anderson
3rd Floor – Right Hall: JD Sumner, Gordon Stroker, Otis Blackwell, Ernie Ashworth
4th Floor – Left Hall: Paul Glaser
Country Music Singer and Songwriter. He is probably best remembered for his hit single “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and for his tumultuous marriage to famed country singer Tammy Wynette. Additionally, his musical career would be marked by frequent bouts of alcoholism and cocaine use and his wild lifestyle led to him missing many of his performances and earning the dubious nickname “No Show Jones.” Also nicknamed “The Possum,” supposedly for his facial resemblance to the animal, he was raised in poverty in Vidor, Texas with his brother and five sisters by an alcoholic and sometimes violent father. At the age of seven his parents bought a radio and he heard country music for the first time. When he was nine years old, he received his first guitar and soon started playing for money on the streets and clubs of Beaumont, Texas. He left home at the age of 16 and went to Jasper, Texas where he performed on a local radio station. He married Dorothy Bonvillion in 1950 at the age of 19 but they divorced within a year and he enlisted in the US Marine Corps, spending his entire military time in California. After his military service he returned to Texas and was discovered by Starday Records co-owner Pappy Daily, who guided his early career. He remarried in 1954 to Shirley Ann Corely and recorded his first single, “No Money’s in This Deal,” but it failed to chart. The following year his single “Why, Baby, Why” became a hit and he moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1959 and recorded his first number 1 hit “White Lightning.” For the next two years he continued to record number 1 singles, with “Tender Years” (1961) and “She Thinks I Still Care” (1962). His next number 1 hit would not come for another five years, with “Walk Through This World With Me’ (1967). In 1968 he divorced his second wife and married country singer Tammy Wynette the following year, with whom he had a daughter, creating a “country couple” that would record a sequence of albums and singles topping the charts throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. Their marriage was stormy at best due largely to his alcoholism and they divorced in March 1975 but continued to work together professionally through 1980. From 1973 to 1983 he racked up number 1 singles with “We’re Gonna Hold On” (1973, with Tammy Wynette), “The Grand Tour” (1974), “The Door” (1975), “Golden Ring” (1976, with Tammy Wynette), “Near You” (1977, with Tammy Wynette), “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980), “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” (1981, with Barbara Mandrell), “Still Doin’ Time” (1981), “Yesterday’s Wine” (1982, with Merle Haggard), and “I Always Get Lucky with You” (1983). In March 1983 he married his fourth and final wife, Nancy Sepulvado, who became his manager and is credited with rescuing him from alcohol and drug abuse. He continued to record and tour throughout the 1990s despite no longer being a significant presence on modern country radio. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992 and in June 1997 he released his autobiography “I Lived to Tell It All.” He was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2008 and in 2012 he was presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a member of Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry from 1956 until his death. He died at the age of 81 after being admitted to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for a fever and irregular blood pressure.
Bio by: William Bjornstad
Country Music Singer. She was often referred to as the “First Lady of Country Music” and is best remembered for her song “Stand by Your Man,” one of the best-selling singles by a woman in the country music industry. She, along with Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, set the standards for the role of women in country music during the 1970s. Her marriage in 1969 to famed country singer George Jones created a “country couple” and they would record a sequence of albums and singles that topped the charts throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s. She was born Virginia Wynette Pugh near Tremont, in Itawambia County, Mississippi, the only child of parents who were farmers and her father was also a local musician. When she was only nine months old her father died from a brain tumor and she was left in the care of her parents when her mother moved to Memphis, Tennessee to work in a defense plant during World War II. She grew up with her aunt, who was only five years older, and taught herself to play a variety of musical instruments that were left by her deceased father. She attended Tremont High School where she was an all-star basketball player. A month before her graduation she married her first husband, Euple Byrd, who was a construction worker and had difficulty keeping a job, which caused them to move frequently. She worked a variety of jobs and in 1963 she attended beauty school in Tupelo, Mississippi and obtained a cosmetology license, that she would continue to renew every year for the remainder of her life. She left her first husband, who did not support her dream of becoming a country singer, prior to the birth of their third daughter. To help support her family, she tried to earn extra money by performing at night and in 1965 she appeared on the “Country Boy Eddie Show” on WBRC-TV in Birmingham, Alabama which led to performances with famed country singer Porter Wagoner. A year later she moved with her daughters to Nashville, Tennessee to seek a recording contract. After being rejected by several record companies she auditioned for record producer Billy Sherrill, who was originally reluctant to sign her but was in need of a singer for “Apartment No. 9” and upon hearing her sing it, he signed her up to Epic Records in 1966. At Sherrill’s suggestion she changed her first name to Tammy and used her middle name as her last, and became Tammy Wynette. “Apartment No. 9” became her first single released in December 1966 and it peaked at number 44 on the Country charts. Her next single, “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad,” became a big hit, peaking at number 3. It would launch a string of Top Ten hits that would go into the 1970s, that included “My Elusive Dreams” (1967, her first number one hit, a duet with David Houston), “I Don’t Wanna Play House’ (which won a Grammy award in 1967 for Beat Female Country Vocal Performer), “Take Me to Your World” (1968), “D-I V-O-R-C-E” (1968), “Stand by Your Man” (1968, for which she won the 1969 Grammy award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance), “Singing My Song” (1969), and “The Ways to Love a Man” (1969). She would earn a Gold record in 1970 for her album “Tammy’s Greatest Hits” which would later be awarded Platinum record status. During the early 1970s she and country singer Loretta Lynn dominated the country charts and became one of the most successful female vocalists in country music. Her number one singles continued with “Loves Me All the Way” (1970), “Run Woman, Run” (1970), “”The Wonders You Perform” (1970), “Good Lovin’ (Makes it Right)” (1971). “Bedtime Story” (1971), “My Man (Understands)” (1972), “‘Till I Get it Right” (1972), and “Kids Say the Darndest Things” (1973). In 1969 she married country singer George Jones, with whom she had a daughter, and recorded duets with him that became Top Ten hits, including “The Ceremony” (1972), “We’re Gonna Hold On” (1973), and “Golden Ring” (1975). Their marriage was stormy at best due largely to his alcoholism and they divorced in 1975 but continued to work together professionally through 1980. She would win the Country Music Association Awards’ Female Vocalist of the Year” in 1968 through 1970 and held the record for the most consecutive wins for this category until 1987, when famed singer Reba McEntire won it for the fourth consecutive time. In 1976 she recorded the single “”Til I Can Make It on My Own,” which reached number 1 on the Country charts and number 84 on the Pop charts, becoming her first single in eight years to enter the Pop charts. That same year she had another single, You and Me,” to reach number 1 and it became her last number 1 hit as a solo artist. Her last number 1 hit came as a duet with George Jones in 1977 titled “Near You.” Following 1976 her popularity waned slightly but she continued to record Top 10 hits with “Let’s Get Together (One Last Time)” (1977), “One of a Kind” (1977), “Womanhood” (1978), “No One Else in this World” (1979) and “They Call It Makin’ Love” (1979). In 1980 her chart success began to falter although her hits reached in the Top 20s like “Starting Over” (1980), “He Was There (When I Needed You)” (1980), the Everly Brothers’ hit “Crying in the Rain” (1981), “Another Chance” (1982), “You Still Get to Me in My Dreams” (1982), and “A Good Night’s Love” (1983). Her duet with Mark Grey of Dan Hill’s “Sometimes When We Touch” reached number 6 on the country charts in 1985. In 1981 a television movie was her life aired called “Stand By Your Man,” based on her memoir of the same title. During this time she encountered medical problems, including inflammation of her bile duct. In 1986 she had a part on the CBS television soap opera “Capitol” as beautician/singer Darlene Stankowski and in 1987 she recorded an album “Higher Ground” that featured contributions from notable country artists Ricky Van Shelton, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Rickey Skaggs, and The O’Kanes which received some commercial success. Two singles, “Your Love,” and “Talkin’ to Myself Again” released from the album reached the Top 20 on the Country charts and a third single “Beneath a Painter Sky,” a duet with Emmylou Harris, reached number 25 in early 1988, which would be her final Top 40 country single. In 1988 she was forced to file for bankruptcy due to her bad investments in two Florida shopping centers. She would record four additional albums, “Heart Over Mind” (1990), “Honky Tonk Angels” (1993) “Within Walls” (1994), and “Girl Thang” (1994) but neither would result in any singles being released. During this time she also designed and sold her own line of jewelry. In 1995 she and George Jones recorded a duet album “One” which produced a single by the same name. Afterwards, she collaborated with the Beach Boys for their 1996 comeback album “Stars and Stripes Vol. 1” in which she sang a duet of the tune “In My Room” with Brian Wilson. She became the voice for the character Tilly Hill in the animated television series “King of the Hill” until her death. As a result of her numerous health ailments and surgeries she was dependent on painkillers as early as 1973 and became critically ill with a liver infection at the end of 1993. In 1994 she nearly died as a result of an abdominal infection and was constantly in and out of hospitals for treatment of various ailments. She would undergo 26 major surgeries during her lifetime, some of which were serious. In spite of her health issues, she still managed to pursue her singing career and regularly tour to promote her work. She died at her home in Nashville, Tennessee from a blood clot in her lung at the age of 55. In 1998, following her death, she was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. During her lifetime she was married five times, the last being to her manager, singer/songwriter George Richey for 20 years until her death. A year after her death her daughters filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her doctor and husband, claiming they were responsible for her death, and body was exhumed in an attempt to determine how she really died. After a new autopsy was conducted, the coroner ruled that she died of a cardiac arrhythmia. In 2002 she was ranked number 2 on CMT’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music (Patsy Cline was ranked number 1), and in 2003 a survey of country music writers, producers, and stars listed “Stand By Your Man” as the top country song of all time. In 2011 her original recording of “Stand By Your Man” was selected by the US Library of Congress to be preserved as one of that year’s 25 recordings chosen for their cultural significance.
Bio by: William Bjornstad
MUSIC ICON, SONG WRITER AND PRODUCER DIES
He was a native Texan, born in the Lampasas area of Texas. He started his music career in Lubbock, Texas, with Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member Buddy Holly as a duet. They became the “Buddy & Bob” act on a local radio station from 1949 to 1955. Stardom was born for both of them. They were privileged to be the opening act for Elvis Presley when he performed in Lubbock early in his career. Bob eventually became one of the icons of country music production. He subsequently wrote or co-wrote such 1950s Holly hits as “Heartbeat,” “Love’s Made a Fool of You” and “Wishing.” Over 60 years in the business, he made major contributions as a songwriter, record producer, music publisher and label executive. Famous songs that he can be credited with includes such standards as “Misty Blue” and “Love’s Made a Fool of You.” Vern Gosdin, Janie Fricke, Bobby Goldsboro and Joe Diffie were stars for whom he produced records. He published such iconic songs as “Behind Closed Doors” and “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” He created hit-making rosters for the record labels United Artists, Epic and Columbia. He got work as a recording engineer in the Clovis, NM studio of producer Norman Petty, working with such artists as Holly, The Crickets, Waylon Jennings, Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs, Buddy Knox and Roy Orbison. He enjoyed playing rhythm guitar for many of the recordings which were made at the Petty Studios. In 1959, he moved to Nashville, TN, and became a staff songwriter at Acuff-Rose Publishing. As in every place he had worked before, he was very successful with Acuff-Rose and those who reaped from those successes included Sue Thompson’s 1962 pop hit “Two of a Kind,” as well as songs for The Everly Brothers, Jim Reeves and Bob Luman. He formed Talmont Music as his own publishing company in 1963. Patsy Cline sang the original recording of another of his big hits, “Back in Baby’s Arms.” The song was a huge success, so much so, that others who subsequently made the song big on the country hit parade included Connie Smith, Sissy Spacek, Emmylou Harris and many others. “Misty Blue” was another gold song in his repertoire. This Montgomery song has been a hit for Wilma Burgess (1966), Eddy Arnold (1967), Joe Simon (1972), Dorothy Moore (1976) and Billie Jo Spears (1976) and has been recorded by hundreds more. In 1967, he sold Talmont then became the head of the United Artists Records country division. As in all his previous endeavors, he set country music on fire as a record producer by producing hits for the label’s Del Reeves (1969’s “Good Time Charlie’s”), Johnny Darrell (1968’s “With Pen in Hand”) and Buddy Knox (1968’s “Gypsy Man”), among others. He had one United Artists star who stood tall above all others, Bobby Goldsboro, for whom he produced the massive 1968 pop and country gold mine hit “Honey,” as well as “Watching Scotty Grow,” “The Straight Life,” “Summer (The First Time)” and Goldsboro’s other hits of that era. In late 1969, he had another hugely successful business when he and Bobby Goldsboro formed the publishing company House of Gold. In only five years, it was one of the top song firms on Music Row. They employed staff writers who would become future Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame members: Kenny O’Dell and Larry Henley, plus Steve Pippin, Danny Morrison, Sam Lorber, Bobby Springfield and Van Stephenson. Other big time hit records he produced were “Behind Closed Doors” (Charlie Rich) and “The Wind Beneath My Wings” (Gary Morris, Bette Midler), and the company’s hits included John Conlee’s “Rose Colored Glasses,” Tammy Wynette’s “Til I Get it Right,” Alabama’s “Love in the First Degree,” The Oak Ridge Boys’ “Bobbie Sue” and Tanya Tucker’s “Lizzie and the Rainman.” Others who enjoyed super hits with House of Gold songs included Bobby Bare, Brenda Lee, Cristy Lane, Crystal Gayle, Dave & Sugar, Eddy Arnold, and Jack Greene. He was not yet finished with the smash hits that he produced at the House of Gold. Singer-songwriter Razzy Bailey had a long string of hit singles that the House of Gold produced. Montgomery crossed over into the field of pop with songs recorded by Exile, Dr. Hook, Gladys Knight, Lobo, Millie Jackson, Player, Sister Sledge, Sheena Easton, The Pointer Sisters,and many others. The 1970s was a decade of great success as the House of Gold was ranked second to Tree International as the most successful independent publisher in Nashville. In 1982, Warner Brothers Music bought the company for several million dollars. Montgomery moved to Tree as its Director of Creative Services. Continuing on with his golden ways, Sony bought Tree in 1988, and he became a vice president at CBS Records. As with all his previous companies, he signed more stars who included Joe Diffie, Doug Stone and Collin Raye to the company’s imprints, Columbia and Epic. He was the quintessential record producer with the golden touch. His name is on 1980s hits by B.J. Thomas, Waylon Jennings, Shelby Lynne and Merle Haggard, among others. “Rocky” by Austin Roberts (1975), “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Easy” by Janie Fricke (1982), “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox” by Joe Diffie (1993) and “Some Memories Just Won’t Die” by Marty Robbins (1982). His name is also on such hit performances as Vern Gosdin’s 1988 and 1989 “Chiseled in Stone,” “Set ‘Em Up Joe” and “Who You Gonna Blame it on This Time.” In 1992, he and his wife established yet another publishing company, Noosa Heads Music. This company was the successful producer of songs including the Tim McGraw hits “Down on the Farm” (1994) and “Maybe We Should Just Sleep on It” (1996). 2005 found the Montgomery’s moving to Australia where they lived for seven years. They returned to Nashville in 2013. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and died quietly at home around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, December 4th. He is survived by his wife and business partner two daughter, and one son. Woodlawn Funeral Home on Thompson Lane in Nashville handled arrangement for the final rites which were held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.
Source of information: LifeNotes
Bio by: J. D. McConnell
Country Western Singer. Born Donald Eugene Lytle, he began playing guitar by age six. Changing his name to Johnny Paycheck in the 1960s, he is best remembered for his 1977 hit song, “Take This Job And Shove It,” which sold over 2 million copies and inspired a motion picture by the same name. In 1985 he was convicted of shooting a man in the head in Hillsboro, Ohio, and spent two years in prison. In 1982 he had problems with the IRS and filed for bankruptcy in 1990. His other hits include “Don’t Take Her, She’s All I Got,” “I’m The Only Hell Mama Ever Raised,” “Georgia In A Jug,” “Colorado Cool-Aid,” “Barstool Mountain,” “Slide Off Your Satin Sheets,” “Old Violin,” and “You Can Have Her.” He recorded over 70 albums. In 2002 an album called, “The Soul & The Edge: The Best Of Johnny Paycheck” was released. His burial plot at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Nashville, Tennessee, was purchased by Country legend George Jones.
Lillie Mae Ford Tomlin
Lillie Mae Tomlin was many things in this life: a friend to many, the mother to actress Lily Tomlin and Richard Tomlin, a mother to Tennessee Michael, and she was the last of the great Southern Ladies. She loved her God, and spoke of Him and her love for Him to everybody.
There is the Lillie Mae Tomlin triage center, named in her honor, at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, TN. There is also the Meditation Room for families named after her husband, Guy Tomlin. Additionally, the Lillie Mae Tomlin Kitchen and Pantry was named in her honor at the Hanson House in Palm Springs, California, where Lillie Mae was a social-light for many years. She was famous for giving her pool side parties at her old Las Palmas estate. She enjoyed gardening very much with her son Richard, and son in law, Tennessee Michael Langston Tomlin, whom she loved as if he were her own. They created an English Garden that resembled the one from her childhood, complete with two gazebos. This garden included eighty-four rosebushes, lilacs and a variety of other flowers and plants that would exist in an English Garden. She enjoyed living in her gated estate for many years in Palm Springs, with Richard and Tennessee. She also enjoyed spending long weekends with her daughter, Lily. She enjoyed going to see her son perform his night-club acts on a regular basis. Tennessee and Richard kept her young and vital. They took care of her until her death in 2005. She now rests peacefully in the family mausoleum in Nashville, TN, where she is forever sheltered in the arms of God.
James Edward “Jim Ed” Brown
Bio by: Louis du Mort
Jerry Donald Chestnut
Jerry was a highly acclaimed songwriter and was inducted to the Song Writer Hall of Fame in 1996 and was also in the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. Some of his most popular songs are T-RO-U-B-L-E, Good Year for the Roses, They Don’t Make Them Like My Daddy, Four In The Morning, The Wonders You Perform, Oney, Another Place Another Time, Holding On To Nothing, It’s Midnight and Love Coming Down. There will be a gathering of family and friends on Tuesday Dec 18th from four o’clock pm until six o’clock pm and Wed Dec 19th from ten thirty am until service time. Celebration of Life service will be Wednesday Dec 19th at eleven thirty am at Woodlawn’s Dignity Hall with burial following in Woodlawn Memorial Park.
James Cecil “Little Jimmy” Dickens
Bio by: William Bjornstad
Bio courtesy of: Wikipedia
Country Singer, Songwriter. He was a member of the popular Country musical group, ‘Blackhawk’ from 1992 to 2000. A native of Hamilton, Ohio, Stephenson moved to Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of ten, where he got involved playing in local garage bands. A graduate of a seminary school, he pursued his musical interests more seriously, and he began to write songs, while working as a staff writer. In 1979, country singer Crystal Gayle recorded one of his songs, ‘Your Kisses Will.’ The song landed on the Top Ten on the Country Charts. Following the success of ‘Your Kisses Will’, Stephenson began writing songs for other musicians including Janie Fricke, Dan Seals, John Anderson, and Kenny Rogers. He also collaborated with Dave Robbins (a future Blackhawk member), on several recordings for Country band ‘Restless Heart’ including, ‘Big Dreams In A Small Town,’ ‘Bluest Eyes In Texas,’ and ‘Til I Loved You.’ By 1984, Stephenson had signed an artist deal with music producer Richard Landis, and was recording on the MCA Record Label. That same year his album, “Righteous Anger” (with Restless Heart), was released. The album was a success in sales, and partly to the singles, ‘Modern Day Delilah,’ and ‘What The Big Girls Do.’ In 1986, Stephenson released his second album, “Suspicious Heart”, but the album was not a great success, although the single, ‘Were Doing Alright,’ did get some air play. Over the next few years Stephenson continued to write songs and record. In 1992, he formed the group ‘Blackhawk’ with keyboard player and vocalist Dave Robbins, and lead vocalist and mandolin player Henry Paul. The band signed a contract with the Arista Record Label, and by 1993, the group had there first single with, ‘Goodbye Says It All.’ The single went to #1 on the music charts. The band’s success continued over the next couple of years with more successes including, ‘Every Once In Awhile,”I Can Sure Smell The Rain,’ and ‘Wherever You Go.’ All three songs were on the music charts in the #2, #9, and #10 spots. The band’s debut album, “Strong Enough” also went platinum. In late 1995, the band released it’s second album, and again several hit recordings, ‘King Of The World,’ ‘I’m Not Strong Enough To Say No,’ ‘Like There Ain’t No Yesterday,’ and ‘Almost A Memory Now.’ In 1997, the band released there third album, “Love & Gravity”, and in 1998, there fourth album, “The Sky’s The Limit.” In 2000, they also released there greatest hits album, “Blackhawk: Greatest Hits.” In 2000, Stephenson unfortunately had to leave the band, due to skin cancer that he was suffering from. He was replaced in the group by Anthony Crawford. On April 8, Van Stephenson sadly passed away in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 47. He was buried in the same mausoleum as country singer Tammy Wynette at the Woodlawn Memorial Park in Nashville, Tennessee. Other recordings by ‘Blackhawk’ include, ‘Let ‘Em Whirl,’ ‘Down In Flames,’ ‘Stone By Stone,’ ‘Bad Love Gone Good,’ ‘Cast Iron Heart,’ and ‘Ships Of Heaven.’
Bio by: Peterborough K
Grave Location Cross Mausoleum 3rd floor, left hall, 8th left
Sumner Memorial Gardens / Memorial Park
(420 Albert Gallatin Ave, Gallatin, TN 37066)
Notable interments in the outside mausoleum
Conway Twitty (Harold L. Jenkins) (1933-1993), country music singer
(1101 Lebanon Pike, Nashville, TN 37210) serves as the final resting place for many of Middle Tennessee’s political and business leaders, as well as a Confederate Circle that has about 1,500 soldiers buried there
Notable buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery
Adelicia Acklen, wealthy Nashville businesswoman and socialite.
John Meredith Bass, Mayor of Nashville from 1833 to 1834, and again in 1869.
William B. Bate, Governor of Tennessee (1883 to 1887), American Civil War general
John Bell, United States Senator and presidential candidate
Aaron V. Brown, Governor of Tennessee (1845 to 1847), United States Postmaster General from 1857 to 1859
James Stephens Brown, Mayor of Nashville from 1908 to 1909.
George P. Buell, Union Army general
Joseph Wellington Byrns, United States Congressman and Speaker of the House
John Catron, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Benjamin F. (“Frank”) Cheatham, Confederate general during the American Civil War
Mark R. Cockrill (1788-1872), cattleman, planter, and “Wool King of the World”.
Clarence Kelley Colley (1869-1956), architect.
Washington Bogart Cooper (1802–1888), painter.
George A. Dickel (1818–1894), liquor dealer and wholesaler
Anne Dallas Dudley (1876–1955), women’s suffrage activist
Guilford Dudley, U.S. ambassador to Denmark under the Nixon and Ford presidential administrations, son of Anne Dallas Dudley.
Edward H. East (1830–1904), Tennessee Secretary of State, briefly served as the state’s “acting governor” in 1865
Jesse Babcock Ferguson, onetime minister of the Nashville Church of Christ, later associated with Spiritualism and Universalism
Thomas Frist, co-founder of Hospital Corporation of America and father of the former majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Bill Frist
Francis Furman (1816–1899), Nashville businessman during the Reconstruction Era. A building is named in his honor on the campus of Vanderbilt University, and his tomb, designed by sculptor Johannes Gelert (1852–1923), is the largest one in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Sidney Clarence Garrison (1885-1945), second President of Peabody College (now part of Vanderbilt University) from 1938 to 1945.
Meredith Poindexter Gentry, United States Congressman
Carl Giers, early photographer
Alvan Cullem Gillem, Civil War Union general and post-bellum Indian fighter
Vern Gosdin 1934–2009 country music legend
William Crane Gray, (1835–1919), First Episcopal Bishop of the Missionary Jurisdiction of Southern Florida
Felix Grundy (1775–1840), U.S. Senator from Tennessee and 13th Attorney General of the United States.
George Blackmore Guild (1834–1917), Mayor of Nashville from 1891 to 1895.
Robert Kennon Hargrove (1829–1905), a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South
Henry C. Hibbs (1882–1949), architect.
E. Bronson Ingram, founder of Ingram Industries Inc., parent company of Ingram Barge Company; Ingram Book Company, the nation’s largest book distributor; Ingram Micro; and other major companies
Howell Edmunds Jackson, United States Senator and Supreme Court Justice
William Hicks Jackson, Confederate general during the American Civil War
Thomas A. Kercheval, Tennessee State Senator and Mayor of Nashville
David Lipscomb, founder of Nashville Bible School (now Lipscomb University)
William Litterer (1834–1917), Mayor of Nashville from 1890 to 1891.
George Maney, Confederate Civil War general and U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay
Jack C. Massey, entrepreneur who helped found or take public Hospital Corporation of America, Kentucky Fried Chicken and two other NYSE-listed companies
Hill McAlister, Governor of Tennessee from 1933 to 1937
Randal William McGavock (1826–1863), Mayor of Nashville from 1858 to 1859 and Confederate Lt. Colonel who was killed in the Battle of Raymond.
Eliza Jane McKissack (1828–1900), founding head of music in 1890 to the forerunner of the University of North Texas College of Music
Benton McMillin, Governor of Tennessee (1899 to 1903)
Kindred Jenkins Morris (1819–1884), Mayor of Nashville from 1869 to 1871.
Thomas Owen Morris (1845–1924), Mayor of Nashville from 1906 to 1908.
William Nichol (1800–1878), Mayor of Nashville from 1835 to 1837.
John Overton, friend of Andrew Jackson and one of the founders of Memphis, Tennessee
Bruce Ryburn Payne (1874-1937), founding president of Peabody College (now part of Vanderbilt University) from 1911 to 1937.
Colonel Buckner H. Payne (1799-1889), clergyman, publisher, merchant and racist pamphleteer.
James E. Rains, American Civil War general killed in the 1862 Battle of Murfreesboro
Fred Rose, music publishing executive
William Percy Sharpe (1871–1942), Mayor of Nashville from 1922 to 1924.
John Hugh Smith (1819–1870), Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee three times, from 1845 to 1846, from 1850 to 1853, and from 1862 to 1865.
Ernest Stoneman, country music performer
David K. Wilson (1919-2007), businessman and philanthropist; major donor to Vanderbilt University and the Republican Party.
Originally known as “The Voice,” Vern Gosdin (1934-2009)
Jack Carroll Massey
Jack Carroll Massey was a American venture capitalist and entrepreneur who owned Kentucky Fried Chicken, founded Hospital Corporation of America, and owned one of the largest franchises of Wendy’s Restaurants. Mr. Massey held a pharmacy degree from The University of Florida, a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He began his business career working as a delivery boy in his uncle’s Drugstore. He received a pharmacist license when he was 19 years of age and bought his first Drugstore at the age of 25 in Nashville. As Pharmacist and retail Druggist, he build the store into a chain of 6 Drugstores and sold them six years later. In 1930 he started Massey Surgical Supply. In 1961 he sold that business to the A.S. Aloe division of Brunswick Corporation for $1 million dollars.
In 1964 he acquired Kentucky Fried Chicken with partner John Y. Brown, Jr. of Louisville, Kentucky from its founder Colonel Harlan Sanders for $2 million. Growing the business to approximately 3,500 franchises and grossing $700 million in annual revenue. Seven years later they sold the company for $239 million.
In 1968, Mr. Massey founded Hospital Corporation of America with Thomas F. Frist, Sr. and Thomas F. Frist, Jr. HCA became the nations largest chain of for-profit Hospitals and Mr. Massey left active management in 1978. He transformed Winners Corporation, one of the largest franchisees of Wendy’s hamburger restaurants into a fast-food franchise operation. He was the first man in American history to take three unrelated companies to the New York Stock Exchange. KFC (1969), HCA (1970), and Winner’s Corporation (1984). He was the owner of “403 feet of oceanfront property directly in front of Mar-a-Lago” in Palm Beach, Florida, which Donald Trump purchased for $2 million.
The Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business at Belmont University was named for his honor, after a $1 million gift his Family made on November 1, 2005 to add a Financial Trading Room at Belmont. Mr. Massey was founder of Baptist Hospital in Nashville. His obituary in The Palm Beach Daily News called him “a legend in American business.”
Capt Thomas Green Ryman
Folk figure. Founder of The Ryman Auditorium (known as “The Mother Church of Country Music”). In the late 1800s, Captain Thomas Ryman owned a successful saloon and steamboat business on the Cumberland River in Tennessee. Whiskey was one of the main cargos. In 1885, he went to see the Rev. Sam Jones give a Christain revival meeting. His intent was to heckle Jones, instead he was converted. Ryman, who had ended all sales and transport of whiskey, decided to build an auditorium in Nashville, large enough to hold the evangelist’s audiences. The prominent businessman was able to rally many in the Nashville business community to raise the money for the project. Originally called the Union Gospel Tabernacle, at Ryman’s funeral in 1904, Sam Jones, who was officiating, suggested the name be changed to honor its builder. With the arrival of the Grand Ole Opry in 1943, The Ryman Auditorium earned its nickname “The Mother Church of Country Music.”
Adelicia Hayes Cheatham
“The mistress of Belmont,” was one of the wealthiest and most interesting women in antebellum America.
Belmont, the home of Joseph and Adelicia Acklen, was completed in 1853. It was the Acklen summer home–a little getaway place of 36 rooms and 19,000 square feet! At Belmont the Acklens entertained such notables as President Andrew Johnson, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, socialite Octavia La Vert, philosopher Thomas Huxley, and solider of fortune William Walker, as well as numerous Confederate officers and political figures. During the Battle of Nashville in 1864, Belmont was used as the headquarters of General Thomas Wood, one of the Union commanders.
Adelicia enjoyed the benefits of a large fortune and impressive social status, but she also experienced many tragedies in her life. She buried six children and two husbands, and she also endured the hardships associated with the Civil War and Reconstruction. The house became part of Belmont College after Adelicia’s death and still stands on the campus; the mansion is open for tours, receptions, and other functions.
Bio by: Jonathan Malcolm Lampley
Warner started his career by working for his father’s mining business. Warner served as the President of the Nashville Railway and Light Company, which controlled the streetcar system in Nashville. He was also active in utility companies in “Memphis, Knoxville, Birmingham, Little Rock, Houston, and New Orleans.” Additionally, Warner served on the Board of Directors of the National Light and Power Company of New York. Warner served on the Nashville Board of Park Commissioners. He helped save Centennial Park. The Percy Warner Park in Nashville was named in his honor.
Nashville businessman during the Reconstruction Era. His tomb, designed by sculptor Johannes Gelert (1852–1923), is the largest one in Mount Olivet Cemetery
Harriet “Hattie” Frost Stoneman
Bio by: Peterborough K
William Brimage Bate
Civil War Confederate Major General, Tennessee Governor, US Senator. At age 19 he enlisted as a Private for service in the Mexican War (1846 to 1848), rising to the rank of Lieutenant in the 3rd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry. After the war he studied law, served in the Tennessee House of Representatives (1849 to 1851), and became a practicing attorney in Gallatin in 1852. He was elected Nashville District Attorney General in 1854. When the Civil War began, Bate joined the Confederate forces as Colonel of the 2nd Tennessee Infantry and first saw action at the First Battle of Manassas (July 1861).
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
William Nelson Rector Beall
Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. His parents moved from Kentucky to Arkansas where he was raised. Gaduating 30th in his class from the United States Military Academy in 1848, he was commissioned to the United States Army as a Brevet 2nd Lieutenant with the 4th United States Regular Infantry. Serving first on the Northwestern Frontier, in 1849 he recieved his official 2nd Lieutenant commission, and was assigned to the 5th United States Regular Infantry. He served in the Indian Territory and Texas until 1855. He eventually was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, then to Captain with the 1st United States Regular Calvary, being involved in battles and expeditions against the Indian Tribes in the West, primarily in Kansas. In 1860 he participated in a raid against the Kiowas and Commanches Indian Tribes. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, he resigned his commission and was appointed as Captain of the Calvary in the Confederate Army. He served under the direction of General Earl Van Dorn and he was appointed as Brigadier General, PACS in 1862. Placed in command of the Confederate Calvary Forces at Corinth, Mississippi, he commanded a brigade of troops in Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisana. At the seige of Port Hudson, the Confederate Forces surrendered on July 9th, 1863, and he was taken as prisoner after the capitulation. Imprisoned at Johnson’s Island on Lake Erie near Sandusky, Ohio, in 1864, Beall was appointed as Confederate Agent for his fellow prisoners, in charge of supplies. He was eventually paroled for this purpose. He established an office in New York City and sold cotton through the Union Blockade of Southern Ports. The proceeds from those sales were used to purchase blankets and clothing for Confederate Soldiers in Union Prison Camps. On January 3rd, 1865, Union General Henry Halleck wrote to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, complaining about General Beall’s illegal trade. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton suspended Beall’s Parole, because of it, and placed him in Fort Lafayette in New York Harbor as a Prisoner of War, until the cotton safely arrived from Mobile, Alabama. He was finally released from Federal custody on August 2nd, 1865. After the War, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri and became a general commission merchant.
Bio by: Bonnie Fortney- Wichita, Kansas
Thomas F. Frist Sr.
Dr. Frist served as a Major in the Army Air Corps in World War II. Frist began his career as a cardiologist in the Nashville area. In 1968, with his son, Dr. Thomas F. Frist Jr., and Jack C. Massey, who helped Harland Sanders create the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain, he co-founded Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the largest private operator of health care facilities in the world, taking the company public in 1969. He is widely regarded as “the father of the modern for-profit hospital system” in the U.S. At the time, he made headlines for being the top wage earner in the US with a salary of $127 million. Shortly thereafter the massive fraud scandals of the corporation were revealed.
George A. Dickel
George Dickel was a successful merchant living in Nashville when he visited Tullahoma with his wife Augusta in 1867. It was in Cascade Hollow that George Dickel dreamed of creating the finest, smoothest sippin’ whisky in the United States. In 1870, Dickel’s dream came true, also at this time that George declared that because his whisky was as smooth as the finest scotch, he would always spell the “whiskey” in George Dickel Tennessee Whisky without an “e”.
He was one of the oldest and wealthiest citizens of Nashville, to which place he came in 1807, for the purpose of completing his education at Cumberland College, then under the presidency of the famous James Priestly; but soon after entered the office of his uncle Randal, the then clerk of the Circuit Court. In 1813 he volunteered in the Creek War and was one of General Andrew Jackson’s aides, but being disabled by a wound in the Battle of Enotochopco, January 24, 1814, he was honorably discharged.
He was severally County, Circuit and United States Circuit Clerk, for half a century, occupying the last position at the breaking out of the Civil War in 1861. His wife, born at Bardstown, Kentucky, February 10, 1798 and died at Nashville, January 19, 1878, was the eldest daughter of Hon. Felix Grundy, one of the ablest lawyers and statesmen of his day, member of Congress, Attorney General of the United States and United States Senator, to which last position he was twice elected.
E. Bronson Ingram II
He was an American billionaire heir and business executive. He served as the Chairman of Ingram Industries from 1963 to 1995. He was a director and large shareholder of Weyerhaeuser. He was tried and acquitted of corruption regarding a Chicago sewage deal in the 1970s. Ingram took over the Tennessee Book Company, Ingram Materials Company, Ingram Barge Company, and Bluewater Insurance Company. He called it Ingram Industries. By 1995, the Ingram Barge Company became the Inland Marine Transportation Group, the third-largest inland waterway carrier in the United States. In 1970, the Tennessee Book Company became known as the Ingram Book Company, and by 1995 it controlled 52 percent of the wholesale book distribution market to American retail bookstores. He also founded Ingram Software; in 1985 it acquired Micro D and morphed into Ingram Micro Incorporated. At the time of his death, he was Tennessee’s only billionaire and 56th richest person in the United States.
Brother of Percy Warner and has a park named after him
Caroline Douglas Meriwether Goodlett
Founder of the United Daughters of the Confederacy .Through her efforts the State deeded part of the Hermitage tract for a home for needy Confederate soldiers. In 1870 the Confederate women of Nashville organized a Memorial Association and bought a lot in Mount Olivet Cemetery, where they buried the remains of Confederate soldiers in the vicinity of Nashville. Caroline was a charter member of the Board of the Confederate Monumental Association that erected a monument over the Confederate soldiers buried in the circle.In 1890, The Auxiliary of the Confederate Soldiers’ Home was organized in Tennessee and Mrs. Goodlett was elected President.Gradually, the Auxiliary began to operate as Daughters of the Confederacy on May 10, 1892.In 1905, the title of “Founder” of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was conferred upon Mrs. Goodlett at the General Convention in San Francisco.Wife of Colonel Michael Campbell Goodlett.
Country Musician. He was one of the first country musicians to make a name for himself with the electric guitar. Born William Lewis Byrd in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of ten he displayed an impressive level of skill and technique on the guitar, and his parents hoped he would pursue a career in classical music. He began performing with his older brother James, and made his radio debut on WLAC in Nashville in 1935. When he was 18, he was hired as a backup musician on the Grand Ole Opry, and began working that same year with the Tennessee Valley Boys, and later with various dance bands in the Nashville area. During World War II he enlisted in the US Navy and served as a cook on a destroyer escort. After the war, he resumed his music career in Nashville, initially as a member of Wally Fowler & His Georgia Clodhoppers, where he remained until 1948. That year he went to Louisiana, joining the Louisiana Hayride and playing with Curly Williams & the Georgia Peach Pickers. In 1949 he joined Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours, succeeding Tommy “Butterball” Page as lead guitarist on the single “Tennessee Border No. 2.” As a member of the Texas Troubadours he became a star, with Tubb mentioning him by name ahead of each solo, and his solos were among the prettiest, most fluid, and memorable in country music. He appeared on hundreds of songs, among them “Two Glasses Joe,” “Jealous Loving Heart,” “Answer the Phone,” and “Letters Have No Arms,” from 1949 until 1959, and was also prominently featured as part of Tubb’s appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and other television shows. His playing made the electric guitar a popular instrument among country audiences, and in 1950 he collaborated with Hank Garland in the design of the ‘Byrdland’ guitar for Gibson Guitar. He was also a well-known sessions musician with other well-known artists, including Tex Ritter, Webb Pierce, Burl Ives, Cowboy Copas, Ferlin Husky, Marty Robbins, Little Jimmy Dickens, George Morgan, Eddy Arnold, Johnny Horton, Leon Russell, and the Oak Ridge Quartet, and shuttled between Tubb’s and Red Foley’s bands. In addition to the electric guitar, he was also renowned for his skill on the mandolin, the banjo, and the bass. In 1959 he left the Texas Troubadours to pursue a solo recording career with the newly formed Warner Brothers label and recording three albums, “I Love a Guitar” (1960), “Lonesome Country Songs” (1962), and “The Golden Guitar of Billy Byrd” (1964). In 1964 he moved to California to join fiddle player Gordon Terry. He later moved back to Nashville to continue as a sessions musician, and was also featured throughout the early and mid-’60s as a guitarist on the local morning television program “The Eddie Hill Show.” At the end of the 1960s he briefly rejoined the Texas Troubadours but was never fond of touring, and he left once again in 1970 only to return briefly a few years later before leaving for good in 1973. Later, he participated on Pete Drake’s Ernest Tubb tribute album, “The Legend and the Legacy” (1979). He died of natural causes in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 81. He was portrayed by actor Scott Michael Campbell in the film “Crazy” (2008).
Bio by: William Bjornstad
Major Eugene C. Lewis
He was an American engineer and businessman. He served as the chairman of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway from 1900 to 1917. As a civic leader, he helped develop Shelby Park and Centennial Park, including the Parthenon, as well as Union Station.
Col Vernon King Stevenson
The foremost promoter of railroads in antebellum Tennessee and the founder and first president of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. Stevenson died in New York City on October 18, 1884, leaving an estate valued at five million dollars. He lived the proverbial American dream of starting near the bottom, as a small merchant, and rising to the top of society as a railroad president and a successful millionaire. Stevenson had left Nashville eight days before Union troops entered the city in his own private railroad car with his family, personal belongings, furniture, carriage, and carriage horses, without finishing the transportation of army supplies south. Needless to say, this action did not endear Stevenson to Nashvillians left in the occupied city.
1 Lieutenant & A.D.C.,Major in the Quartermaster Department of the Confederate army .
Smiley Jordan Blanton
Psychiatrist, Author. He gained wide acclaim with his work with Rev. Norman Vincent Peale and authoring several psychiatric books. A Freud-trained psychiatrist, Dr. Blanton teamed with Peale to begin a religious-psychiatric clinic during the Great Depression in the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. They were trying to respond to the deep-rooted psychiatry needs of the church’s congregation. In 1951, this clinic was organized into the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry, with Peale being president and Blanton as executive director. This clinic also trained clergy to be able to respond to their congregation’s psychiatric needs. Blanton and Peale co-wrote several books, with most notably being their first, “Faith Is the Answer: A Pastor and Psychiatrist Discuss Your Problems.” Today, the clinic is still open as Blanton and Peale Institute and Counseling Center, with advertisements reading, “providing affordable holistic mental health care in Midtown Manhattan” in New York City. As a strict Presbyterian from a Southern family, Blanton earned his M.D. from Cornell University in 1914. He had psychiatric training under Dr. Adolf Meyer, chief of psychiatric medicine at John Hopkins Hospital. After serving in the United States military during World War I, he studied from 1922 to 1923 neurology and psychiatric medicine receiving a degree from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in London, England. He then taught at the University of Minneapolis,established the first child guidance clinic in public health medicine, in 1927 started a nursery school at Vassar College in New York, and then began his private practice of psychoanalysis in New York City. Through colleagues encouragement, he sought Sigmund Freud for an analysis. Dr. Blanton was a patient of Freud from September 1, 1929 to May 30, 1930. He had several more weeks of analysis with Freud in August 1935, August 1937 and in London in August 1938. When Blanton met Freud in 1935 in Vienna, Austria, he was encountering Nazi army persecution of the Jews. Blanton urged Freud to leave the country before he was sent to a concentration camp and killed. Freud agree that his life was in danger, and inscribed a copy of “The Interpretation of Dreams” as a gift to Blanton. This may be the reason there was not a 1936 session as Freud was escaping to England. Blanton was allowed to take notes of his analytic sessions. These notes were used for his 1971 book, “Diary of My Analysis with Freud.” The analysis was conducted in English and Freud’s English was described as being perfect. Having an interest in children, he wrote his 1919 “Speech Training for Children: The Hygiene of Speech.”
Bio by: Linda Davis
He teamed up with Grand Ole Opry star Roy Acuff to create the first Nashville-based music publishing company. Their Acuff-Rose Music was almost immediately successful, particularly with the enormous hits of client Hank Williams. Acuff-Rose Music remained a foundation of the country music business even after Rose’s death; his son, Wesley Rose, took over the presidency and continued with Roy Acuff until 1985, when the company’s catalog was sold to Gaylord Entertainment Company, parent company of the Grand Ole Opry.
While running the business, Rose continued to write numerous country songs and eventually became one of the industry’s most important personalities. He also wrote songs under the name Floyd Jenkins.
Along with Hank Williams and the “Father of Country Music”, Jimmie Rodgers, Rose was one of the first three inductees of the Country Music Hall of Fame when it opened in 1961. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1986, son Wesley would join his father in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Alvan Cullom Gillem
Civil War Union Brevet Major General. In 1851, he graduated from West Point, was commissioned an officer in the 1st US artillery and participated in the war against the Seminoles in Florida. When the Civil War erupted, he was assigned artillery quartermaster for the Army of the Ohio in the Tennessee Campaign, being engaged at Shiloh and in the Siege of Corinth. He was appointed Colonel Provost Marshal for the 10th Tennessee Volunteers in May 1862 and commanded a brigade in the Tennessee operations during the first half of 1863. In August 1863, he was promoted Brigadier General and commanded the troops guarding the Nashville and Northwestern railroad until August, 1864. In 1865, he commanded cavalry troops in east Tennessee, participated in the capture of Salisbury, North Carolina and was brevetted Major General of US Volunteers. After the war he remained in the Regular Army as a Colonel, commanded the District of Mississippi in 1867 and served on the Texas frontier.
Bio by: John “J-Cat” Griffith
Country Music Musician. Guest starred on the Grand Ole Opry in 1952 and became a member in 1953. First Female Million-selling artist. Pianist with a thumping Ragtime style. Earned the name “Queen of the Ragtime Pianists” and remained a member of the Grand Ole Opry until her death at the Baptist Hospital in Nashville. Del had a stroke on September 22nd of 1989, the same day she was scheduled to appear on the Legendary Ladies of Country Music Show at the Grand Ole Opry and died later that same year from complications.
(5110 Gallatin Pike S, Nashville, TN 37216)
The history of Spring Hill dates back to the 1780s when the first settlers moved in from the Cumberland settlement into an area six miles east of Nashville called Haysboro. The land offered fertile soil for their crops and a plentiful steady water source from several springs. Needing a church and school, James Robertson persuaded the Princeton educated Reverend Thomas B. Craighead of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, to move to Haysboro as a preacher and teacher. With a promise of 640 acres of land he arrived in 1785. The settlers had built a log house on the property for him and his family.
By 1800, Nashville had grown from a string of forts located along various waterways to a thriving little town. It boasted a post office, newspaper, several stores and taverns, and Davidson Academy. In 1806, Davidson Academy was named Davidson College and had moved across the river to College Hill. Several years later when Thomas B. Craighead was replaced by James Preistly , the name was changed again to Cumberland College. The church yard was used as a community burying ground. In 1813, it was designated Craighead Spring Hill Cemetery. As with the case of church or privately held burial grounds, Spring Hill Cemetery had fallen into decay during the civil war.
In 1888, a company of gentlemen chartered Spring Hill Cemetery for the sale of lots and marketed it as a modern final resting place. These directors drew up the rules of governing, maintaining and protecting the lots, monuments, and procedures of interment. Spring Hill Cemetery continued to grow over the years as additional property was acquired and a system for record keeping was introduced as facilities expanded. J. Taylor Stratton, a prominent stockholder, businessman and civic leader, spearheaded the management and growth of Spring Hill for 30 years. He was an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the school board and he was responsible for developing the county high school system. J. Taylor Stratton School was named in his honor.
In 1934, Mary Stratton, Stratton’s daughter became president of the cemetery. Known as Miss Mary, she established new roads, statuary, plantings, and other improvements to the property. After her death her husband Dr. James Hayes, a beloved Nashville physician, managed the operations of Spring Hill Cemetery. In 1991 he stepped down to President Emeritus and turned operations over to his son Rev. Jim Hayes. Rev. Hayes, a well known member of the clergy, worked hard to fulfill his mother’s legacy and serve the community.
After Rev. Hayes’ sudden death in 1994 and Dr. Hayes’ death in 1996, the Rev. Hayes’ widow Marylyn Poteete Hayes and her daughters operated Spring Hill for many years. In the late 1990s they began working with funeral directors to design and construct a state of the art funeral home to better service their community.
Ground breaking occurred in June of 1997 and in 1998 the doors of Spring Hill Funeral Home were opened. The funeral home now stands on Spring Hill Cemetery’s north eastern border overlooking Gallatin Pike. As one of the largest funeral and cemetery providers in Nashville, and with its historic association with the community, Spring Hill continues to occupy a special place in the hearts and minds of Nashville’s citizens.
Today Spring Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery is one of the largest funeral and cemetery providers in Nashville, it’s wide open spaces dotted with majestic trees and beautiful flower gardens offer tranquility and beauty not only to the families it serves but to the community as a whole.
In addition to two British Royal Air Force veterans of World War II and circus performer Ella Harper,the cemetery is the final resting place for numerous notable music performers including the following:
Bobby Hebb: soul singer, songwriter, musician, recording artist, performer
Earl Scruggs: bluegrass musician
Floyd Cramer: piano legend
George Morgan: singer
Hank Snow: singer
Jimmy Martin: bluegrass singer
John Hartford: singer, fiddler
Keith Whitley: singer
Roy Acuff: singer, songwriter, music publisher
Kitty Wells: singer
Roy Acuff, Hank Snow, George Morgan, Keith Whitley, Gilbert “Speck” Rhodes, Floyd Cramer, Jimmy Martin, John Hartford, Dean Manuel, Clifton Beverly Briley, Bunny Biggs, Billy Walker, Pete Drake, Louise Scruggs, Johnny Wright, and more.
Roy Claxton Acuff
Country Music Singer. He is best remembered as the “King of Country Music” and is often credited with moving the genre from its early string band and “hoedown” format to the star singer-based format that helped make it internationally renowned. He was born Roy Claxton Acuff, the third of five children, into a musical family. His father was a Baptist preacher and accomplished fiddle player and his mother played the piano. During his early years, the Acuff house was a popular place for local gatherings and at these events, he would often amuse people by balancing farm tools on his chin. He also learned to play harmonica and jaw harp at a young age. In 1919 his family relocated to Fountain City (now a suburb of Knoxville), Tennessee, where he attended Central High School and sang in the school chapel’s choir as well as performing in school plays. His primary passion was athletics and he was a three-sport standout at Central, and after graduating in 1925, he was offered a scholarship to Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, but turned it down. He played with several small baseball clubs around Knoxville, worked at odd jobs, and occasionally boxed. In 1929 he tried out for the Knoxville Smokies, a minor-league baseball team then affiliated with the New York (now San Francisco) Giants. After a series of collapses in spring training following a sunstroke, ended his baseball career prematurely and the effects left him ill for several years to the point where he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1930. While recovering, he took up the fiddle, often playing on the family’s front porch in late afternoons after the sun went down. His father gave him several records of regionally-renowned fiddlers, such as Fiddlin’ John Carson and Gid Tanner, which were important influences on his early style. In 1932 he hired on with Dr. Hauer’s Medicine Show as one of its entertainers where he met legendary Appalachian banjoist Clarence Ashley, from whom he learned “The House of the Rising Sun” and “Greenback Dollar,” both of which he later recorded. In 1934 he left the medicine show circuit and began playing at local shows with various musicians in the Knoxville area. That year, guitarist Jess Easterday and Hawaiian guitarist Clell Summey joined Acuff to form the Tennessee Crackerjacks, which performed regularly on Knoxville radio stations WROL and WNOX. Within a year, the group had added bassist Red Jones and changed its name to the Crazy Tennesseans. The popularity of hiss rendering of the song “The Great Speckled Bird” helped the group land a contract with the American Record Company, for whom they recorded several dozen tracks (including the band’s best-known track, “Wabash Cannonball”) in 1936 and 1937 before leaving over a contract dispute. In 1938 the Crazy Tennesseans relocated to Nashville, Tennessee to audition for the Grand Ole Opry and they were offered a contract. He changed the group’s name to the “Smoky Mountain Boys,” referring to the mountains near where he and his bandmates were raised. Shortly after the band joined the Opry, Clell Summey left the group, and was replaced by dobro player Beecher (Pete) Kirby, or “Bashful Brother Oswald.” His powerful lead vocals and Kirby’s dobro playing and high-pitched backing vocals gave the band its distinctive sound. By 1939, Jess Easterday had switched to bass to replace Red Jones, and Acuff had added guitarist Lonnie “Pap” Wilson and banjoist Rachel Veach to fill out the band’s line-up. Within a year, Roy Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys rivaled long-time Opry banjoist Uncle Dave Macon as the troupe’s most popular act. In 1940 he and his band traveled to Hollywood, California, where they appeared in the motion picture “Grand Ole Opry.” He also appeared in several subsequent B-movies, including “O, My Darling Clementine” (1943), in which he played a singing sheriff, and “Night Train to Memphis” (1946), the title of which comes from a song he recorded in 1940. In 1942 he and songwriter Fred Rose formed Acuff-Rose Publishing Company. He originally sought the company in order to publish his own music, but soon realized there was a high demand from other country artists, many of whom had been exploited by larger publishing firms. Due in large part to Rose’s ASCAP connections and gifted ability as a talent scout, Acuff-Rose quickly became the most important publishing company in country music. In 1946, the company signed country singer Hank Williams, and in 1950 published their first major hit, Patti Page’s rendition of “Tennessee Waltz”. Later that year, he left the Grand Ole Opry after a management dispute. In 1948 he made an unsuccessful run for the governor of Tennessee on the Republican ballot. He then spent several years touring the Western United States, although demand for his appearances dwindled with the lack of national exposure and the rise of musicians such as Ernest Tubb and Eddy Arnold, who were more popular with younger audiences. He eventually returned to the Opry however, by the 1960s, his record sales had dropped off considerably. After nearly losing his life in an automobile accident outside of Sparta, Tennessee in 1965, he contemplated retiring, making only token appearances on the Opry stage and similar shows, and occasionally performing duos with long-time bandmate Bashful Brother Oswald. In 1972 his career received a brief resurgence in the folk revival movement after he appeared on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” paving the way for one of the defining moments of his career, which came on the night of March 16, 1974, when the Opry officially moved from the Ryman Auditorium to the Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland, Tennessee. The first show at the new venue opened with a huge projection of a late-1930s image of Roy Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys onto a large screen above the stage. A recording from one of the band’s 1939 appearances was played over the sound system, with the iconic voice of Opry founder George Hay introducing the band, followed by the band’s performance of “Wabash Cannonball”. In the 1980s, after the death of his wife, Mildred, he moved into a house on the Opryland grounds and continued performing. He arrived early most days at the Opry, performing odd jobs, such as stocking soda in backstage refrigerators. In 1991, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts and given a lifetime achievement award by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the first Country music artist to receive the esteemed honor. Additionally, in 1962 he became the first living inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Two museums have been named in his honor, the Roy Acuff Museum at Opryland and the Roy Acuff Union Museum and Library in his hometown of Maynardville. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 1541 Vine Street. He died of congestive heart failure in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 89. During his musical career, he recorded a total of 43 albums (from 1949 to 1987) and 20 singles (from 1936 to 1989).
Bio by: William Bjornstad
Earl Eugene Scruggs
Country and Bluegrass Musician. He is probably best known for his three-finger banjo picking style of bluegrass music. He was born and raised in the Flint Hill community near Shelby, North Carolina, and grew up in a musical family. His father, a farmer and bookkeeper, played the banjo and died when he was 4 years old. As a young boy, he perfected his banjo-playing style began performing at dances and on local radio shows that featured bands, including Lost John Miller and His Allied Kentuckians. In 1945 when the Miller band broke up, he quit high school to join Bill Monroe’s bluegrass musical group, the Blue Grass Boys (which included guitarist Lester Flatt), and quickly popularized his syncopated banjo-playing style. In 1948 he and Flatt decided to leave Bill Monroe’s band and formed their own group, the Foggy Mountain Boys (later known simply as Flatt and Scruggs), and soon joined the Grand Ole Opry. In 1959 he appeared in Rhode Island at the Newport Folk Festival and introduced his style to the folk music revival during that time, which led him to perform on the college folk festival circuit. On September 24, 1962, Flatt and Scruggs, along with singer Jerry Scoggins, recorded “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” for the television show “The Beverly Hillbillies” which was released the following month. The theme song became an immediate country hit and was played at the beginning and end of each television episode. When he wanted to branch out and embrace the newer music that was beginning to materialize, Flatt objected and in 1969 they separated and he started a new band, the Earl Scruggs Revue, a mostly acoustical group with drums and electric bass, which also featured his sons Randy, Steve, and Gary. During his musical career, he recorded over 20 albums. He and Flatt won a Grammy Award in 1969 for his instrumental “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985. On October 15, 1969, he played “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” at the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam in Washington, DC, becoming one of the few bluegrass or country and western artists to support the anti-war movement. In 1989 he was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship and was an inaugural inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1991. In 1992 he was a recipient of a National Medal of Arts. In 2002 he won a second Grammy Award for the 2001 recording of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” from his album “Earl Scruggs and Friends” which featured artists Steve Martin on 2nd banjo solo, Vince Gill and Albert Lee on electric guitar solos, Paul Schaffer on piano, Leon Russell on organ, and Marty Stuart on mandolin. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 13, 2003, and in February 2008, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. He died of natural causes.
Bio by: William Bjornstad
Anne Louise Certain Scruggs
Louise Scruggs, a pioneering businesswoman in Nashville and wife of Country Music Hall of Fame member Earl Scruggs, died Thursday afternoon (Feb. 2) at Nashville’s Baptist Hospital following a lengthy illness. She was 78.
Mrs. Scruggs, who guided her husband’s career for more than a half century, was the first female to become an artist booking agent in Nashville. Born Ann Louise Certain, she grew up near Lebanon, Tenn. While attending the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1946, she first saw Scruggs and heard his groundbreaking style of three-fingered banjo playing while he was working with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. The couple married in 1948 — the same year Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt left Monroe’s band in 1948 to form their own group, the Foggy Mountain Boys.
In 1956, Mrs. Scruggs became one of Nashville’s pioneer female executives when she began serving as Flatt & Scruggs’ business and booking manager. In addition to booking the band, she aggressively promoted the act within the folk music community and helped inspire the band’s series of concept albums, including Songs of the Famous Carter Family and Folk Songs of Our Land.
In her greatest career accomplishment, Mrs. Scruggs took Flatt & Scruggs — and bluegrass music — to a mainstream audience and managed to turn the musical duo into TV stars. In the earliest days of the folk music boom, Flatt & Scruggs toured with Joan Baez and performed at the Newport Folk Festival and other prestigious festivals. At a time when country acts seldom played in major venues in New York, they recorded a live album at Carnegie Hall. When Mrs. Scruggs began booking Flatt & Scruggs onto the college campus circuit in the 1950s and 1960s, she helped turn them into the equivalent of modern-day rock stars. They followed up the At Carnegie Hall album with another live album recorded at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University.
She also launched Flatt & Scruggs’ music into the worlds of television and movies, although she initially rejected overtures from Paul Henning, the creator of The Beverly Hillbillies. When Henning wanted to feature the duo’s music in the television series, she was concerned the show’s image would be bad for country music.
After flying to Nashville, Henning convinced her that association would not be detrimental to country music or Flatt & Scruggs’ career. With lyrics by Henning, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” was recorded as the show’s theme song. Flatt & Scruggs’ recording of the song became a No. 1 hit — and the series is still running in syndication today. Henning also cast Flatt & Scruggs as themselves in several episodes of the popular program.
Flatt & Scruggs’ profile was boosted again when actor-director Warren Beatty chose their 1949 recording of the banjo instrumental “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” for his 1967 film, Bonnie & Clyde.
Douglas Granville Odom
She met him in a drugstore and said to her girlfriends, “That’s the man I’m gonna marry.” And she was right, even though her friends laughed. Doug Odom had caught Louise’s eye.
Little did she know she was about to begin a journey that would lead her family to kitchens across the country. She and Doug and the children would run a one-pig-a-day meat grinding and mixing business from a converted chicken coop. While she sewed cloth bags stamped “Tennessee Pride,” Doug and the boys would grind and season the meat. And finally, into the back of the Chevy the sausage would go, to be sold by Doug to the grocers of downtown Nashville.
That was 1943.
“We worked hard, turning our aprons over for the second shift,” recalled Doug Odom Jr. in a 1993 interview. By that point, the chicken coop had become a large-scale sausage production facility outside Nashville, employing more than 500 people. And the company has continued to grow from there.
“Long before Doug started the business, he knew he was going to call it ‘Tennessee Pride,’” Doug said. “That’s because he took pride in what he did and he thought other people should be able to take pride in it, too.”
More than 70 years after Doug and Louise first built the Odom’s Tennessee Pride brand, the company still takes pride in producing real country sausage featuring Doug’s original secret recipe. This rich heritage and the brand’s commitment to family tradition and quality fresh food are still central to all that we do.
THE TENNESSEE PRIDE FARMBOY
The Tennessee Pride farmboy is a cultural icon in rural Tennessee—he has made appearances at the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville, and on countless television programs over the years. Though his public appearances are less frequent these days, the farmboy still holds a special place in the heart of folks who grew up with Odom’s Tennessee Pride on their families’ kitchen tables.
“I remember I was sitting at the kitchen table with a friend from school when Daddy came in and asked me to draw a picture for his new brand of sausage,” says Judy Wilkerson, daughter of Doug and Louise Odom, founders of Odom’s Tennessee Pride Sausage, Inc. “Daddy picked the pole-toting farmboy because he wanted something simple. He liked plain country ways, and it never occurred to him to think differently.”
For more than 70 years since that sunny Tennessee afternoon in the Odoms’ kitchen, the farmboy has continued to represent down-home simplicity that our families, friends, and consumers love.
Country Music Singer, Composer. Hank Snow was a Canadian who achieved country music notoriety far from the American area that developed and shaped this musical form. At the time of his death in Madison (Nashville suburb) at age 85, he was given major credit for transforming country music from a largely rural musical style to an internationally popular mode. Hank Snow had a huge following in Britain, Germany, Australia and the Far East. Born Clarence Eugene Snow in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, he would at age fourteen buy his first guitar for under ten dollars from a mail order catalog, self learn to play, then go on to a 45-year show business career while recording and selling over 70 million records. His songs “I’m Moving On” was number one for almost two years followed by “Don’t Hurt Anymore” for almost the same lengthy period. Other number one hits…”Golden Rocket” “The Rhumba Boogie” ” “I’ve Been Everywhere” and “Hello Love.” Other major hits included “Fool Such as I ” “Beggar into a King” and “Ninety Miles An Hour (Down a Dead End Street).” In all, he had more than 40 songs place in the country music Top Ten. He was already famous in the small country and western song market of Canada before venturing to the U.S. and a national tour in 1940. Hank appeared at two major events, the Wheeling Jamboree in West Virginia and the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. An Attempted Hollywood movie career was unsuccessful. The acquirement of a trained horse named Shawnee with appearances at arenas doing tricks, daredevil riding and singing did not help. Settling in Nashville, “The Capital of Country Music” in 1949, the city would not only become a springboard to fame and fortune, his naturalization in 1958 but his hometown until his death. He would initially struggle here even to the point of almost returning to Canada. An invitation to the Grand Ole Opry was the key. Snow would become a member and remain for fifty two years. However, in the latter part of the 60’s, aging would diminish his career and he would disappear from the charts and be basically gone as RCA dropped him from their list of performers after some 45 years and making over 140 albums. His health began to decline some three years before his death after developing respiratory problems. He was released from a Nashville hospital just two weeks before passing away at his Rainbow Ranch in Madison from heart failure. Funeral services were held at The Grand Ole Opry. His closed casket sat at the foot of the Opry stage, as performers took turns lauding the famous country singer including Marty Stuart. The audience mirrored the who’s who of country music including Garth Brooks and country veterans Little Jimmy Dickens and Kitty Wells. Some interesting facts about Hank Snow…His formal education was a sixth grade level but he became a gifted songwriter. His songs have been sung by hundreds of performers, including Ray Charles and the Rolling Stones. He was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The 1975 film “Nashville” about a self-obsessed country star portrayed by Henry Gibson was based on his life. His autobiography “The Hank Snow Story” was published in 1994. The establishment of The Hank Snow Country Music Centre in Liverpool, Nova Scotia in 1997 has made it Canada’s country music capital. Their goal is to maintain and preserve the history of Canadian country music and each year induct a deserving performer into its hall of fame. The Center is housed in Liverpool’s abandoned Railway Station where Hank sought shelter during his abusive childhood. It features not only personal memorabilia of Snow but also from various other Canadian country music stars. Hank endured an abusive childhood leading to his establishment of the “Hank Snow Foundation” which aids abused children around the world. In a bit of trivia…At age sixty one, his song “Hello Love” became a number one hit giving him the honor of being the oldest country performer to achieve this milestone.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield
Musician, Record Producer. He is best remembered as a pedal steel guitar studio musician and recording producer in Nashville, Tennessee from the 1960’s into the 1980s. He was born Roddis Franklin Drake in Augusta, Georgia, the son of a Pentecostal preacher. When he was 18 years old, he visited Nashville and became fascinated by the steel guitar sounds of musician Jerry Byrd. He returned home and built his own steel guitar and taught himself to play, and after a few years he became one of Atlanta, Georgia’s first steel guitar players. He formed his own band, “The Sons of the South” which included future country star musicians Joe South, Roger Miller, Doug Kershaw, Jerry Reed, and Jack Greene. In 1959 he moved to Nashville and started touring with Marty Robins, Don Gibson, and others, but soon gave it up to focus on becoming a studio musician and working at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry as a backup musician. In 1962 he formed Window Music Publishing and Tomake Music with Tommy Hill, Ralph Davis, Jerry Shook, Jack Drake, and Ralph Emory, to accommodate the flow of new Country music writers, signing Ed Bruce and Bill and Dottie West, whose song “Is This Me” became a Number 1 Country hit by recording artist Jim Reeves. In 1963 he signed a recording contract with Smash Records, recording several albums including “Forever,” from which his single by the same name reached Number 22 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1964, eventually selling over one million copies for which he received a Gold Disc Award. That same year he was voted “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Cashbox Magazine, “Fastest Climbing Instrumentalists” by Record World and “Instrumentalist of the Year” by the Country Music Association. His acclaim as a studio musician continued to grow as he recorded with Country artists Lyn Anderson, Marty Robbins, Charley Pride, The Louvin Brothers, Johnny Cash, Bobby Bare, Dolly Parton, Porter Wagoner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Reba McEntire, Charley Rich, Charlie Rich, and Tammy Wynette and well as Rock artists Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, and George Harrison. His innovative use of what would be called the talk box (or “talking music actuator”) added novel effects to the sound of his steel guitar during recording sessions, which earned him the nickname “King of the Talking Steel Guitar.” The device would later be used by Rock musicians Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, Jeff Beck, and Roger Troutman. In 1970 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Walkway of Stars and the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1987, as well as receiving Nashville Entertainment Association’s “Master Award.” He was president of the Pete Drake Music Group which included First Generation Records, Petewood Music, and his publishing companies Window Music and Tomake Music. In 1985 he developed emphysema brought on by many years of smoking and his health started to decline. He built a recording studio at his home in Brentwood, Tennessee to accommodate his illness. He died from emphysema in Nashville at the age of 55. He was posthumously inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990 Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2010.
Bio by: William Bjornstad
Country Entertainer. Known as “Jamup”, he was a widely known member of the “Jamup and Honey” comedy team on the Grand Ole Opry radio show.
Country and Bluegrass Musician. He is probably best known for composing the popular song “Gentle on My Mind” which was his first major hit, which became one of the most widely recorded country songs of all times and was recorded by hundreds of artists.