Sunday, June 14, 2009


Those of you that read my blog all the time know that I like to write about famous Kentuckians. This lady is Kentucky's most well known country music artist, Loretta Lynn.

I plan to write about several of our songwriters and musicians in the future and if you want to hear the music of each person, it will be playing in the background while you read the post. If you don't want to hear the music, just scroll down to the bottom of the page and turn it off!

Loretta Lynn was born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky on April 14, 1935. She was the second of 8 children. That part of Kentucky is known for its coal mines and a lot of poverty.

Loretta married Oliver Vanetta Lynn at the ripe old age of 13 in 1948. Oliver's nickname was Doolittle or Mooney. Mooney was from his early career of running moonshine. Loretta had her first child at the age of fourteen and four by the age of seventeen. She was a grandmother at thirty two. They were married for almost 50 years and had 6 children all together, including a set of twins, Peggy and Patsy. Peggy was named for her mother and Patsy was named after the great Patsy Cline.

I am sure most of you have seen the movie, Coal Miners Daughter or read the book by the same name. If not, they are both worth your time.

Loretta has written over 160 songs, released 17 number one albums, and had 16 number one singles on the country charts. She was the first woman named, Entertainer of the Year, by the Country Music Association and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She ruled country music during the 60s and 70s.

Loretta and Doo bought the entire town of Hurricane Mills, Tennessee and their 1817 plantation home there is billed as the 7th largest attraction in Tennessee. She filmed her famous Crisco commercials from the kitchen of the big house.

The Lynns had a son, Jack Benny, that drowned in 1984.

Doo died in 1996 and Loretta moved to a smaller house behind the big one where she resides today. The big house is open for tours.

I heard Marie Osmond say once that she started out singing country music because Loretta was one of her idols.

A favorite saying is supposed to be, "Honey, life flies by so you have to make every day count!"

A few years back, I made a trip to Butcher Holler to see her childhood home. It was an experience!

Finding the place was like looking for a needle in a haystack. We went to Paintsville, Kentucky and began asking directions. Everyone knew where it was but there was no roadside signs or anything at this time. The first thing we finally found was a rock with an arrow pointing down a country road.

Finally, we came upon a country store that was run by her brother, Herman. He told us he would lead us up to the old house and it cost $5 per person to enter and look around.

We followed him up a gravel road to the house. His dog ran along beside his car all the way up the road. The house sits on top of a hill and was worth the $5 to have a look around. There was an old wishing well in the yard and a lot of the furniture, according to Herman, was the original furnishings during the time they grew up. He said the wood cooking stove was original, too. There was lots of family pictures and photos around the place and pictures of her after she got famous.

This lady has endured poverty to become a major star and is a staunch survivor today.

I am proud she is from my home state of Kentucky!


Betsy from Tennessee said...

Judy, We stayed in Hurricane Mills this past winter on our way back from Arkansas. We even ate at Loretta Lynn's Kitchen... NEAT!!!

Thanks for a great post.


Hi Judy, I'm so pleased you wrote about Lorretta because my favourite singer Daniel O Donnell just adores Lorretta, from an early age, some years she went to Kincasslagh in S. Ireland for his Belle of the Ball Festival and I have a video of the event.
I loved your written work also the photo.s

Take care.

Amber Star said...

I just love/loved Loretta's songs, because they made sense and they rang true. I guess I'll have to write about Willie Nelson now. He is one of ours, you know :)

Oh..."How Great Thou Art" is playing right now. It is my favorite hymn.

One Woman's Journey said...

Judy, you brought back memories.
Loretta Lynn and family lived behind our farm - that was 45 years ago. Two of her children went to the country grade school with my older children. It was when she was first starting out.
Enjoyed your post.

The Muse said...

So many in America do not know the depths of loneliness and poverty that have and still linger on our country's soil...

Ms Loretta has been a beacon to help so many~I can see why you chose to write about her!

Let's pray that her life can be a sample to many others!

Beth said...

Hi there, Judy. I've always admired Loretta Lynn and enjoyed her music. How cool that you got to tour her childhood home with her own brother! I really enjoyed the movie Coal Miner's Daughter. And I really enjoyed your post.

Thanks so much for your very kind words in your comment on my last post. It meant a lot to me---thank you.

Rachel said...

I have always admired Loretta and I'm proud she's from KY too! I have never been to Butcher Hollow. Kinda reminds me of the Rattlesnake Branch where we lived when I was a small child! (Owsley Co.)

grammyof13 said...

Thanks for this post. I have toured Hurrican Mills - though the time I did, they still lived in the big house so touring the grounds and seeing the waterfall was about it. I pass this place each time I go home to Tenn. It is between the I40 Interstate and Waverly. There RV camping places and lots of activities now. My odest Granddaughter can quote the movie - ver batim I think.

Have a good week.

Margaret Cloud said...

I am a country music fan and we were very poor and lived in Ohio. Loretta to me is Queen of country and I did see her life story played by Sissy Spacek, it was a good movie. We also saw the program narrated by Loretta of her home and town, she said her place is haunted. Thank you Judy for this fascinating post and for coming by, you have a great week.

Margie's Musings said...

Judy, that was very interesting. I had seen the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter". I thought it was very well done.

Grannyann said...

I had seen the movie Coal Miners Daughter and I love to hear Loretta sing. Thanks for sharing pictures and more information on her. Always learn something interesting from your blogs.

JunieRose2005 said...


I have always admired Loretta- her life story and her success!

We have seen the estate where she lived later- but not the house where she grew up!

I liked the movie 'Coal Miner's Daughter, too.


June Saville said...

Scratch the surface of anyone at all and we find an interesting person eh Judy?
June in Oz

D said...

I do so love Loretta. It was the only record we had when I was little (I'm not that old) but we were that poor.
My husband is from Ky. I should make him take me there next time we're Home. TN said...

I love Loretta Lynn. Country music is not the same today as it was "back then." I'm glad to hear music on your blog again.

patsy said...

I loved to hear her and conway sing.

Island Rambles Blog said...

I really enjoyed this post Judy and the music also...your photos are always wonderful and you always have an interesting blog to give us ....thanks for visiting my blog.

Lilly said...

That was really interesting Judy and I think its a great idea to feature musicians and others from your home state. She married at 13 and had 4 children by the time she was 17. Its hard to imagine. And the best bit is the stayed together. Its a wonderful and inpspirational story really. Thank you I eally enjoyed it and I will have to go find the film. I never ever saw it.

Jeannie said...

Hey thanks, Judy. I watched a movie about Loretta Lynn several years ago, but I didn't know most of this about her. I think she's great!

P.S. I'm very proud of my Kentucky ancestry. :D

Jeannie said...

Duh- it was Coal Miner's Daughter that I saw. (blush) :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

My folks were huge Loretta Lynn fans and I still am. What a great talent.

Terrific post. Thank you.

Missy said...

I would love to visit KY some day. I love reading the things you post about... and what an amazing woman. Thanks for the history lesson.