Famous Faces Past and Present of Sumner County, Tennessee
Sumner County, a beautiful and historically rich area, is located just a few minutes from Nashville, the exciting and vibrant hub of Tennessee. Sumner County has had the honor of hosting some of the most iconic and beloved celebrities of the past and present. These famous faces have made their mark in the world of music, television, and film, and have chosen Sumner County as their home away from home. From legendary music icons like Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash to legendary country music singer Conway Twitty, Sumner County has been the epicenter for the creation of music of the ages. This county has been the source of inspiration for countless artists and musicians, offering a serene and peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of busy city life. Come and explore Sumner County, and the rich and diverse culture that has influenced and been influenced by so many great people.
Johnny and June Carter Cash
One interesting anecdote about Johnny and June Carter Cash’s connection to Sumner County relates to their home. Though they became highly successful and widely recognized as country music legends in Nashville, the couple remained dedicated to their roots in the Sumner County community. This connection is reflected in their decision to make their home in Sumner County, where they could enjoy a sense of peace and quiet in the midst of their incredibly busy lives. They greatly appreciated the warm and welcoming atmosphere of Sumner County, and spent many happy years there. It is clear that Johnny and June had a deep love and respect for their hometown, and they will always be remembered as beloved members of the Sumner County community. Their contributions to the region cannot be overstated, and their legacy continues to inspire others to this day. The Cash couple was laid to rest together at Hendersonville Memory Gardens.
Taylor Swift, the renowned singer, who has a following of millions of fans across the globe, hails from Hendersonville, Tennessee. Her journey to fame began when she was just a young girl, and her family decided to move closer to Nashville, the hub of country music. With the perfect blend of talent, hard work, and perseverance, Taylor made a name for herself in the music industry and scaled unimaginable heights of success. Her journey is a true inspiration to many aspiring artists across the world. She attended Hendersonville High School, and she has given back to the community on many occasions. Taylor’s songs have touched the hearts and souls of millions of people worldwide, and some of her more popular heartbreak songs are dedicated to a few locals of Hendersonville.
Roy Orbison, the legendary singer-songwriter known for his hit song “Oh, Pretty Woman,” made Hendersonville his home in the 1960s. His abode was strategically located near Old Hickory Lake and adjacent to Johnny Cash’s house. The picturesque landscape proved to be a source of inspiration for the musician. However, tragedy struck in 1966 when Orbison and his first wife, Claudette, were involved in a motorcycle accident in Gallatin, and Claudette lost her life. Devastatingly, two years later, while the singer was on a tour in England, his home was ravaged by a fire that claimed the lives of his two sons, Roy Jr. and Anthony. His youngest son, Wesley, was fortunately rescued by his grandparents. Undeterred, Orbison rebuilt his damaged abode in Hendersonville with his second wife, Barbara, where they lived together until the singer’s untimely death in 1988, at the age of 52. Orbison’s resting place is in Los Angeles, California, where his musical legacy lives on.
Conway Twitty opened his estate, Twitty City, in Hendersonville in 1982, much to the excitement of locals and visitors. Although he also lived in Twitty City, the “Hello Darlin’” singer welcomed guests and performed shows in the theater on his property. Twitty generously donated to various organizations in Sumner County throughout his time in Hendersonville until his death in 1993. Today his property is owned by TBN and the variety show Huckabee is hosted there weekly. A road running through Drakes Creek Park in Hendersonville was renamed Conway Twitty Lane in 2020. Twitty was laid to rest in Gallatin under his given name, Harold Jenkins.
Marty Stuart and Connie Smith
Marty Stuart and Connie Smith have established themselves as legends in country music with their successful careers as singer/songwriters. Their exceptional talent and dedication to their craft eventually led them to the bright lights of Music City, where they stood out among the many accomplished artists in the genre. Over the years, Stuart and Smith have forged strong connections with numerous country superstars, and their influence and impact on the industry cannot be overstated. It is worth noting that Stuart had the privilege of being a close friend and neighbor to the late Johnny Cash, who was a musical icon in his own right. Beyond his musical talent, Stuart is also a gifted photographer whose incredible works were prominently displayed at the Hendersonville’s Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center in 2018, a feat that was positively received by many.
If you’re a fan of bluegrass, you must have heard of Ricky Skaggs! The renowned musician, singer/songwriter, producer, and composer is a resident of Hendersonville and has made a name for himself in the industry. Skaggs started off his career with the late Keith Whitley, who was a local to the area. Over the years, he has performed with his band Kentucky Thunder, mesmerizing fans all over the world with his exceptional talent and electrifying performances. Skaggs’ contributions to the field of bluegrass have been recognized on multiple occasions. In 2018, he was rightfully inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and he headlined the Hendersonville Hometown Jam in 2019. Besides music, Skaggs is also an advocate for various philanthropic causes, working with organizations that focus on education and aiding the less fortunate. As a resident of Hendersonville, Skaggs brings pride and joy to the community.
It’s no secret that Thomas Rhett comes from a family of musicians. In fact, his dad Rhett Akins was also a country singer and songwriter. As a young boy, Thomas moved with his family to Hendersonville, which was conveniently located near Nashville. This allowed Thomas to immerse himself further into the music scene and grow his passion for the genre. Growing up, he was raised on Center Point Road, a road that ran through the heart of Hendersonville. His 2019 album “Center Point Road” was a reflection of his memories and experiences growing up in Hendersonville. By showcasing his roots and hometown pride, Thomas Rhett has become a beloved figure in the country music industry.
Jean Shepard was a talented musician who spent many decades residing in Hendersonville. She first rose to prominence when her hit duet with Ferlin Husky entitled “Dear John” rocketed to success on the music charts. Shepard’s personal life was marked by tragedy, as she was first married to Hank Shaw Hawkins, who unfortunately passed away in a plane crash in 1968. She later remarried Benny Birchfield, who served as Roy Orbison’s tour bus driver and a former band member. In 2016, Shepard passed away and was laid to rest at Hendersonville Memory Gardens, where her magnificent purple marker pays homage to the vibrant life she led. At the time of her death, Shepard became the first woman to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry for an unprecedented 60 consecutive years, a testament to her enduring legacy and impact on country music.
Mother Maybelle Carter & the Carter Sisters
The renowned Mother Maybelle Carter, along with her talented daughters June, Helen, and Anita, are widely recognized as the pioneering figures of country music. Their incredible journey and legacy have inspired countless artists all around the world, and their contributions to the genre are invaluable. Their sheer talent and dedication to their craft elevated them to the status of music legends, with Mother Maybelle’s unique abilities shining through on numerous occasions. They frequently traversed the country, providing audiences with mesmerizing performances and unforgettable shows, with their popularity soaring ever higher. It was during their time in Hendersonville that the family planted its roots and came to be remembered as an integral part of the town’s history. Thus, the memory of Mother Maybelle, her husband, and daughters June, Helen, and Anita continue to live on at the Hendersonville Memory Gardens where they are laid to rest.