Friday, October 30, 2009

Porter Wagoner

Country Legend Porter Wagner Dies from Lung Cancer
Porter Wagner, king of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years, died at home Sunday after a battle with lung cancer.

Most knew Porter Wagner for the outrageous rhinestone suits and the pompadour hairdo he sported throughout the duration of a career that lasted more 50 years. Country fans also knew Wagner as a fixture at the Grand Ole Opry, as well as for a string of hit songs in the 1960s, and as the man who helped to start Dolly Parton’s illustrious career.

Like many country legends of yore, Wagner had faded into the background over the years but had recently celebrated a comeback winning over scores of new fans. In May, Wagner signed with ANTI-records, an eclectic Los Angeles label best known for alternative rock performers like Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and Neko Case. Wagoner's first album in many years, "Wagonmaster", was released in June and netted him some of the best reviews of his career. During this past summer, Wagner served as the opening act for the rock duo White Stripes at a sold-out show at New York's Madison Square Garden.

"The young people I met backstage, some of them were 20 years old. They wanted to get my autograph and tell me they really liked me," Porter said with tears in his eyes the day after the New York show. "If only they knew how that made me feel - like a new breath of fresh air."

Wagoner was born in West Plains, Mo., and became known as "The Thin Man From West Plains" because of his lanky frame. He recalled that he spent hours as a child pretending to be an Opry performer, using a tree stump as a stage.

Wagner started out on radio, then became a regular on "Ozark Jubilee," one of the first televised nationwide country music shows. Wagner’s career in the music business really took off when he signed with RCA Records in 1955, He subsequently joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1957, "the greatest place in the world to have a career in country music," he said in a 1997 interview. In addition to his appearances at the Opry, Wagner had his own syndicated TV show, "The Porter Wagoner Show," for 21 years, beginning in 1960. This show was one of the first syndicated shows to be based in Nashville and set the standards for others to follow.

"Some shows are mechanical, but ours was not polished and slick," he said in 1982.

In 1967, Wagner partnered with an up and coming 21 year old singer named Dolly Parton. Parton took Wagner’s advice and switched from writing story telling songs to love songs such as "I Will Always Love You", a song which was to become a pop standard. The pair worked together until 1974 when they decided to go their separate ways.

Among Wagner’s hits, many of which he wrote or co-wrote, were "Carroll County Accident", "Misery Loves Company", "Company's Comin'", "A Satisfied Mind", "Skid Row Joe", and "Green Green Grass of Home." In 2002, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Porter Wagoner Memorial Services Set
Flamboyant Country Music Hall of Famer Dies at Age 80
October 28, 2007; 
Porter WagonerFuneral services for the late Porter Wagoner will be Thursday (Nov. 1) at 11 Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House, with interment following at Woodlawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday (Oct. 31) from 2-8 p.m. at Woodlawn Funeral Home. Visitation and funeral are open to the public. Memorial contributions may be sent to Alive Hospice or the Opry Trust Fund.

Wagoner, a Grand Ole Opry institution and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died Sunday (Oct. 28) at 8:25 p.m. at Alive Hospice in Nashville.

Known as the Thin Man From West Plains, he was 80 and had been hospitalized since Oct. 15. An Opry spokesperson announced on Oct. 21 that Wagoner had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He was released to hospice care on Friday (Oct. 26).

An Opry star since 1957, the well-loved Wagoner had been the show's goodwill ambassador for many years and was photographed by fans millions of times as he clowned onstage in the flashy rhinestone suits that became one of his trademarks.

After suffering a near-fatal stomach aneurysm in 2006, he later recorded a new album, Wagonmaster, released earlier this year. He promoted the project by traveling to Hollywood in February to open a concert for Neko Case. In July, he opened the White Stripes' concert at New York's Madison Square Garden. Earlier this year, he celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of the Opry. He last played the Opry on Sept. 29.

Wagoner was twice divorced. His second marriage of 40 years to Ruth Williams produced his three children, Richard, Debra and Denise, who survive him.

Born in the Ozark Mountains region of southwestern Missouri on Aug. 12, 1927, Porter Wayne Wagoner moved to nearby West Plains, Mo., with his farming family. Biographer Steve Eng described Wagoner's first band, the Blue Ridge Boys, as "bluegrass," much in the style of his idol at the time, Bill Monroe. By 1950, still in his early 20s and more into the singing style of Hank Williams, Wagoner was cutting meat for a local butcher when he wangled a remote radio broadcast from the shop over radio station KWPM in West Plains.

The next year, he was hired away by the larger KWTO in Springfield, Mo., where entrepreneur Si Siman would soon launch the famous Ozark Jubilee. It proved to be the right place at the right time. In 1952, RCA Victor Records, scouting local talent, signed the young hopeful on little more than speculation. His early records sold poorly, but he learned his craft on grinding tours of the Springfield listening radius as leader of the Porter Wagoner Trio, which included guitarist "Speedy" Haworth and a high-harmony singer on the steel guitar who would stay with Wagoner for decades, Don Warden.

Even while Wagoner's own earliest records weren't selling, he had the good fortune to co-write a No. 2 hit for Carl Smith titled "Trademark" (1953). As an artist, Wagoner first dented the charts with a mountain ditty called "Company's Comin'" in late 1954, and the next year, he reached No. 1 with RCA's version of the great Red Hayes-Jack Rhodes ballad, "A Satisfied Mind." Having made the rounds of the Ozark Jubilee cast, the song was a hit at the same time for Jean Shepard on Capitol and Red Foley on Decca.

As rock 'n' roll pushed hard country to the fringes over the next few years, Wagoner's repertoire, if anything, moved into an even stronger country sound with his recordings of "Eat, Drink and Be Merry (Tomorrow You'll Cry)" (1955), "What Would You Do (If Jesus Came to Your House)" (1956), Bill Monroe's "Uncle Pen" (1956) and a soulful weeper written by Lee Emerson, "I Thought I Heard You Call My Name" (1957).

Wagoner learned the lesson of valuable TV exposure during those years as an early cast member of ABC's Ozark Jubilee (1955-56), but he left the show in 1956 and moved to Nashville, where he was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry cast the next year. At the Opry, he was stepping back into the radio era, albeit surrounded by bigger stars, and he was still playing all the tour dates he could get. But recalling the value of TV exposure, he jumped at the chance to host in 1960 one of the first ventures into syndicated country music television for the Chattanooga Medicine Company, makers of the popular laxatives and elixirs Cardui and Black Draught.

Hosting The Porter Wagoner Show was a tall, thin, close-cropped young man whose solemn seriousness contrasted markedly with his sometimes silly exuberance of later years, but his voice and demeanor made him the perfect salesman for the company's products. He was believable, popular and eager to showcase a cast that included his talented Wagon Masters band, rube comic Speck Rhodes (brother to the writer of "A Satisfied Mind") and Norma Jean, a female vocalist who also recorded for RCA. The program also presented a weekly parade of special guests who were among the biggest stars in country music. While later and shorter-lived syndicated shows by such better-known stars as Ernest Tubb and Flatt & Scruggs struggled to keep viewers, The Porter Wagoner Show eventually reached 3 million viewers via 100 local stations and stayed in production an incredible 21 years.

TV exposure again meant hit records for Wagoner, and his steady stream of 1960s hits reflect that serious, solemn, no-nonsense on-camera persona: "Misery Loves Company" (1962), "I've Enjoyed as Much of This as I Can Stand" (1962-1963), "Sorrow on the Rocks" (1964), "Green, Green Grass of Home" (1965) and "Skid Row Joe" (1965). His other hits included 1967's "The Cold Hard Facts of Life" (a Bill Anderson song about a cuckolded husband who turns mass murderer) and 1969's "The Carroll County Accident" (songwriter Bob Ferguson's CMA-award winning composition centering around the theme of infidelity and violent death, this time in a car wreck).

When Norma Jean left the TV show in 1967, Wagoner auditioned dozens of "girl singers" to replace her and finally picked a 20-year-old blonde bombshell from the hills of East Tennessee named Dolly Parton. Although Norma Jean's many fans gave her a hard time at first, Parton proved to be Wagoner's finest moment as a talent scout. Beneath Parton's obvious beauty lived a powerful singer-songwriter whose artistic stature grew with the passing years.

Parton also became a perfect duet partner for Wagoner. He got her on the Grand Ole Opry and RCA Records and, of course, featured her on his road shows. The years of their association (1967-1974) produced a stunning 14 Top 10 duet hits as Parton the solo artist matured and prospered under Wagoner's supervision. They parted acrimoniously in 1974, as Parton took Don Warden from the Wagon Masters to manage her career when she moved toward country-pop superstardom. Though he tried, Wagoner found no replacement for Parton, and his TV show, relocated to the friendly informality of outdoor Opryland theme park settings, lost its edge, intensity and eventually much of its audience. The program ended its 21-year run in 1981.

Wagoner's name stayed on the lips of country fans as the years passed but more for stunts like bringing soul star James Brown onto the Opry in March 1979, replacing his Wagon Masters with the all-female Right Combination band (inspired by the title of a 1971 duet hit with Parton) in the '80s. Ever the talented TV host, Wagoner and Bill Anderson shared interview chores on TNN's Opry Backstage in the '90s.

Like Roy Acuff before him, Wagoner settled into a Grand Ole Opry routine in which the fans came to him -- he no longer went to the fans. Saturday after Saturday, he posed for countless snapshots while flashing his rhinestone suits and famous smile, singing woefully truncated medleys of his great hits when he wasn't wisecracking. Wagoner was a favorite not only with fans, but with his fellow artists, who joined him on countless golf and fishing trips, hobbies at which he excelled.

It was ironic that his discovery, Dolly Parton, was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999, three years before Wagoner received the honor.

Porter Wagoner was married to a cousin of my grandma Grace Maxwell Brown. They had 3 children.

William Cullen Bryant Biography

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT was born at Cummington, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, November 3, 1794, and, after an unusually long and active literary life, he died in New York, June 12, 1878.

His father was Peter Bryant, a physician of considerable literary culture, and a person who had traveled quite extensively. The father took an unusual interest in the culture of his children, and he was amply rewarded for all his pains. There is an unauthenticated tradition that the first Bryant of whom there is any account in America, came over in the Mayflower. Mr. Stephen Bryant came over from England, and was settled at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1836. Stephen's son Ichabod was the father of Philip Bryant and Philip, of Peter, the father of William Cullen.

Bryant's mother was Miss Sarah Snell, of Mayflower stock, being a descendant of John Alden. Thus our poet has an honorable and cultured ancestry. Strict Puritanical discipline was the order of the day, hence the young poet's life did not fall in pleasant places, so far as recreations were concerned. While the children were held with a steady hand, their educational and moral interests were considered with conscientious earnestness.

For some time after his birth young Bryant was very frail, and the chances for living seemed decided against him. His head was of such enormous size as to cause his father much uneasiness. Dr. Bryant decided that the size of William's head must be reduced. He thought to accomplish the desired result by giving the babe a cold bath daily. Accordingly two of his students took the child each morning and plunged it, head and all, into a clear, cold spring that bubbled from the ground near the house. Whether the size of the head was reduced or not, we are unable to tell, but the world of popular literature has ample cause to rejoice over the massive size of Bryant's head and heart and mind. In 1810, at the age of sixteen, he entered Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he studied for two years. He soon distinguished himself for his attainments in language and polite literature. In 1812 he withdrew from college and entered upon the study of law. After three years of preparation he was admitted to the bar in 1815. He practiced first at Plainfield, and afterward at Great Barrington. Bryant attained high standing in the local and state courts, but his tastes inclined him rather to literature than the law.

Bryant's literary record commenced when he was only ten years of age, and even before that age he communicated lines to the local papers. "With a precocity rivaling that of Cowley or Chatterton, Bryant, at the age of thirteen, wrote a satirical poem on the Jeffersonian party, which he published in 1808, under the title of "." By referring to history, you will notice that the English orders in council had been issued in retaliation for the decrees of Napoleon. The above action of foreign powers led Jefferson to lay an embargo on American shipping. This formed the subject of Bryant's satire, "The Embargo." This poem and "The Spanish Revolution" were published in 1808, and passed to a second edition in the succeeding year. The age of the author was called in question, and his friends came forward with proofs that the lad was only thirteen when he wrote the satire. "The Genius of Columbia" was written in 1810, and "An Ode for the Fourth of July," in 1812. When he was only eighteen years of age he wrote the imperishable poem, "Thanatopsis."

In the "Bryant Homestead Book," of 1870, is written the following: "It was here at Cammington, while wandering in the primeval forests, over the floor of which were scattered the gigantic trunks of fallen trees, moldering for long years, and suggesting an indefinitely remote antiquity, and where silent rivulets crept along through the carpet of leaves, the spoil of thousands of summers, that the poem entitled 'Thanatopsis' was composed. The young poet had read the poems of Kirke White, which, edited by Southey, were published about that time, and a small volume of Southey's miscellaneous poems; and some lines of those authors had kindled his imagination, which, going forth over the face of the inhabitants of the globe, sought to bring under one broad and comprehensive view the destinies of the human race in the present life, and the perpetual rising and passing away of generation after generation who are nourished by the fruits of its soil, and find a resting-place in its bosom." When the poem was sent to the "North American Review," Richard H. Dana was so surprised at its excellence that he doubted whether it was the product of an American. Bryant also contributed several prose articles to the "Review." While in the practice of his profession he wrote some of his finest poems. Of these we will name lines "To a Waterfowl," "Green River," "A Winter Piece," "The West Wind," "The Burial-Place," "Blessed are they that Mourn," "No Man Knoweth his Sepulchre," "A Walk at Sunset," and "The Hymn to Death." While Bryant was writing "The Hymn to Death," his father was dying at the age of fifty-four. In the same year he married Miss Frances Fairchild, and also published his first collection of verse. In 1821 Bryant wrote "The Ages'" and delivered it before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard College. At that time our poet was recognized as a writer of great merit. From that time till he left his profession and took up his pen for a support, he wrote about thirty poems. We here name some of them: "The Indian Girl's Lament," "An Indian Story," "Monument Mountain," "The Massacre at Scio," "Song of the Stars," "March," "The Rivulet," "After a Tempest," "Hymn to the North Star," "A Forest Hymn," and "June." We pause here to quote Bryant's wish that he might die

"in flowery June
When brooks send up a cheerful tune,
And groves a joyous sound;"

and to remark that in that beautiful month he passed to his rest.

This brings our poet to 1825, when, through the efforts of Mr. Sedgwick and Mr. Verplanck, he was appointed assistant editor of the "New York Review" and "Atheneum Magazine." Bidding adieu to courts and law books, he became a follower of Apollo. In 1825 Bryant removed to New York to enter upon his new duties. The "Review" did not prosper, and in one year it was merged into the "New York Literary Gazette." In a few months the magazine was consolidated with the "United States Literary Gazette," which in turn passed into the "United States Review." These publications were not profitable, although they contained the writings of such men as Bryant, Halleck, Willis, Dan a, Bancroft and Longfellow. Our poet next connected himself with the "Evening Post," and remained with that journal till his death. Between 1827 and 1830 he assisted in the editorial management of the "Talisman," a very successful annual, and also contributed the tales of "Medfield," and "The Skeleton's Cave" to a book entitled "Tales of the Glauber Spa." A complete edition of his poems was published in New York in 1832, and in England about the same time. The English edition was brought out through the influence of Washington Irving, who wrote a laudatory preface. John Wilson praised the work in an article in "Blackwood's Magazine" This volume established Bryant's reputation abroad, and made him almost as popular in England as in America.

In 1834, the poet, rich in fame, sailed for Europe. He traveled through France, Italy, and Germany. Returning to his native land, he spent several years in literary work, when in 1845 he again crossed the ocean. In 1849 he made his third journey abroad, and extended his travels into Egypt and Syria. He also traveled extensively over the various parts of the United States and Cuba. The letters written by him in his wanderings were collected into book form, and entitled "Letters of a Traveler." In 1857 and 1858 he again visited Europe, and, as the result of this journey, soon appeared "Letters from Spain and other Countries." A new and complete edition of his poems was printed in 1855; and in 1863 appeared a volume of new poems entitled "Thirty Poems." In 1870 appeared his translation of the "Iliad," and in 1871 of the "Odyssey." These great epics were translated into English blank verse, which were considered the best English version in print. In 1876 Bryant and Sydney Howard Gay commenced a "History of the United States," but the work was not complete when the poet died. The book was to extend through four finely illustrated volumes.

Bryant was frequently called upon to pay public tributes to the memory of Americans. On the death of the artist, Thomas Cole, in 1848, he pronounced a funeral oration; in 1852 he delivered a lecture upon the life and writings of James Fenimore Cooper; and in 1860 he paid a similar tribute to his friend Washington Irving; he made an address on the life and achievements of S. F. B. Morse, on the occasion of the dedication of his statue in Central Park, New York, in 1871; addresses on Shakespeare and Scott on similar occasions in 1872; and one on Mazzini in 1878; on his return from which, a fall resulted in his death."

Bryant's prose writings are marked by pure and vigorous English, and he stands in the front rank as a poet. We quote from Professor Wilson's review of the poet's first volume, published in England: "The chief charm of Bryant's genius consists in a tender pensiveness, a moral melancholy, breathing over all his contemplations, dreams, and reveries, even such as in the main are glad, and giving assurance of a pure spirit, benevolent to all living creatures, and habitually pious in the felt omnipresence of the Creator. His poetry overflows with natural religion--with what Wordsworth calls the religion of the woods. This is strictly applicable to `Thanatopsis' and `Forest Hymn;' but Washington Irving is so far right that Bryant's grand merit is his nationality and his power of painting the American landscape, especially in its wild, solitary and magnificent forms. His diction is pure and lucid, with scarcely a flaw, and he is master of blank verse."

We cannot close this sketch better than by showing the poet's devotion to his country in his own words: "We are not without the hope that those who read what we have written, will see in the past, with all its vicissitudes, the promise of a prosperous and honorable future, of concord at home, and peace and respect abroad; and that the same cheerful piety which leads the good man to put his personal trust in a kind Providence, will prompt the good citizen to cherish an equal confidence in regard to the destiny reserved for our beloved country."

William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant was a young lawyer when his poem "Thanatopsis" first appeared in the North American Review in 1817. Inspired by the romantic lyrics of William Wordsworth, Bryant found his subject in the American landscape, especially that of New England. By 1825, critics on both sides of the Atlantic called him the finest poet in the United States. But reputation alone could not support his family, and in 1826 Bryant joined the New York Evening Post. By 1840, Bryant had largely abandoned poetry to become one of the country's leading advocates for abolition. From 1856 on, the Evening Post was a Republican paper, supporting the arming of abolitionist settlers in Kansas, deriding the Dred Scott decision, and celebrating John Brown as a martyr. In 1860, Bryant introduced Abraham Lincoln before the audience at Cooper Union in New York. Later, Bryant and the Evening Post influenced Lincoln's decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Brady photographed the powerful editor in New York around 1860.

Imperial salted-paper print, ca. 1860
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
on deposit from Harvard College Library, bequest of Evert Jansen Wendell

William Cullen Bryants house

William Cullen Bryant Homestead
Off Route 112
Cummington, MA
Open last Friday in June through Labor Day for guided tours, Friday - Sunday and Monday Holidays, 1 pm - 5pm. After Labor Day through Columbus Day, open weekends and holidays. Admission fee for non members.

William Cullen Bryant, lines from whose "Thanatopsis" lend the title to this essay, started writing poetry in his teens and at length became regarded as one of America’s most important poets throughout the mid-1800s. A Williams College educated lawyer and journalist, he is also one of the founders of the Republican Party. The WCB Homestead, on 465 acres in the Hampshire Hills, was originally a one-and-one-half story Dutch Colonial built in 1783 by Bryant’s grandfather. The poet eventually moved back and bought the property and as he grew more prosperous, eventually becoming editor of The New York Evening Post, he set about ambitiously constructing, transforming the once humble farm, adding wings on either side, and eventually raising the whole house, adding a new lower floor and constructing 26 rooms. The entrance to the site is framed by sugar maples planted by the young poet and his brothers. The 18-year old "Cullen," as he was known, wrote "Thanatopsis," a favorite American "moral" poem here, along with some of his most renowned work. The house is decorated and furnished precisely as it was during the poet’s life. The Homestead remains a distinct source of inspiration for poets of today.

WCB was the great uncle of Mary Alice Bryant Higdon McMican, Mary was my grandma Grace Maxwell Brown's grandmother.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rob & Bob on a hayride....

stole this from cousin Robin & her husband Bobby.

Indian Outrages

Lisa sent me this picture, she received it from Donnie Maxwell. Robert Maxwell & the two unfortunate little girls are in our family tree.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Steven Honn

Steven Honn is on Facebook....and I have been spelling his last name wrong all these years. some aunt I am!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Steven Honn has a baby!

his grandmother Dixie said the baby's name is Troy Jay Honn, after Steven's late father.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Koren & Cody Wills Wedding Reception

held Saturday, October 17, 2009 at the Mercer Community Building in Mercer, MO.
Auntie B's Bakery (B.J. Passmore)supplied the cake, which looked like it came straight off Amazing Wedding Cakes, & K.E. Photography (Kris Eastin) was our photographer.
family attending:
Bernard & Janet Axsom
Grace Brown
Lisa, Tom, Max, & Logan Butler
Mary Johnson
Kevin, Deb, KJ, & Katie Dailey
Marie Dailey Hass
Lije Dailey & Jo
Dixie Dailey
B.J. Heaton
Linda Shroyer
Donna & Bob Hashman
Jean Gray
Deanna & Frank Schreffler
Ed & Norma Mai
Sammi & Jeb
Ryan & Nikki
Tyson Donelson

(when I see Kris's pictures, I'll probably realize I left someone out...)
we did family pictures, Koren made a meat & cheese tray, Koren & Cody supplied the Bud Light, Norma & Ed the pop, & we brought water, bread, rolls, chips, nuts, & mints.
Everyone seemed to have fun.
K.J. took his senior fundraiser form & almost sold enough to make his quota!
it was an amazing evening...& I didn't even cry.
we partied with the next generation far into the nite...I took the kids home & Went back...finally got Kevin to leave....and the kids cleaned up this morning all by themselves! (while I was taking a nap.)
Koren is such a good girl!