One of the most recognizable characters of Hee Haw and the Grand Ole Opry was Grandpa Jones. The Kentucky native’s real name was Louis Marshall Jones, but was well known as Grandpa Jones. He was a banjo player and loved to play old time country music and ballads.
After being discharged from the Army during World War II, Grandpa Jones would move to Nashville and begin playing on the Grand Ole Opry. He would marry Ramona Riggins in 1946. He would be famous for his songs, “Mountain Dew,” “Night Train to Memphis,” and “T is For Texas.” He wrote “Eight more Miles to Louisville,” which has become popular in bluegrass music.
Grandpa Jones would start appearing on Hee Haw, the popular television show that is still broadcasted in repeat on RFD-TV. One of the many skits he did including the “Hey Grandpa, what’s for supper?”
Grandpa Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.
In 1998, he suffered two strokes after performing a the Grand Ole Opry. He would pass away on February 19, 1998 in Hermitage, Tennessee, at the age of 84. He is buried in the Luton Memorial Methodist Church cemetery in Goodlettsville.
The Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society have received approval from the Kentucky Historical Society to place a historic marker to honor Grandpa Jones at his western Kentucky birthplace in the Niagara community in Henderson County. However, they are running short of their goal of $2500. At this point, they have raised $700.
You can help by donating to the cause. Donations can be sent to:
Henderson County Historical Society
PO BOX 303
Henderson, KY 42419
Be sure to check out this great tribute that The Tennessean newspaper did on Grandpa Jones in 2013, what would have been his 100th birthday.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.