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MERLE HAGGARD'S NEWTON COUNTY ROOTS

Kinfolks
by Evelyn Flood

Like all kinds of music from waltzes to tangos
One of my favorite songs is Clare deLune.
"Blue Spanish Eyes" is another favorite of mine
Can't stand Jazz and Hard Rock.
Believe I love Country and Western Music the best.
Especially like to listen to Merle Haggard sing.
What a fabulous song writer and musician.
Country and Western Music tells stories about lost loves, loves gone
wrong, and just about every other human emotion known to man.

Have many favorite singers and really like to listen to
George Strait, Lorrie Morgan, Eddie Arnold, Marty Robbins,
David Ball,Ronnie Millsap,Anne Murray, Merle Haggard and
Willie Nelson and many more

Started loving the songs of the Sons of the Pioneers
way back in the 1940s.
Used to keep papers lying by the radio so I could rush to
grab them and write down the words to songs as they were sung
on the radio.
During World War II, probably knew the words to over
300 songs, both popular and western music.
Two of my brothers were in World War II and I
memorized many songs of that era also.

One day while listening to Sons of the Pioneers on the radio,
one of my brothers turned to another station.
I hollered at him to leave the station on as it was the Sons of
the Pioneers.
His reply was, "I don't care if they are the daughters of the
American Revolution," which stirred up my music loving blood quite
a bit.
He did not care for that kind of music, but I did.
(are you listening,dear brother George?)

Loved any thing that had to do with cowboys and the West.
At one time wanted to be a trick-rider in the rodeo circuit.
Being born in Wyoming, I had the Old West in my blood.
My Dad used to catch wild horses and furnish the Cheyenne Frontier
Days with horses.
Loved horses greatly and also love dogs.

Started taking shorthand in high school then and after learning quite
a bit of shorthand, was able to grab my sheets of paper and could
copy the songs a lot faster and kept them in alpha order according
to the names of the songs.
As a result, collected many notebooks of Western and Folk Songs from
the 1940s.

Well, this all leads to my love of the music of Merle Haggard.
Merle really did not get started in the music business until close
to the 1960s.
Two of his songs are among my favorites:
"Silver Wings" and "If We Make It Through December".

Did you know his ancestors lived in Newton County, Arkansas??
Just finished reading Merle Haggard's "My House of Memories,
For the Record" with Tom Carter.
This book picks up where his 1982 autobiography "Sing Me Back Home" left off.
He recalls the painful memory of the death of his mother who
had written her life story in longhand just before she died and
before he started writing his second book.

My records show that Merle's mother was FLOSSIE M HARP, daughter
of JOHN BOHANNON HARP and MARTHA FRANCES ARIZONA "ZONA" BELL VILLINES

Flossie was born on 11 August 1902 in Newton County, Arkansas at Beechwood.

John Bohannan Harp and "Zona" Bell Villines Harp

FLOSSIE HARP married:
(1) Owen Ray Scott and
(2) James F Haggard on 16 November 1919 at Checotah, Oklahoma.
Merle's song "Grandma Harp" was written in 1972 about his
Grandma "Zona" Villines Harp.

John Bohannon and Arizona Villines Harp were married on 14 July 1901
right here in Newton County, Arkansas.

Other children born to John and Zona Villines Harp were:
OLIS WILLIAM HARP, born 16 August 1904. He married MATTIE PAGE.
Olis died in July 1981 in Lamont, Kern County, California.

FLORA AGNES HARP , born 28 December 1908 in Oklahoma.
Flora married GEORGE WILLIAM NEWTON.

ARDELA "DELIA" HARP, born in Oklahoma (no date on her).
She married JOHN RICHARDSON.

ZONA VILLINES HARP was the daughter of HOSEA VILLINES(1854-1916)
and HARRIETT PATTY (1849-1926).

JOHN BOHANNON HARP was the son of WILLIAM T HARP and MARTHA CHAFFIN.
and the grandson of ELIJAH BOHANNON HARP(born 1824) and MARTHA TATE
(born 1826) who came to Newton County, Arkansas in 1844.
Elijah Harp died in 1864. Martha Tate Harp died in 1895 and both are
buried in Shaddox Cemetery in Newton County.

WILLIAM T and MARTHA CHAFFIN HARP went to California. William T
died in 1945 and is buried at Modesto, Stanislaus County, California

ELIJAH BOHANNON HARP was the son of SOLOMON HARP and SARAH BOHANNON.
SOLOMON HARP was the son of SAMPSON B HARP and SARAH TUDOR.

Have many HARP family group sheets.
Read my "James C Harp" Kinfolks Story on this website.

Many Harp families migrated to California.
On the 1890 Great Register of Stanislaus County, California, found
James David Harp at Ceres. Thomas David Harp at Ceres. William B
Harp at Waterford. William Bohannon Harp, age 69, born Tennessee,
is listed as Dead and lived in East Modesto, California. A total
of 11 Harps are listed on this 1890 list.
They seemed to be from the SAMPSON and DEBORAH GRACE HARP families.

In his book, Merle goes on to tell of his mother
Flossie's 1906 covered-wagon journey at age four from Arkansas
to Oklahoma and how she had to live underground in an earthen
dugout.
He had never known of his mother's life in the Southwest
and the fears and hardships she faced.
Merle chose the name of his book "My House of Memories" because
it was his mother's favorite song that he had written or sung.

Merle was born 6 April 1937 at Kern General Hospital in Bakersfield,
California.
In his book he goes on to tell of his family living in a converted
railroad boxcar, and the innocence of the 1950s.
He talks about his father James F. Haggard's death when Merle was
only 9 years old.
Merle also tells of his childish disobedience which soon erupted
into full-blown delinquency.
Merle has lots of remembrances in this book.
It is a very good book for you Merle Haggard fans.

On New Year's Eve 1999, I was alone at home and quite by accident
turned the Television channels and found that Merle Haggard was
playing a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Enjoyed New Year's Eve listening to some really great music.
Connie Smith, Bonnie Owens and Merle's wife Theresa Haggard
were singing backup.

After all, Merle Haggard is really a Kinfolk whose roots go back to
Newton County, Arkansas.

Evelyn Flood
Rkinfolks@aol.com
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