Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash!

This video, in which Johnny talks about growing up in Dyess, aired on The Johnny Cash Show on Sept. 6, 1969.

johnny cash young

Johnny at age 10

Johnny was born 81 years ago today in Kingsland. The Cash family moved to Dyess in March 1935.  Johnny would remain in Dyess until July 1950, when he enlisted in the United States Air Force.

cash tommy and joanne

Johnny’s siblings Tommy and Joanne visit the Cash house during the restoration. Both have been involved in the project.

The Dyess Colony was established in 1934 as one of the nation’s first agricultural resettlement community under the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The federal government acquired 16,000 acres of land in Mississippi County and laid out the colony in a wagon-wheel design, with a town center at the hub and farmsteads for 500 colonists stretching out from the middle. The colony’s centerpiece was a large Greek-Revival Administration Building dedicated by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1936.

johnny cash june cotton

Johnny and June Cash in a cotton field near his boyhood home in the 1960s. Photo courtesy of the Cash Estate

The Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the restored Dyess Colony Administration Building are expected to open to the public this fall. The Cash home will be furnished as it appeared when the family lived there, while the Administration Building will include exhibits about the colony and the impact of Dyess on Cash and his music. The project is a joint effort between the City of Dyess and Arkansas State University. Other buildings will be restored or recreated in the future.

The video below is from a trip Johnny made to Dyess with his wife June and his sister Louise.

Posted in Arkansas Delta, Travel Arkansas
6 comments on “Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash!
  1. Robin says:

    Very nice tribute!
    Happy Birthday John!

  2. vicki bean says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post,Kim Williams

  3. Jimmy Williams says:

    Very good story. Very touching videos, brings back a lot of memories. Johnny Cash has always been one of my favorite artists.

  4. Jim Gaston says:

    Kim – Simply GREAT, I recall the first 78 record I purchased when I was a kit was Johnny Cash. One might say I was country before there was country music. Touching video and story for me. Thank you for taking me back in time. Jim

Inquiries are answered daily during normal business hours. Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Add a Comment


Related City

In May 1934, “Colonization Project No. 1” was established in southwestern Mississippi County and named for W. R. Dyess, Arkansas’s first Works Progress Administration head, who suggested the idea of giving tenant farmers the opportunity to purchase their own land. The colony was laid out in a wagon-...

Read More