Famous Arkansan: Luther Presley

Several well-known people have roots in Arkansas. The list runs the gamut from Johnny Cash to Jermain Taylor. Check here every week as we highlight a new Famous Arkansan each week. Today, Meet Luther Presley


Luther G. Presley was born in 1887 on Beckett Mountain in Faulkner County, five miles west of
Rose Bud. Presley was raised in White County and is best known for writing the memorable lyrics to When the Saints Go Marching In.
Virgil O. Stamps composed the famous melody in Dallas
one day in 1937 and Presley penned the immortal words at his rural Arkansas
home in White County. Neither one had the slightest notion their rousing tune
would become a Dixieland standard and over 70 years later the theme song of the
New Orleans Saints football team.
A 1944 Arkansas Democrat newspaper article described him as the state’s most prolific
songwriter. He composed the music or wrote the lyrics to hundreds of gospel
songs, 1,500 or more  according to
the article. According to Presley’s son, his father also edited the gospel hit The Great Speckled Bird, made famous by Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry. Presley passed away in 1974 and
is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery at Rose Bud, near Beckett Mountain where he
was born.

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