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OBITS of Chester Co, TN
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      Richard Edward "Eddy" ARNOLD was born May 15 1918 in Chester County, TN in the family home on the Jackson-Jacks Creek (TN) Road, name later changed to the Needmore Road (the house was torn down after Eddie died).   He was the youngest of 16 children from the family of Will C. and Georgia Wright Ingle Arnold that contained 1/2 siblings.   Eddie went to County Line school, (near Madison Co line), a one room community school that had a curtain in the middle to divide it for 2 teachers. Eddy went here for grades 1 thru 8 and then he went to high school in Pinson TN for one year and at age 16 did not go back for his Sophomore year.
      His father played the fiddle and His mother taught him to play the guitar and early on he was singing. He started out singing and performing at events near his home, local dances, etc. (When Joyce L JONES PRUITT was a young girl Eddy was at a function playing from the bed of a truck. A man told Joyce that he would give her a nickel if she would get up on the truck bed and sing with him. she did and she spent her nickel on a ice cream cone. She was one happy kid with the ice cream cone.)   Eddy's father died when Eddy was 11 years old and several months later creditors foreclosed on the family farm, forcing the family to become sharecroppers on their farm.   During the early 1930's Eddy could be seen most Saturdays on the overhead bridge (Main Street) in Henderson playing his guitar and telling people that he would some day be famous.
      Music was Eddy's way out of poverty. He went to work to help buy farm equipment for the family.   He quit working on the farm full time, secured a part time job with a funeral home and at age 16 started performing on radio station WTJS-AM in Jackson TN with Uncle Tom Williams on "The Hayloft Frolic", later to WMPS-AM in Memphis and then KWK-AM in St Louis.   He started singing with fiddler Speedy McNatt and in 1939, they joined Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys on WSM and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.   (Pee Wee King is known as an entertainer and the co-writer of "Tennessee Waltz")   In 1940 Eddie was single, a lodger and a musician in the Nashville, Davidson County TN Census.   During his time with the Golden West Cowboys, the group performed for about a year on WHAS-AM, Louisville KY. During their time performing in Kentucky Eddy met Sally Gayhart and they began courting and were married on November 28, 1941 in Davidson Co, TN - Sallie was 21 and Eddie was 23 - Pewee King was Surety on the license. Shortly there after, he left with the Golden West Cowboys on a Camel Caravan tour,(sponsored by Camel cigarettes) performing on military bases all over the United States and in Latin America. That tour lasted from November, 1941 until December 1942.   When the Pee Wee King group returned to Nashville, Eddy Arnold embarked on a solo career.
      WSM General Manager Harry Stone hired him for a variety of musical jobs and made him a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1943.   In December, 1944, Eddy Arnold made his first recordings for Victor Records at the WSM Studios - the first recording session by a major label in Nashville.   On the Opry he was the Host for the Ralston Purina segment.   In 1945 he joined forces with Colonel Tom Parker (later of Elvis Presley fame.). Colonel Parker was Eddie's manager for the next eight years.   During that time Eddy Arnold had a string of hit records. He recorded over 400 songs and some were, "I'll Hold You In My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms)", "Anytime", "Bouquet of Roses", "Texarkana Baby", "Just a Little Lovin' (Will Go a Long, Long Way)", "A Heart Full of Love (For a Handful of Kisses)", "Don't Rob Another Man's Castle", "I'm Throwing Rice (At the Girl That I Love)", "Take Me In Your Arms and Hold Me", "Kentucky Waltz", "I Wanna Play House With You", and "I Really Don't Want To Know", became number one hits.   Other hits included, "Gonna Find Me A Bluebird", "I'll Hold You in My Heart", "Anytime" and "What's He Doing In My World".     During the period 1947-1948, Eddy Arnold had a number one song on the country charts for 60 straight weeks. In 1948 he sold more records than the entire pop division of RCA Victor - a feat that no other country artist has since done. 37 of his hits crossed over to the pop charts.   During his early peak years, 1945 - 1954 he had 57 consecutive singles that made the charts.   Also during this period Sally and Eddy Arnold started their family. In December 1945 their daughter, JoAnn was born and in January 1949 their son, Richard Edward Arnold, Jr was born.
      He left the Grand Old Opry in 1948 so that he might reach a larger audience.   (George Morgan replaced him on the Opry.)   When he left Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys and formed his own band (The Tennessee Plowboys). 16 year old Little Roy Wiggins was the band member hired to play steel guitar. Little Roy Wiggins is heard on most of Eddy's early records. He dropped Little Roy from the band when he left the Opry.   During the 1950s Eddy Arnold became the first country artist to host a network prime time show when he became the summer replacement for "The Perry Como Show". He hosted a network radio show, "The Checkerboard Jamboree" for CBS and starred in two movies, "Feudin' Rhythm" and "Hoedown". In October 1950 HOEDOWN featuring Eddy Arnold, the Tennessee Plowboy was being shown in movie theaters.   He became a major concert draw during the late 1940's and in 1952 "The Eddy Arnold Show" was a summer replacement show for Dinah Shore on CBS. He was on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. He hosted the TV show, "the Kraft Music Hall and filled in for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.     His theme song and most poplar was "Cattle Call" and he recorded it four different times in his early years. His 1955 version with the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra was a number one record - he had crossed over into Pop. He co-wrote the country and pop song, "You Don't Know me".   Ray Charles made "You Don't Know me" his standard.
      In 1951 he bought a farm in Brentwood Tennessee and built a home, where he lived for the next 57 years. The late 1950s and early 1960s he worked with his last manager, Gerry Purcell and they teamed up in the mid 1960's to make Eddy Arnold a huge star again. He had his biggest hit "Make The World Go Away", a record that is now in The Grammy Hall of Fame. Eddie's mellow baritone vocals (He liked Bing Crosby and Gene Autrey.) on songs like the 1965 hit "Make the World Go Away," a top 10 pop hit as well as a No. 1 country hit, making him one of the most successful country singers in history.   In 1966 he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and in 1967 he became the first person to win the Entertainer of the Year honor from the Country Music Association. By this time he was performing in a tuxedo with symphonies in addition to concerts in large venues and was as much pop as country - he appealed to both audiences.   "I sing a little country, I sing a little pop and I sing a little folk, and it all goes together," he said in 1970.
      A TORNADO hit Chester County during the night of March 21 1952, killing people and causing major destruction.   On Sunday, March 23 1951 EDDY ARNOLD, offed his help in raising funds for the aid that was needed with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. The show was planned for Wednesday night, April 13 at Chester County High School, admission by donation. He brought with him, The Oklahoma Wranglers made up of Guy, Skeeter and Victor Willis and Chuck Wright; The Dickens Sisters, Nancy, Margie and Pattie known for their harmony; The comedy team of Jam-Up and Honey; Little Roy Wiggins and his steel guitar. The show raised $2608.52 for tornado victims. It was all "net" as Eddy Arnold defrayed all expenses for himself and his troupe. Eddy Arnold played to a standing room only crowd of more than 3000 in the gym.
      He said at one time he felt that if he did not have a record on the charts that his career was in trouble. But after the 1960s he discovered that his appeal to country fans did not require chart records; he was a popular concert draw including his final concert in 1999.   In 1999, Eddy Arnold performed his last concert in Nevada on his 81st birthday with members of his family and a host of friends in attendance. At the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000, Eddy Arnold's duet with LeAnn Rimes on "Cattle Call" was again on the country charts, which made him the only country artist to have chart records in seven different decades. Billboard Magazine considered him as their most All Time Poplar Country Artist with 147 songs on their charts and 28 #1's.   He was known as the "Tennessee Plowboy" from his youth of growing up on a farm in Chester County TN and plowing with a team of mules. The singers that backed him up were known as the Needmore Singers, named from the road that he grew up on.   Although he retired in 1999, he remained active in the music industry and in the community. He received the "Medal of the Arts" from President Bill Clinton and was awarded a "Lifetime Achievement Grammy". His 100th album, his last was recorded for BMG/RCA in 2005 and was released in 2006. Eddie recorded more than 400 songs - some in the famous Studio B, many of them multiple times with Cattle Call being recorded 7 or 8 times. He sold more than 85 million records.
      Eddy was an astute business person making many investments in Davidson and Williamson Co TN.   In 1977 he introduced his line of "Eddy Arnold Country Style Beans". He was a multimillionaire, but he never discussed his wealth.   After Eddy left the Opry he had a TV show on a TV station competing with WSM on Friday nights, WSM started the Friday Night Frolics that later became the Friday Night Opry to keep from loosing viewers.     Eddy Arnold, The Tennessee Plowboy was at Freed Hardeman University's daily chapel service on October 9 2003 and fielded questions from a standing room only audience made up of students and faculty members.
      Eddy Arnold was preceded in death by his loving wife of 66 years, Sally Gayhart Arnold on March 11 2008, she was the inspiration for many of his love songs. (Her death came as Eddie Arnold recuperated from hip replacement surgery in a different hospital. He could not attend her visitation or funeral, but he went to the Cemetery by ambulance for the burial service.)   Richard Edward "Eddie" Arnold, 89, died May 8 2008 at a care facility in Davidson Co TN.   He is survived by his daughter, JoAnn Pollard (Richard); son, Richard Edward Arnold, Jr. (Jeannie); grandchildren, Michelle Pollard Johns (Nelson), R. Shannon Pollard (Anissa); great-grandchildren, Katie Elizabeth Pollard, Sophia Virginia Pollard, Rowan Shannon Pollard, Ben Nolen Johns; nephews, Jerry Arnold (Patsy), Bob Ingle (Kay) and Frank Arnold (Mary) and the many wonderful relatives in Chester County TN. Visitation at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Funeral services in the Ryman Auditorium. His family buried him quietly in Woodlawn Memorial Park (Davidson Co TN) so that they could grieve in private.   A Brass plaque marker says "Richard E Arnold 1918-2008 and Sally K Arnold 1920-2008.    
      Eddy Arnold's father, William Caleb "WC" Arnold   1859 - 1929 is buried in New Friendship Cemetery beside his first wife, Mary Etta Lane Arnold   1862 - 1905.   Eddy's mother, Mrs W C (Georgia Wright Ingle) Arnold   July 17 1871 - Sept 24 1950 is buried Henderson City Cemetery.     1880 MADISON Co, TN census, ED 103, page 27 or 432 C;   W. W. Laine, head, 47, VA, NC, NC;   Lenah C Laine, dau, f, 8, TN, VA, TN;   Cornelia Laine, dau, f, 6, TN;   M. F. Arnold, boarder, m, 22, TN;   W. C. Arnold, son in law, 20, TN;   Mary E Arnold, dau, 18, TN.   (Chester Co was formed in 1882)   In 1900 census Mary Etta Lane Arnold shows 9 children, 8 living and by 1905 a total of 11 (10 living).     1920 CHESTER Co TN census, Fifth Dist, ED 47, sheet 1 B, taken Feb 18 1920;   W C Arnold, head, m, w, 60, TN, farmer;   Georgia Arnold, wife, 45, TN;   Mitchel Arnold, son, 20, TN;   Samuel Arnold, son, 16, TN;   Pattie Arnold, dau, 12, TN; W D Arnold, son, 10, TN;   John Arnold, son, 8, TN;   Edd Arnold, son, 1, TN;   R H Wright, father in law, 75, TN, widow.   Georgia "Fannie" Wright Ingle Arnold had 2 Ingle children and 7 Arnold children.    
    Jim Clayton also grew up in Chester County and as a teenager met Arnold when the singer did a benefit show for Chester County victims of the 1952 tornado.   Clayton said, “I’d meet up with him every five to seven years from then on, and he always remembered me”. Jim Clayton said "Eddie was such an inspiration for me,” and Clayton later founded Clayton Homes and Clayton Banks. Jim Clayton also donated money to Chester Co Library and to Freed-Hardeman University.

      SOURCES;     Tennessee Marriage Records.   Census Records.   Personal knowledge of Chester Co and information from my father and Hattie Lee Bray Arnold Cone.,   Cemeteries in Chester County by Lewis Jones,   History of the Friendship Community of Chester County by Lee Nell King,   Pioneer Days by Lee Nell King,     OBITS   The Tennessean,   Chattanooga Times Free Press,   The Daily Reporter-Herald, (Loveland, CO)   Times Courier (Charleston IL),   USA Today in 2008,   Lexington Herald-Leader (KY),   Knoxville News Sentinel,   Associated Press,   Commercial Appeal (Memphis TN),   The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City OK),  
      Herschel H Peddy knew Eddie and his siblings as they were contemporaries in the New Friendship Community.   Eddie returned a few times to Chester County to perform after he started performing on radio and he had one big show as a benefit for the victims of the 1952 Tornado in Chester County.   Eddy donated to the Chester County Library and gave an endowment to Freed-Hardeman University.   Hattie Lee Bray Arnold Cone was married to Millard Caleb Arnold 1893 - 1935, a 1/2 brother to Eddy Arnold. I spent many hours in discussions with Hattie Lee.

      NOTES:       Ivan Leroy "Little Roy" Wiggins (June 27 1926 - Aug 3 1999) was playing the steel guitar at age 13 for a band playing on the Grand Old Opry. He joined Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys as a temporary replacement and when Eddie Arnold left the Golden West Cowboys he hired "Little Roy" for his band, the "Tennessee Plowboys".   findagrave  

      For Colonel Tom Parker info see:     Findagrave  

James Howard "Speedy" McNatt born June 30 1919 died October 2 1988 and is buried Forest Hill Cemetery East, Memphis, Shelby County, TN.   James "Speedy" McNatt, 69, Grand Ole Opry fiddler, played with Eddie Arnold in 1936 in Jackson TN and in other venues, Speedy played with Pee Wee King, the Memphis Symphony and others; owned and operated a trucking line. He died of cancer.


  John H ARNOLD, brother to the famous R. Eddy Arnold was born in Chester County TN. He died June 7 1944 at Normandy Beach. He was with the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne. He was killed in his glider and was buried at Normandy.   His service # was 34193096. He was buried, Plot D, Row 22, Grave 20 in the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France

COPYRIGHT © 2013   Glendel W Peddy   All rights reserved
You will continue to own all information that you sent to me.

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