Merle and Me

This is a quick post. I’ll be giving you a tiny bit of information about my BATES family. I’m going all the way back to my maternal 6th great grandparents- John and Mary “Molly” (HOWARD) BURNETT. We descend through John and Molly’s daughter, Frances “Fanny” (BURNETT) who married John BATES. We descend through John and Fanny’s son, Jesse. Through Jesse (and his wife, Delila AARON/ARENT) BATES’ son, John. (This was the John who died before he could make it home from the Civil War.) Through John (and his wife, Mary MOBLEY) BATES’ son, George. Through George (and his wife, Mary SEELY) BATES’ son, Albert. Through Albert (and his wife, Dettie GIBSON) BATES’ son and my grandpa, Troy Columbus BATES.

Today I don’t want to talk about our ancestor Fanny BURNETT though. I want to talk about her brother, John BURNETT. Fanny’s brother John married Martha BALLOU and together they had a daughter they named Mary. This daughter married Jesse PATTY and Jesse and Mary (who went by Polly) had a daughter named Harriet. Harriet married Hosea VILLINES and they had a daughter named Martha. Martha married John HARP and she and John had a daughter they named Flossie Mae. Flossie Mae married James HAGGARD and together they had the great Merle HAGGARD, the country singer. That makes Merle and I (and you too, if you’re my 1st cousin) 5th cousins twice removed.

Merle passed away in 2016 at the age of 79. Merle’s music career spanned an incredible 6 decades! Early in life he got in trouble with the law and spent some time at San Quentin. After serving his time in San Quentin, he got into the country music scene which was just beginning to get big in Bakersfield, California. He played a wide range of music including jazz, country, contemporary, and country gospel. He wrote and played his own songs as well as playing songs written by others. The second video below is a song he wrote. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994 and into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame three years after that.

This is Merle’s country gospel rendition of The Old Rugged Cross, one of my favorites. Video is found on Youtube at
Merle Haggard performing a song he wrote himself. Video found on Youtube at

One more video of an interview with Merle where he talks about his early years.

Merle Haggard interview. Video found on Youtube at

So today, let’s dig out our old LP’s and 8-tracks (or Youtube if that’s what you’ve got) and let’s play some Merle Haggard songs.

Rest in peace, Merle – and thanks for the tunes.

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

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