Monthly archives: August, 2014


Joanne Cash Yates (left) and Tommy Cash, sister and brother of music legend Johnny Cash, share a quiet moment while touring the restored Johnny Cash Boyhood Home during dedication ceremonies Saturday.

Joanne Cash Yates (left) and Tommy Cash, sister and brother of music legend Johnny Cash, share a quiet moment while touring the restored Johnny Cash Boyhood Home during dedication ceremonies Saturday.

DYESS, Ark. — Hundreds of fans and friends joined the Johnny Cash family for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration at the grand opening of the Cash boyhood home here Saturday. The ceremony crowned the restoration of the structure that was home to the Cash family from 1935 until 1953.

“If Dad walked into the house today, he would have been overcome,” said Rosanne Cash, one of Johnny’s four daughters, at the dedication ceremony.

The dedication came on the heels of the fourth annual Johnny Cash Music Festival at Arkansas State University’s Convocation Center Friday evening. The sold-out concert featured Country Music Hall of Fame members Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire and Bobby Bare. Singer and comedian Mark Lowry served as the event emcee.

People lined up early Saturday morning at the Dyess Administration Building to board the shuttles for the short two-and-a-half mile drive to the home. A private viewing for the Cash family was first on the agenda, as members toured the five-room home newly furnished with retrieved family items and donations.

“When many people approach me about starting Johnny Cash projects, I usually say ‘no, Rosanne Cash explained. “But, in talking to Dr. Ruth Hawkins and Arkansas State University, I realized several things and one is that my children need to know their family legacy. It’s so beautiful.”

“From when I saw the house in 2011 and to see the progress today is overwhelming,” continued Rosanne. “Ruth and the family aimed for authenticity when it came to furnishings. When you add the pieces in the house, it gives it resonance. The whole project caused a real shift in my life.”

Following additional remarks by Dyess Mayor Larry Sims, President of the Arkansas State System Dr. Chuck Welch, a letter from Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, Johnny Cash’s sister Joanne Cash Yates, brother Tommy Cash and others, Cash family members surrounded Joanne as she clipped the leaf garland ribbon to declare the home as officially opened. Family members then delighted the crowd by singing “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” inviting them to join in.

Following the festivities, buses were loaded with fans to take the hourly tours of the home until late afternoon.

Hawkins, the executive director of Arkansas State’s Heritage Sites program, began work on the boyhood home project in 2009 and visualized turning the land with a dilapidated, run-down structure back into to the simple glory that was the home where one of the most talented and celebrated superstars spent his childhood and teen years. She spearheaded the development from the beginning, including the purchase of the home by Arkansas State to the final furnishing.

The Dyess Colony was created in 1934 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal to aid in the nation’s economic recovery from the Great Depression. As a federal agricultural resettlement community, it provided a fresh start for nearly 500 impoverished Arkansas farm families, including the family of Johnny Cash.

After Rosanne expressed the family’s “tremendous gratitude,” Joanne added, “Thank you for being a part of our family—all of you.”

Tommy closed by saying, “Thank you. This is one of the greatest projects I’ve ever worked on. Growing up here, I was a happy child.”

The Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. It is closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $10 and includes the Dyess Colony Museum and the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home.

For the original A-State News Article, click here.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJONESBORO – On the eve of the grand opening of her father’s boyhood home, Tara Cash Schwoebel, the youngest daughter of Johnny Cash, announced the publication of “Recollections by J.R. Cash: Childhood Memories of Johnny Cash.” Recollections group The announcement was made Thursday afternoon in Cooper Alumni Center on the Arkansas State University campus. Schwoebel, the youngest of Cash’s four daughters, was on hand to discuss the book written in her father’s own handwriting about growing up in Dyess.

“I found a book in 1995 called ‘Dad, Share Your Life with Me,’” said Schwoebel. “I gave him a copy which included questions about his childhood, his love of music and life in Dyess. The following year, he returned it to me on my birthday with all of the question cards filled out with his answers.

“I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Ruth Hawkins and I called her and told her about having this diary of memories from my dad about growing up in Arkansas and asked her if she knew of a publisher who might be interested. She told me she wanted Arkansas State University to publish it.”

Hawkins, executive director of Arkansas Heritage Sites at Arkansas State, is the force behind the restoration endeavor for the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the Historic Dyess Colony Project.

Copies of the book will be for sale on the Second Floor of the Dyess Administration Building during the grand opening of the project on Saturday. Books can be purchased between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and Schwoebel will be signing books from 12:30 to 2 p.m. “Recollections by J.R. Cash: Childhood Memories of Johnny Cash,” sells for $19.95.

“The home he grew up in meant so much to my dad,” continued Schwoebel. “His memories and recall were incredible.”

She noted, “He has so many fishing stories and many others. The memories paint pictures of daily life in Dyess, and when you are in the house, you feel it.This book is rich with stories and fun things,” concluded Schwoebel.”I think everyone will enjoy it.”

In the book’s introduction, Schwoebel says, “Having seen the now-restored home where he grew up in Dyess and knowing the breadth of the hard work, the tragedies endured, the depth of instinct for survival, and the love his family shared, I feel it is time to share this priceless journal.”

“It’s a fabulous book,” said Hawkins. “No one could do this kind of book except his daughter because his answers are meant for her.”

After the grand opening on Saturday, the book will be available at the Historic Dyess Colony Museum during regular operating hours, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Additionally, it will be sold at other Arkansas State University heritage sites. the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, and online at

The original A-State News Article can be found here.