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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,John Garst Origin Of John Henry--part TWO (240* d) RE: Origin Of John Henry--part TWO 23 Sep 10


William Turner Blankenship was born in 1876, perhaps in Marshall County, TN, where he lived in 1880.

He was married by 1900, possibly to an Attkisson, and he was blinded in an explosion, also by 1900. Further, by that date either he was divorced or his wife had died. In 1900 he lived with his parents, Theodore Blankenship and Delilah Cape Blankenship, in Weakley County, TN.

He married for the second time in 1914, in Huntsville, AL, to Mrs. T. M. Morring, who was first married to George Morring. Her maiden name is probably Tennie Maten. Tennie M. "Blankingship" died in February, 1923, in Madison County, AL.

In 1924 WTB married Josephine Green. They settled in Athens, AL. He died March 16, 1960, and is buried in Gatlin Cemetery, Limestone Co AL (Ardmore).

His nephew Rollie recalls his playing the banjo, jew's harp, and potato (ocarina, I assume). Some distant relatives think he also played fiddle, but Rollie doesn't recall this.

I've heard a number of colorful stories about the Blankenships ("they were all fiddlers") and Attkissons in the vicinity of Pulaski, TN, and Athens, AL, in what seem to have been the wild and wooly days of moonshining ("everybody made whiskey"), killing revenuers, and changing names after committing a crime. There is a hint that WTB may have been in the KKK.

Anyhow, he published broadside ballads, including "John Henry, the Steel Driving Man," which I date to ca 1910.


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