Remembering Jimmie Rodgers

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

On the day when Meridian native, Jimmie Rodgers, would have been 112 years old, Newscenter 11 had the opportunity to sit down with Lester Williamson, Sr., a nephew of Jimmie Rodgers, "The Father of Country Music".

"I wasn't over 11 or 12 when he passed on, I don't think," said Williamson in an interview at the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian.

Rodgers was married to the sister of Williamson's father.

"He spent the night at my house, my daddy's house, and he would play out there for us," remembered Williamson.

Long before Williamson was a circuit court judge, he was growing up in the 20s and 30s in Jimmie Rodgers' family.

At nearly 87 years of age, Williamson has some difficulty remembering, but there are some things he does remember from nearly 8 decades ago.

"I remember him driving up in those big cars. Everybody in the neighborhood would come look at him," said Williamson.

Williamson's granddaughter, Virginia Williamson, was able to remember stories she has heard him tell. She told of Jimmie Rodgers at one of his concerts when he walked by a group of people who wanted to see him perform but couldn't afford tickets to the show. Rodgers pulled out his guitar and played on sidewalk for them.

"I was with him up in Memphis, Tennessee. I was about 10 or 11 years old. He was drinking a beer; he was bad to drink, and I said, 'can I get one Uncle Jimmie?', and he bought me one," laughed Williamson

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