Johnny Cash, the famed outlaw songwriter, came from humble beginnings in a family of nine trying to make it through the Great Depression in Dyess, Mississippi County, Arkansas.
The man in black was born J.R. Cash in February of 1932 in Kingsland, Arkansas. His parents, Carrie and Ray Cash, brought seven children into the world: Roy, Louise, Jack, J.R., Reba, Joanne, and Tommy. We all know so much about little J.R., who grew up to be one of the best country stars in the world, but what about the rest of the Cash family?
Much like his older brother Johnny, Tommy's music career took off in the military when he became a radio disk jockey. After leaving the military, Tommy joined Hank Williams Jr. on tour and eventually signed with Musicor Records. His song "Six White Horses" put him on the map as a national country star when the song landed at No. 4 on the charts.
Joanne Cash Yates
Some of Joanne's earliest memories are of her singing gospel standards while working in the cotton field. She found herself emersed in country music while working at her brother Johnny's House of Cash studio. "I learned so much about the music business and my desire to sing increased rapidly," Joanne stated in her bio on her website. "I got involved in singing at church and then sang at the Grand Ole Opry on Fridays from 1972-1976 with Jimmy Rodgers Snow's 'Grand Ole Gospel Time.'" Joanne married Dr. Harry Yates in the early '70s, and they worked full time in music ministry. The Yates' family founded the Nashville Cowboy Church which started with just six people in the lounge of a local Holiday Inn. Today, it's held in the Texas Troubador Theatre and Joanne sings there every Sunday.
Reba Cash Hancock
Reba grew up to be a film producer, best known for producing Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus. The 1973 film starred Johnny Cash, Robert Elfstrom, June Carter Cash, and Paul L. Smith. The film was shot in Isreal and has Johnny narrating the story of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Reba passed away in 2006.
Johnny's older brother Jack was involved in a table saw accident when he was just 15 years old. He passed just a few days later. Jack was a hero, protector, and mentor for his little brother, and the death of Jack sparked the quiet, introspective part of Johnny.
Margaret Louise Cash, the eldest sister, married Jordan Joseph Garrett. She passed away in 2003 and is buried in Nashville, Tennessee.
Roy, the eldest child, was the first in the family to trek into the music industry. Roy had a band called the Dixie Rhythm Ramblers who played a radio show on KCLN which broadcast all through Arkansas.
You can read more about Johnny Cash and his family in his book Cash: The Autobiography or watch the feature film "Walk the Line" about his life as a country musician, from his marriage to Vivian Liberto and June Carter, to his arrest in El Paso, Texas, performance at Folsom Prison and recovery from addiction to amphetamines.