“Heritage Days: A Festival of History and Culture”, will welcome ballad singers, Carmen Hicks McCord and her family to the outdoor stage at the Fentress County Courthouse, Saturday, April 27, at 10am. A full schedule of Heirtage Days (April 26-27) will be published in next week’s Courier.
“Heritage Days”, now in its twenty-ninth year, is an annual event presented by the Fentress County Historical Society. Previously held at the York Elementary School, this will be its first year to take place in historic downtown Jamestown, at and around the Fentress County Courthouse. The change in venue coincides with the opening of the new home of the Historical Society, which is now located in the former Reagan Building, directly across the street, on the west side of the Courthouse and diagonal to the Chamber of Commerce and Old Jail Museum Building.
“The Fentress County Historical Society is pleased and honored to have as our guests for this inaugural downtown presentation of Heritage Days, Mrs. Carmen Hicks McCord and her family,” said Martha Wiley, Vice President and coordinator of the event.
The Hicks Family, of Fentress County, has a long and distinguished history of preserving and performing old ballads handed down by their ancestors for many generations. Some of these would have no doubt been lost to the passage of time if the Hicks family had not kept them alive in story and song.
Mrs. McCord credits her father, Bessford Hicks, for committing to memory the words to hundreds of songs. “He was always singing,” she said. She calls to mind the song, “The Cumberlin’ Land”, which was more than likely written in the late 1780s and was included in the concert, “Crossing the Cumberland”, which was presented in Chattanooga, last year, as a fundraiser for the Cumberland Trail Project. It was one of the songs , the lyrics of which Mr. Hicks did get down on paper.
When his daughter sings the song, its haunting lyrics are a reminder of a time long past, when early explorers and the settlers who followed after them through the Cumberlands toward what is now Nashville, endured great danger and hardship from weather, hunger and often hostile Native Americans.
Due to the efforts of former State Park Ranger and current Park Manager of Cumberland Trail State Park, Bobby Fulcher these songs and thousands of others have been preserved for us and future generations to study and enjoy.
Everyone is invited out to meet the Hicks Family and listen to their old-time ballads, Saturday, April 27, 10am, in historic downtown Jamestown. There will be a lot of activities in the area of the Fentress County Historical Society offices (the Reagan Building), the Courthouse and the Chamber of Commerce. The Historical Society offices will be open, as will the Old Jail Museum in the Chamber Building. Nearby restaurants, including the Dairy Mart and West End Cafe, will be serving breakfast and lunch.
It will be a great day to be in historic downtown Jamestown. Plan to be with us for a full schedule of activities, on both Friday evening and during the day on Saturday. A complete schedule of activities will be published in the April 17th edition of the Courier and will be aired on local radio stations up until the weekend of “Heritage Days”, April 26-27.