Johnny Cash was born in February, 1932 in the small town of Kingsland in the Southern hill country of Arkansas. It was harsh time in the region as the Great Depression had crippled agriculture and farming families like the Cash's were struggling to make ends meet. Ray and Carrie Cash and their six children needed a change.
Ray and Carrie Cash pose with their growing family on the Porch of their new home in the Dyess Colony in Northeast Arkansas. Photo circa 1935, credit: Arkansas State University.
FDR's New Deal brought new opportunity, thankfully, and the growing Cash family packed up and moved to a resettlement community called the Dyess Colony in Northeastern Arkansas. The land was more fertile there and the Colony provided housing and some basic necessities for its members. The family cleared 20 acres of land and everyone went to work growing and picking cotton -- even five year old Johnny!
Life was hard there, however. Johnny worked long hours under a strict father, but was encouraged by his songbird mother. Tragedy struck the family in 1944 when Jack Cash, Johnny's older brother and best friend, died in a mill accident on the farm. Riddled with grief and guilt, Johhny became obsessed with the singers heard on an uncle's battery-powered radio, and soon after, he was writing poems, songs, and stories. These pictures show a bit more about his life and how Johnny grew up.