ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Grave of Hank Williams, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Grave of Hank WIlliams, Alabama
|Grave of Hank Williams
The graves of country music legend Hank Williams
and his wife Audrey are marked by matching
monuments in Montgomery, Alabama.
Hank Williams' Grave
A country music legend who
died at a tragically young age,
Hank Williams now rests in
the Oakwood Cemetery Annex
in Montgomery, Alabama.
A Trademark in Stone
A representation of Williams'
trademark hat is carved in the
stone of his monument above
the words "Luke the Drifter."
The Grave of Hank Williams - Montgomery, Alabama
Luke the Drifter's Resting Place
|Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
"Some day beyond the Blue"
Audrey William's touching
tribute to her husband can be
read on his monument.
He had such an impact on both country and
rock music that it is difficult to believe that
Hank Williams lived only to the age of 29.
He was famed in his lifetime for such country
hits as "Move it on Over," "Lovesick Blues,"
"Your Cheatin' Heart," "Hey Good Lookin',"
and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." His
influence on country & western is undeniable
and in fact he may have been the most
influential country artist of all time. His style
also had great influence on the development
of rock music.
He died far too young on New Year's Day in
1953 and is buried today at the Oakwood
Cemetery Annex in Montgomery, Alabama.
The son of a railroad worker named Elonzo
"Lonnie" Williams, Hiram King Williams was
born on September 23, 1923 in Mount Olive,
Alabama. Lonnie's job required the family to
move several times (he was a conductor on
lumber company trains), but in 1930 when
Hank was only seven years old, the elder
WIlliams suffered severe health problems.
Diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, Lonnie
Williams spent the next eight years in the
Veterans Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana.
The family was left to fend for itself and in
1931 moved to Georgiana, Alabama. Despite
the difficult times of the Great Depression,
Hank's mother (Jessie "Lillie" Williams) was
able to find decent work and the family fared
better than many.
It was in 1931, when Hank Williams was 8
years old, his mother gave him his first
guitar. She could not have imagined the long
road it would lead him down.
Hank lived a year with his uncle and aunt, but
in was reunited with his mother and siblings
in Greenville, Alabama. Things went well for
them there until 1937, when the 14 year old
Williams was involved in a fight with a
physical education coach. Lillie demanded
that the coach be fired, but when the school
board refused to do so, she moved her family
While his mother ran a boarding house,
Hank formed a band called the Drifting
Cowboys. In 1941, as the clouds of World
War II loomed on the horizon, Hank Williams
became a regular entertainer on WSFA radio
Radio stations then often featured live
entertainment and WSFA provided the 18
year old singer with the opportunity to reach a
large audience across Alabama.
In 1943 he met Audrey Mae Sheppard and
the two were married in following year. The
couple went to Nashville in 1946 and met
with Fred Rose of Acuff-Rose Publishing. He
liked Williams' songs and offered him a deal
to record two singles - Honky Tonkin' and
Never Again. Both records were hits and in
1947 Hank Williams signed a contract with
From that point, stardom came quickly. The
top five hit Move it on Over was released in
1947and by 1948 Hank was part of the
hugely popular Louisiana Hayride program.
Mega-stardom came in 1949 when Lovesick
Blues hit Number One on Billboard's Country
& Western charts and stayed there for an
unbelievable 16 weeks. Not only that, but the
song crossed over to the Top 25 on the pop
charts. When he performed the song at the
Grand Ole Opry it led to a stunning six
encores for the young singer.
Hank and Audrey WIlliams had their first child
in 1949, a boy they named Randall Hank. He
is better known today as Hank Williams, Jr.
A remarkable string of hits followed over the
next four years. Among them were Lovesick
Blues; Why Don't You Love Me; Cold, Cold
Heart; Hey, Good Lookin'; Crazy Heart;
Honky Tonk Blues; Jambalaya, and I'll Never
Get Out of This World Alive.
Ironically, following the release of I'll Never
Get Out of This World Alive, Hank Williams
died in the back of his Cadillac on January 1,
1953. He was only 29 years old.
The official cause of death was a heart
related disorder. Despite his young age,
Hank Williams had lived much of his life in
pain due to scoliosis. Following a surgery in
1951, he was given morphine for pain and
told that he would be crippled within one
year. He also drank heavily during long and
lonely stretches on the road.
Ironically, three of his biggest hits were
released following his death: Take These
Chains From My Heart, Kaw-Liga and Your
Hank Williams is buried in the Oakwood
Cemetery Annex in Montgomery, Alabama.
The cemetery is open to the public during
normal daily hours and is free to visit. The
address is 1305 Upper Wetumpka Road;
Montgomery, Alabama 36107. A marble sign
that reads "Hank Williams Memorial" points
the way to the grave.
|Photography by Clint Donaldson