Dee and Delta Hicks, Hicks Family Honored for Folk Music Preservation

The family of Dee and Delta Hicks gathered on the Jamestown Square at the Northwest Corner of the Courthouse to witness the unveiling of a new commemorative sign, paying tribute to the Hicks Family’s legacy of preserving folk songs, a tradition the family has carried on for hundreds of years.

Keepers of a trove of traditional Anglo-American music and folklore from the Cumberland Plateau, the Hicks family had a repertoire of several hundred songs, many of them handed down orally through generations.

The Hicks arrived in the Jamestown area in 1817 when only one or two other families were there. Clary Dee Hicks was born on October 12, 1906. He learned many songs and banjo skills from his father (Feb. 25, 1867 – Sept.. 28, 1948). Preferring subsistence farming, hard and insecure as it was, to paid employment in the local sawmills, Daniel raised sheep, hogs, and cattle and hunted fur-bearing animals.

On Saturday afternoons, Daniel and Dee would go to Jamestown to acquire farm supplies. While there, Daniel would play the fiddle and Dee the banjo in front of the general store. Both sang ballads of up to 50 verses from memory. On Saturday nights, neighbors would congregate at the Hicks’ farm to listen to or play music. Dee’s repertoire was later analyzed as one fourth from the British isles and one fourth traditional American songs. The remainder was parlor ballads, hymns and songs from other sources.

Support your local newspaper by reading the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.