‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ Lynn married at 15, not 13
“It’s her book, and I never saw a birth certificate, marriage license. It’s what they told me,” he said. “I couldn’t say that she was the one who told me first. Between her manager (David Skepner) who has passed and her husband who has now passed, it was at least three different people telling me that.”
Vecsey said he did not want to speculate on what the age difference means to Lynn’s narrative.
Lynn’s daughter, Patsy Lynn Russell, did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
Webb, her brother who lives in their hometown of Van Lear, Ky., believes “there might have been a mix—up somewhere along the line” when Lynn first arrived in Nashville and signed with the Wilburn Brothers.
“When she was with Teddy and Doyle (Wilburn), she just don’t tell her age after that,” he said. “I think they got some of her paperwork messed up.”
Webb declined to comment on Lynn’s age. When asked his own birthday, like a good brother, he replied: “I was born a year and a half after she was.”
Research supervisor Walter Bowman at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives said in the early `30s it was more common for people to register their prized horses or livestock than the births of their children.
Not until the Social Security system was founded in the mid-1930s did parents have a monetary reason to put their kids on record.
Social Security Administration officials said privacy laws prevent them from releasing information about any living person, including a birth date.
Music journalist and author Robert K. Oermann, who wrote “Finding Her Voice” about women in country music, said nothing can overshadow Lynn’s accomplishments.
“In the 1960s, you didn’t have the 24-hour news cycle, saturation of personality journalism that you have today. So what appealed to people was the fact that the songs were so extraordinary. Her singing was so great. Everything about her was so refreshing and country,” he said.
“It wasn’t until much later that people became aware of her backstory, but the music itself is what made her a star. The biography, the life story was just the icing on the cake.”
In 1972, Lynn became the first woman to be named entertainer of the year by the Country Music Association. She is known for hits, including “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” `’You Ain’t Woman Enough,” `’The Pill,” `’Rated X,” and “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).” Her last top 10 record as a soloist was “I Lie” in 1982.