1924 - 2006
year old Jeanette Carter died at a Kingsport
hospital Sunday morning. She was the last surviving child of A.P. and
Sarah Carter. Her father and mother, along with her mother`s cousin
Maybelle, formed the musical group "The Carter Family" in the
1920`s. The Scott County Funeral Home will open Wednesday at 1:00 pm. The
family will receive friends from 4:00 to 8:00. The Thursday service and
burial will be private. A public memorial will be held Sunday at 2:00 pm
in the carter fold auditorium.
Daughter says Carter Family's music will live on
MACES SPRINGS - "I love you, and I'll see ya' later." That was the last conversation that Rita Forrester had with her mother, Jeanette Carter, in of all places, the parking lot of a dentist's office last week.
"That conversation still holds true today. I miss my mom, but I know where she is right now, and I know that she has had several reunions right now. She's seen her dad, her son, and so many others. I know she's happy," Forrester said Monday.
Carter, 82, the founder of the Carter Family Fold and Memorial Music Center, succumbed to complications from an abdominal infection Sunday at Holston Valley Medical Center, her daughter said Monday.
A lone white rose with a love note attached was positioned by a person who paid their respects Monday out in front of the Fold, a small token to a woman whose stature and presence among those who still cling to the simple times of yesteryear and the old-time mountain music was towering beyond measure.
Keeping a promise she made to her father, A.P. Carter, to perpetuate those sounds, Jeanette and her brother, the late Joe Carter, launched a series of Saturday night musical events that, according to Forrester, surpassed expectations on the first night.
"At that time in 1974, the folk music boom was dwindling, and not many people knew or remembered the music created by the Carter Family," Forrester said.
"So my mom decided to have the first show in the little store, which was A.P.'s old general store, which is now the museum. They had to move everything outside on the porch because they could not fit all of the people inside.
"She knew then that people still cared about the music, and that has continued throughout the years, with some of the bands who were around at that time still coming to the Fold to this day. Mom may not have known it, but it was and still is a special place."
Carter did not know on that fateful night 32 years ago that her efforts would lead to worldwide acclaim, the bestowing of gifts and awards, both tangible and heartfelt, and the acknowledgement of millions of admirers.
One of those intrigued by the music of the Carter Family and what knowledge on the musical trio could be obtained was former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose meeting with Jeanette Carter inside a mansion near London was a priceless encounter a few years ago, according to Forrester.
"We were over there for a conference being held on the Carter Family, and we were inside the home of the U.S. ambassador for a reception,'' she said.
"I am just walking around, admiring the beautiful architecture of this mansion, when someone comes running up to me and says ‘Rita, you've got to see this.' I could see that the prime minister was approaching my mom.
"As I came closer, I could hear Ms. Thatcher giving my mother a proper introduction, and then my mom said ‘Well, honey, how are you?' That was just how my mom was. She was simple and was honored to meet anyone, and yes, you were ‘honey' no matter who you were.''
Jeanette Carter operated the Fold with care and kindness, but that could all change with just one pull of the coattail.
"There was a criteria, and there will always be a criteria for performing at the Fold that my mom maintained - you play acoustic, you play the music that the Fold is accustomed to, and you better have a gospel number among the songs in your set,'' said Forrester.
"It didn't happen often, but a band played a few songs, and they may have forgot something to dance to or a gospel song, or something was in the wrong key. She would jerk on your coattail, and you would have to have a word with her,'' Forrester continued.
"If somebody out in the crowd got unruly, she would escort them out. She did not tolerate drinking or foul language. I've seen her go out and separate people who were dancing too close. She had things her way.''
The year 2005 was a memorable one for Carter, who received many accolades for her preservation work.
Last February, she attended a ceremony held prior to the 47th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to The Carter Family posthumously.
In June, she joined the likes of renowned blues guitarist B.B. King and bluegrass legend Bill Monroe when she received the Bess Lomax Hawes Award by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Carter received another special but somber recognition that will be recorded forever in the annals of Virginia history, as Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, made a motion to adjourn Monday's session of the House of Delegates in honor of the Carter Fold founder.
"I was very fortunate to have known Janette Carter; this special lady dedicated her life to music, and to the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia," Kilgore said in a written statement.
"As Delegate, I had the great pleasure of assisting Janette with the Carter Family Fold on their recent renovations to the auditorium. As a husband, father and citizen of Scott County, I also had the great pleasure of attending the Carter Family Fold on Saturday evenings with my family, and being able to see Janette preserve Appalachian and country music for generations to come."
Forrester noted that although "Jeanette" was the name that A.P. and Sara gave her and is recorded on her birth certificate, she usually signed her name as Janette.
The family has planned two memorial services - one to be held in private later this week followed by her burial in the cemetery at the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, and another memorial service to be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Carter Fold.
Forrester said an open invitation and public viewing will take place at Scott County Funeral Home in Weber City from 1 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, with the family attending the services from 4 to 8 p.m. that evening.
As for the tradition of mountain music flowing through the valley of Maces Springs on Saturday evening, Forrester says that will continue this weekend, and for years to come.
"We'll have a show this Saturday. Mom would want it that way. She's worked since she was 6 years old and made sure that her family's music and the music of this region was remembered. The music has to be played."
List To Janette Carter CD
1. Bury Me Beneath The Willow / Janette Carter
2. Lonesome Street / Janette Carter
3. Listen To The Mockingbird (Instrumental) / Janette Carter
4. I Ain't Gonna Work To Tomorrow / Janette Carter
5. Sinking In The Lonesome Sea / Janette Carter
6. I Found Jesus / Janette Carter
7. Storms Are On The Ocean / Janette Carter
8. Neath The Shade Of A Beautiful Pine / Janette Carter
9. Red Wing / Janette Carter
10. Little Moses / Janette Carter
11. In The Shadow Of Clinch Mountain / Janette Carter
12. Joy, Joy, Joy / Janette Carter
13. Howdayado! / Janette Carter
14. Little Rosewood Casket / Janette Carter
15. Wayworn Traveller / Janette Carter
16. Take-Me-Back Blues / Janette Carter
17. Johnny Doesn't Live Here Anymore / Janette Carter
18. Waltz, Kitty, Waltz / Janette Carter
19. Lonesome Pine Special / Janette Carter
20. Give Him One More As He Goes / Janette Carter
21. Heartbreaking Waltz / Janette Carter
22. Dark And Stormy Weather / Janette Carter
23. My Native Home / Janette Carter
24. Little Moses / Janette Carter
25. Kissin' Is A Crime / Janette Carter
26. My Dixie Darlin' / Janette Carter
27. Sea Of Galilee / Janette Carter
28. I'm Leaving You / Janette Carter
29. I'm Missing You (& J.E. Mainer) / Janette Carter
30. Johnny Doesn't Live Here Anymore / Janette Carter
31. Storms Are On The Ocean / Janette Carter