December 12, 2002
Pedantic Quibble

Instapundit notes the upcoming 50th anniversary of the death of Hank Williams, which he places "in or near Knoxville". Actually, as the very long story to which he links shows, the evidence is ambiguous, and it is not known whether he died in Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia, and whether in the last few hours of 1952 or the first few of 1953. The doctor who declared him dead in Oak Hill, West Virginia, said that he might have been dead as long as six hours, and that was at 7:00 AM. The Hank Williams stamp that came out around ten years ago gave him the benefit of the doubt and listed 1953 as his date of death. (For whatever reason, I have found that putting Hank Williams stamps on job applications for tenure-track Latin professor positions doesn't seem to help, even when my return address was in Tuscaloosa.)

He was last seen definitely alive in Knoxville on New Year's Eve, but the place, date, and even year of his death are irretrievable. As a big fan, I can see why the InstaPundit would want to claim him for his own fair city. Then again, some of the suppliers of the various substances that contributed to his death were in Knoxville, too. The PossumBlogger will be sorry to hear that the chauffeur who was too oblivious to notice that his passenger had died was an Auburn man, in fact a freshman.

Kingsley Amis once wrote that Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913?) would probably be the last major literary figure with a question-mark on his date of death. If we extend the category to include musicians, Hank Williams should get one, too, though for entirely different reasons.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at December 12, 2002 11:33 PM

His name is Charles Carr, and I imagine he's been on the receiving end of a lot of grief from Hank's fans over the years. Maybe he should have been more aware of the dangers of hauling around a self-destructive, depressed, morphine addict, but after all, he was just a kid.

Wrong place, wrong time and all.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby on December 13, 2002 11:03 AM

The man was a true poet, and deserves the distinction.

If nothing else, for "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry."

Posted by: Dean Esmay on December 14, 2002 06:04 AM

Just teasing you, Terry.

Posted by: Dr. Weevil on December 15, 2002 07:34 PM

Oh, I know you were just messing around--trust me, being an Auburn grad means you have to grow a pretty thick skin--rest assured you have to go way far out there to ever offend me. (Likewise no offense was intended to Mr. Williams or his pharmaceutical suppliers.)

Posted by: Terry Oglesby on December 16, 2002 12:40 PM