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Hugh Jack "Doc" Addington

Hugh Jack "Doc" Addington Jr. b 2 Nov 1913 Scott Co VA d 4 Jul 1988; military service, US Army, 13 Nov 1942; height 68 inches, (5'6") weight, 153 lbs.; s/o Hugh Jackson Addington and Margaret Elizabeth Kilgore. Hugh Jack "Doc" Addington Jr m.

Written by Carl P McConnell about Hugh Jack "Doc" Addington:

Doc Addington and I are close kinfolk’s. I’d like to add here that he is a brother to Mother Maybelle Carter, who is one of the original members of the famous Carter Family. His dad and mine were first cousins. My daddy’s mother was a distant cousin to Doc’s mother, both being descendants of the Kilgore generation. That makes us even a little more akin.

We grew up about four miles from each other (the way the crow flies), with two ridges and about a couple of valleys separating us. By car, around the road, it was a distance of around ten miles and back. In those days, there were only a few miles of blacktop road in the mountain area, especially here in Scott County. These were mostly narrow, rough, dirt roads.

This being true, Doc and I never had met until the summer of 1932. Doc came over to my home one Sunday afternoon, with his neighbor and close friend, Lester (Groundhog) Addington, who was dating my oldest sister, Irene.

On this occasion, Doc didn’t come in the house. He sat out in the car, parked close to the front porch. I walked out and interrupted the little tune he was whistling, by saying “hello” and asking him to come in the house while he was waiting. He said that he would just sit there and wait on “Groundhog”, who was in the parlor with Irene. He right then started whistling this same little old tune. He seemed to be more interested in being left alone and in whistling than he was in talking to me. Ha!

It sort of worried me a bit because he wouldn’t get out of the car and come on into the house, so I thought I’d go into the parlor and see if I could get “Groundhog” to go out and try persuading him to come on in. Groundhog sort of laughed and said, “Ah, he is bashful and stubborn, too. Let him sit out there.”

This didn’t satisfy my mind and, pondering over the situation another minute or so, I made up my mind to give it another try. I walked back out to the car and found Doc still whistling that same tune. So, ill mannered me, I broke in on his whistling again to say “Doc, I wish you would get out and come in the house.” He said, “No, thanks, I’ll just sit out here.” Then, quickly, I asked him some other question, with the hope of getting him started into a friendly conversation.

He just answered back with as few words as possible, and instantly started right back whistling. To me, that was a pretty firm hint that he just didn’t care too much about getting any better acquainted with me. I hastily turned and walked back into the house. In about an hour, I saw “Groundhog” step off the front porch and crawl under the steering wheel of his 1923 Model T Ford Touring car. I rushed out to invite them to come back again. I got out on the porch in time to see them take off like a ruffled grouse and to hear Doc, still whistling the same tune. By this time, he was setting it afire. This was my first acquaintance and experience with Doc Addington.

I had heard quite a lot about Doc’s fancy guitar picking for about a couple of years. Up until this time, I had never had the chance to hear him. The following fall, he and “Groundhog” dropped in one night at the home of our neighbors, Boyd and Will Quillin. A big bunch of us had gathered there for one of our usual musical parties.

After a lot of insisting from me and the rest of the musicians, (he kept saying that he couldn’t pick), Doc was persuaded to take the guitar and he picked and sang about a half-dozen songs, with me backing him with the banjo.

I will never forget the expressions on the faces of the crowd, (and especially the musicians looking on), as he was about the middle of the first song, “Coney Isle.” You talk about a display of raised eyebrows and staring eyes, with mouths half open, all set on Doc and the guitar. No doubt I looked even worse stunned than they did because I think that I even dropped out and forgot to pick the banjo at times. He also picked and sung “The Brownie Blues”, “My Dear Old Southern Home”, and one of Jimmy Rodger’s “Blue Yodels”.

When he had finished the 4th and last song, he handed the guitar back to its owner and requested a continuation of the music. If my memory serves me right, there was no response.

This was the beginning of mine and Doc’s musical career. I believe the next time we met was at Doc’s home place, in the month of May 1933, on a Saturday night. He had sent me word a few days ahead of time to come over on that particular Saturday night and bring my banjo. He said they were going to have a musical party, or a music making, I believe he called it.


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