home of Jane Hicks Gentry in Hot Springs, North Carolina, 1916
Jane Hicks Gentry :
On October 6, 1987 an historical marker was erected by the State of
North Carolina in front of a house called Sunnybank in Hot Springs,
North Carolina. It reads:
English folklorist Cecil Sharp in 1916 collected ballads in the "Laurel
Country." Jane Gentry who supplied many of the songs lived here.
Hicks was born in Watauga County, NC during the Civil War in the year
Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. She grew up near
her grandfather Council Harmon ("Old Counce") whose descendants have
carried on a rich and lively heritage of songs and stories.
was the first of this family to have these oral materials collected
and published. She was twelve years old when the family moved to the
Meadow Fork section of Spring Creek in Madison County. When she was
sixteen years old, Jane married Jasper Newton Gentry. They moved to
the town of Hot Springs so that their nine children could attend Dorland
Institute, a Presbyterian mission school.
Bacheller, New York newspaper editor and author of books, short stories
and magazine articles, met Jane Gentry when he came to Hot Springs on
vacation. He wrote about her and called her the "greatest" as well as
the "happiest" person he ever met.
Sharp, English collector, collected more songs from Mrs. Gentry than
from any other singer in the southern mountains. He included forty of
her songs in English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians.
Isabel Gordon Carter published fifteen of Jane Gentry's stories in the
Journal of American Folklore.