Discover Cheatham County 2020 visitors guide

What's Old is New

Originally from Ashland City, the Pick- ard Family became a very popular music act, retaining their popularity through numerous changes in public taste from the late 1920s through the early 1950s. The repertoire of Obed Pickard and the family band included songs such as the plaintive "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie," ‘She'll Be Co- min' Round the Mountain," "The Old Gray Horse," and "Hand Me Down My Walkin' Cane." The founder of the group, Obed “Dad” Pickard has been noted as the first sing- ing star of the Grand Ole Opry. Pickard was the first artist to become a vocal star in the modern sense of the term. Dad Pickard first played on WSM Nash- ville in May 1926, and within a few years, he became nationally known as the leader of the singing Pickard fam- ily. The Pickards were the first group to use their Opry appearances as a springboard to a wider national career

and in doing so set the pace for many Opry performers of later years.

The Pickard Family musical group pictured: Obed "Dad" Pickard, "Mom" Pickard, Obed Jr. (Bubb), and Ruth. Little sister Ann was killed when her brother's gun accidently fired. Ashland City in Cheatham County is proud to be the historical home of Obed Pickard. Though Obed is buried in Los Angeles, many Pickard family members are at rest in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Ashland City. “Red” Barry, best known for his role as Red Ryder in the successful 1940s film series, "Adventures of Red Ryder.” In January 1949, the Pickards starred in a musical program broadcast over Los Angeles television station KNBH, Channel 4 (now known as KNBC). Obed “Dad” Pickard passed away five years later on September 24, 1954, though his family continued to record and per- form through at least late 1957.

The Pickard family auditioned for NBC in Buffalo. Obed’s comedy songs im- pressed the NBC scout, and they soon signed a 40-week contract to appear in a new program called “The Cabin Door.” The newspapers in Nashville wrote long, glowing accounts of their triumph. The act next worked for the In- terwoven Stocking Company and were called the Interwoven Entertainers. The next year found them in Chicago doing “The Farm and Home Hour" for NBC, and Obed played a dramatic role in a play about a miner and his family. But in 1931, Mrs. Pickard became ill, and the group returned to Tennessee. Census records indicate the family was living in Los Angeles in 1940. Obed ap- peared as “Rocky,” a stage coach driver, in the 1940 Republic Pictures western, "Frontier Vengeance," starring Donald


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