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Smoky Mountain Square Dances

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Smoky Mountain Square Dances

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Biographical information obtained from a telephone conversation between Bob Dalsemer and David Hendrix's son Charles, June 10, 1999. Charles had donated to the John C. Campbell Folk School a manuscript in progress that his father had started, an expanded version of Hendix's earlier book (1941) on Smoky Mountain Square Dances.

David B. Hendrix (1898-1962) was born in the country near Byington, Knox County, TN. His father was a rural mail carrier and farmer. David graduated from Karnes High School in 1916 and was class valedictorian. He served in the Army during the latter part of World War I but did not see duty overseas. He graduated from U.T. (Knoxville) in 1923 or 1924 with a major in agricultural education.

He married Lida Rule, “a city girl” from Knoxville, and taught vocation agriculture (“vo ag”) in Knox County schools, then in Polk County schools between 1924 and 1930. He and Lida had three children: two boys born in 1925 (Charles) and 1928 and a girl born in 1930.

In 1930, he became the county agent in Sevier County and continued until he retired in 1960. After retirement bought a trailer / camper and with Lida travelled across the country. He suffered a heart attack in the fall of 1961 while in Idaho. After recovery he went to visit his daughter in Oak Harbor, WA and then to visit his sister in California (where he called square dance over the phone to Gatlinburg).

Not much is known about how he learned to dance or call. Apparently his father had been a dancer. His son Charles remembers his grandfather dancing energetically in his 80’s.

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This Item is related to Item: Douglas Kennedy on American dances, 1939