This is a family picture of Beth and her family taken around
1900, showing her parents John Humble Whitson and Annie
Slater Whitson, seated in the middle. In the back row to the
left is Alice Whitson, in the middle is Russell Whitson,
and on the right is Beth herself around the age of 20.
Songwriter Beth Slater Whitson was born in the Goodrich community
of Hickman County, Tennessee on December 1, 1879. Her parents were
John Humble Whitson and Anna Slater Whitson; her father being the
co-editor of the Hickman Pioneer newspaper. Beth began her extensive
song writing career while living in Hickman County.
With the occasional assistance of her younger sister, Alice Whitson Norton
(a prolific writer herself), she composed the lyrics to approximately four
hundred songs and wrote poetry and short stories, many of which were
pubished in popular magazines of the earlytwentieth century. Beth is also
credited with writing the screenplay for a movie entitled "Compassion".
Her first major song hit was "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland" in 1909,
which was followed the next year by "Let Me Call You Sweetheart"; a
song that is still preformed today.
Historical marker on Highway 230 West
in the Nunnelly Community of Hickman
In 1913 Whitson and her family moved to Nashville where she and sister Alice continued to write and publish. Beth's local biographer, Grace Baxter Thompson, remarked at the dedication of a state historical marker to Whitson's career in 1978: "She gave beauty and color and enjoyment to her community from which those qualities have been far-reaching and long-lasting"**
** Marion C. Fussell, "Memorial to Beth Slater Whitson," History of Hickman County (1996), Page 322.
The above text is from "The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture" and was written by Carroll Van West, of M.T.S.U.
Beth was not only a prolific song writer, but she also was a gifted poet and a writer of wonderful short stories. One of those
stories, "The Knitter Of Liege" was named as a National top fifty short story for the year 1916. She is also credited with
writing one screenplay and is believed to have written two more. Not to be outdone, Beth's little sister Alice, also became
widely known as a writer of prose and short stories. She also wrote several books. Most were children's topics, but some
had more adult tones. One was even on how to write and how and where to market one's writings.
At left is a picture taken from a watercolor portrait of Beth Slater Whitson. The portrait was painted by Dr. I. B. Beale in 1989 and was given to benefit the "Fairview Academy Project", a non-profit organization dedicated to renovating a former private school into a cultural activity center in Centerville. Unfortunately, the project ran aground for lack of suitable funds, and the Hickman County Historical Society now has possession of this portrait. Click on the portrait itself for a better view of it and the painter as well. Beth Slater Whitson died on April 26, 1930, and is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee. Her sister Alice Whitson Norton is buried nearby. She was born on August 31, 1885 and died on February 4, 1961. THE INCOMPLETE WORKS OF THE
SISTERS OF HAPPY HOLLOW
BETH SLATER WHITSON ALICE WHITSON NORTON View Beth's Published Music View Alice's Published Music Read Beth's Published Short Stories Read Alice's Published Short Stories Read Beth's Published Poetry Read Alice's Published Poetry Read Published News Articles About Beth View Published News Articles about Alice Beth's Professional Screenplay Information Alice's Published Theatrical Productions Other Interesting Items Related to Beth Other Interesting Items Relkated to Alice You will need Adobe Reader to view some of these files. Get if free by clicking here To learn more about Beth Slater Whitson and sister Alice Whitson Norton, or to purchase a copy of
Grace Baxter Thompson's "Dreamland Girl - An Anthological Biography of Beth Slater Whitson",
contact the Hickman County Historical Society at 931-729-3279.
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