Being the eldest daughter of the family, Loretta Lynn siblings grew up with her in the coal-mining hills of Kentucky. And their life was far from perfect.
Once the undisputed queen of country music, Lynn has achieved massive stardom within her career spanning six decades. She took home more than a dozen awards and released even more albums – while plenty of Loretta Lynn songs made it atop the chart that it’s already quite difficult to track.
But it actually wasn’t an easy road to fame for the country music legend.
Born in 1932, Loretta Lynn was the second child of eight children from a family of a coal miner in Butcher Holler. However, her early childhood years happened to be the worst economic downturn in history, and the family was not spared by the awful conditions brought by the Great Depression.
The Webbs lived in a rustic home in the mountains – about a mile from the main road. With only one room, the family also had to endure the challenges of having no electricity, no running water, and no indoor toilet. Her mother would tear out pages from magazines and newspapers to fill in the log walls’ gaps to protect them from the cold wind or keep the snow out.
Lynn would wear old burlap flour sacks to school and would often walk barefoot. Going to bed with an empty stomach has also become pretty normal.
While growing up, Lynn would help her mother take care of her siblings, which is how she started singing. When she was seven, she would put her four baby brothers and sisters to sleep by holding one of them a time in her arms, rocking back and forth and singing the songs her mother taught her – like “The Great Titanic.”
While the country singer’s family lacked worldly wealth, it is filled with love for each other – as well as a passion for music. The Webb family was actually one talented group of people.
Melvin Webb Jr.
Eldest of the Webb siblings, Melvin Jr., was named after his father. He lived away from the limelight with his wife, Bonnie Faye Webb, and their nine children. He died in 1993 at the age of 63.
Next to Lynn was his brother, Herman, who was born two years after her.
A lot has known Herman as the keeper of the family’s original home in Van Lear, Kentucky. Through the years, he gave personal guided tours to the childhood home of the country music legend, much to the delight of visitors and fans. He would, for instance, bring the visitors down the road for a glimpse at the dining room table where the future country superstar often ate before moving away as a teenager.
According to Herman, he has seen 200 to 300 cars drive up to the home that became famous because of Lynn’s song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
Herman passed away in 2018. He had three daughters with his wife, Patsy Jean.
Willie “Jay” Lee Webb
Just like her sister, Jay Lee has also pursued a career in music and is famous for his 1967 song, “I Come Home A-Drinkin’ (To a Worn-Out Wife Like You).”
He started playing the guitar when he was fifteen and eventually left school and moved to Washington to live with Lynn. He would sing in local honky-tonks and play in a local performing circuit. He then started playing the guitar on several records of Lynn. And later on, he wrote his own songs and co-wrote some of his sister’s hits.
He died in 1996 at age 59 after battling pancreatic cancer for more than two years.
Donald Ray Webb
Even though he chose to live a life away from the spotlight with his wife and four children, Donald showcased his gift of music when he wrote “Clock on the Wall.” It was included in Crystal Gayle’s 1978 compilation album I’ve Cried the Blue Right Out of My Eyes.
Peggy Sue Wright
Though her success as a country singer in the late 1960s was short, it was a productive one.
She started performing with Lynn and her brothers at places across Wabash, Indiana. Wright then turned out to be a featured act in Lynn’s early shows in the 1960s. She also helped write a few of Lynn’s compositions.
In 1969, she finally released her debut single. However, after releasing two albums, she left her record label.
Betty Ruth Hopkins
There are only a few things we know about Betty Ruth – this includes the fact that Loretta Lynn and husband Doolittle Lynn named the eldest among Loretta Lynn children after her, calling her Betty Sue.
Crystal Gayle is another prolific singer in the family, best known for her 1977 crossover hit, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” Gayle started her career in the 1960s – providing background vocals to her sister’s band. Eventually, she landed a recording contract with Decca Records and developed her own musical identity.
Clearly, Loretta Lynn siblings are more than incredible.