Peetie Wheatstraw gets his headstone

June 6, 2011

Peetie Wheatstraw was honored Saturday.

This from our correspondent Chuck Roscopf, in re: my column of May 29:

The Delta Music Trail Marker and grave marker were dedicated in Cotton Plant yesterday. It was a good event and well attended, despite the heat.

Peetie’s last surviving nephew, Jewell Bunch, of Cotton Plant was present, along with great nephews James, Eddie, Alex, and Theodis. Beth Weidower of the National Trust for Historic Preservation was present. She was very instrumental in the effort. Sterling Billingsley, Bubba Sullivan, Butch Wilson and I were present for the Sonny Boy Blues Society. Eddie Bunch and his group sang a Peetie tune. Eddie’s son, William, played guitar and keyboard, and I swear he was the spitting image of Peetie. David Evans came and sang two of Peetie’s songs,”‘Don’t Hang my Clothes (on No Barbwire “Line)” and “Hard Working Man.” That was classic. And David brought with him Tony Russell of London who writes for a blues magazine there.

Eddie Bunch led a prayer at the dedication of the gravemarker at the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church north of Cotton Plant. I’ve attached a photo of Eddie at the gravemarker. The back of the marker reads, “Placed 2011 by the Bunch Family, Friends of Peetie, and the Sonny Boy Blues Society, Blues Aid, Helena, AR’. The guitar spray was placed at the gravesite by two dear friends of mine, Laney Gradus from NYC, and Ellen Howe Gannon from Hillsdale, TX.

And Gov. Beebe made a proclamation making June 4 Peetie Wheatstraw day, which added a nice finishing touch.

So Peetie got his marker, times two.

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