Elvis' mother Gladys Love Smith was born on April 25, 1912 Pontotoc County, Mississippi. Gladys' parents were Robert Lee Smith & Octavia Luvenia "Doll" Mansell. Octavia got her nickname "Doll" because she was a very beautiful & fragile woman. She gave birth to nine children. Was bedridden most of her life, dying at 59 from tuberculosis. Gladys' father Robert was a handsome man with black hair. Vernon and Gladys Wedding He was a cotton farmer & an occasional moonshiner. He would pick up odd jobs to support his large family.Gladys & Vernon How the passed on their Southern values to their son
In his fifties, he died suddenly of pneumonia, leaving Gladys then 19 to work in Tupelo as a seamstress to help support the family. Gladys had black hair and dark eyes. As a youth she liked to play basketball. She played the position of forward and was very good at it. She also loved music and dancing. Vernon was tall and fair haired. He, too, liked music and had a good singing voice. He also enjoyed working on cars. In Tupelo, Mississippi they met and fell in love. They eloped on June 17, 1933 and were married in Ponotoc County. Their son Elvis, destined for fame, and his stillborn twin Jessie were born January 8, 1935 in their small home in Tupelo.
Various authors have researched Elvis' genealogy to varying degrees of accuracy. Although an official genealogy has not yet been completed by Graceland Archives, there is evidence that Elvis' heritage includes Welsh, English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch, Cherokee & Jewish ancestry.
Like all proud parents they love to talk about their son who was born a twin January 8, 1935. “We had twins,” Gladys whispers. “and we matched their names. Jesse Garon and Elvis Aron. Jesse died when he was born. Maybe that’s why Elvis has always been so dear to us.’ Elvis, they go on to explain, was a family name, handed down from one generation to the next, its origins lost in time. When told that both the Elvis and the Presley family’s genealogy remain important in England today they remarked they didn’t know that there was a connection. “I never heard tell of any of my kinfolk coming over from anywhere,” said Vernon. “I guess it must have been a long way back. We just seem always to have been here. And it’s the same with Gladys’ family, the Smiths.” Elvis Family Photos
The bond between mother, father and son was always strong. Vernon recalls, “When we went swimming, Elvis would have fits if he saw me dive. He was as afraid something would happen to me.” The crisis of being separated from his father was noted when Elvis was about five years old. “Round where we lived in East Tupelo seems there was a fire almost every night and we’d all go running to see what we could do to help the people,” Vernon tells.
Although flames were visible and crackling Vernon was still dashing in and out the house carrying furniture. Gladys takes up the story. “Elvis was sure his daddy was going to get hurt that he screamed and cried. I had to hold him to keep him from running in after Vernon. So I said, right sharp, ‘Elvis, you just stop that. He ‘s all right. Your daddy knows what he’s doing.’ He quieted right down.”
Having once accepted a belief in his father’s judgment Elvis has held to it. There is no indication that he went through ever the usual normal period of adolescent rebellion against parental authority. For what may have been substituted as rebellion was channelled against the family’s economic situation which often made Elvis’ life difficult in teenage-hood. However the love of his parents was not used as an excuse to keep small Elvis from learning right from wrong. “I’ve spanked him many a time. A child doesn’t mind it when his mother corrects him. But his daddy never whipped him, ” her voice trailed off and in an instant she correct herself. “I’ll take that back. “There was a time Elvis stole the Coke bottle. That was one time Elvis caught it.” He hadn’t yet started school she explains and their Tupelo neighbors the Harrises adored the blond-headed tyke. “I saw him start back from their house carrying a handful of cookies,” his mother explains, “and then he picked up this empty Coke bottle from their porch.”In her opinion a Coke bottle meant cash and candy to Elvis for he had seen other children collect them and take them to the store for refund. It was time to teach a lesson “I asked him if Mrs. Harris had given him that bottle.” When he admitted she had not his mother issued orders. “You take it right back to her and tell her you stole it.” Dejected he trudged off. A moment later the neighbor called across lots to say Elvis had done no wrong. What’s more, she had several more he might have. The usually gentle Gladys remained adamant. “He has to learn,” she said. “Send him home.” At home Vernon waited with a switch. “His daddy didn’t hit him but two three licks,” says Gladys, “But none of us ever forgot it.”.
Every teenager boy dreams of doing something terrific! Making that sudden and smashing success which will assure his place in the adult world. If he is so rash as to voice that dream he swiftly hears the adult counsel, "Don’t kid yourself." Yet, there was an 18-year-old lad, who lived in poverty, who dared to dream his dream and then one day in the summer of 1953 his dream came true. At 21 Elvis Aron Presley has become a national legend. Parents gossip about him. Critics argue about him. Rock n roll fans love him. His name showed four hit records simultaneously, all in first place on Top, Tunes and Talent. His is the fastest selling album RCA-Victor has ever issued. Sales of his "Heartbreak Hotel" are nearing the 2 million-dollar mark and his Hollywood screen test promises he will further enhance his fame when he becomes a motion picture star.
Most Broadway promoters agree, "This guy tops Sinatra! When bobbysoxers swooned in Times Square, everyone knows that response was hyped for Sinatra had one of the best press agent in the business, Presley hasn’t even got a press agent. He’s set the first all by himself. The guy’s a natural!" He also is a good son, a good neighbours, and a good citizen of Memphis, his beloved hometown. Tupelo, Mississippi where Elvis Presley was born is a small city in the heart of the cotton country a Deep South down. It is difficult for a Northerner to understand the depth of the people’s troubles after the Civil War. A few of the favored and fashionable surmounted their difficulties and flourished. However others lived in genteel poverty and for most Southern folk all the signs of good living were lost. By the time the Depression of the 30’s dumped an extra load on their backs many had found that their only defence was a fierce independence and strong family ties would allow them their only resource and joy.
It was in that setting that Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys Love Smith fell in love. "We should have been in school but we eloped," Gladys recalls. "We didn’t elope very far. We just went down the road five miles to Vernon and got married," Vernon concludes. They reiterated they history jointly with terse statements, which complimented each other. But while their words were plain and stripped of romantic overtones the look which they exchanged was eloquent evidence that the bond between is just as strong as it was when they were runaway school kids. They make an attractive couple: Vernon is a handsome, wide-shouldered athletic six-footer of 40 whose sandy hair (now turned grey) curls much in the same manner of his famous son.
However, it is obvious that Elvis has inherited his mother’s coloring. Her once blonde hair (now dyed black for effect) and her velvety blue eyes can both snap and smoulder. Both parents have an unpretentious deep natural dignity. They speak frankly about their lack of formal education but their lively native intelligence makes them intriguing conversationalists.