Historical marker #2535 celebrates the marriage of legendary country musicians Johnny Cash and June Carter in Franklin, Kentucky on March 1, 1968. It also commemorates the wedding of musicans Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright in 1937.
Franklin's location on the Tennessee boarder, combined with the Kentucky law that allowed couples to purchase a marriage license and tie the knot on the same day, helps explain why the weddings for these two famous couples occured in a relatively small town, instead of amid the glitz of Nashville.
Johnny and June got married during a brake in a whirlwind of a tour during which they also recorded a concert at Folsom Prison. The resulting record was released a few months after the wedding and helped catapult the couple to enduring country music stardom. As Cash-Carter historian Mark Stielper suggested, in many ways the marriage in Franklin represents a watershed in the couple's lives and in country music and popular culture in the United States, generally.
The marker's dedication was the first event in the first annual Love in Bloom festival put on by the Simpson County Tourisim Commission. More than 100 folks showed up to see the marker dedicated and were treated to a delightful program. Highlights included a welcome from Dan Ware, who led the marker project as director of Simpson County Tourism, an invocation by Rev. Chris Morgan of the Franklin First United Methodist Church where the wedding took place, a moving dedication address by Mark Stielper, friend and personal historian of Johnny and June Cash, and a marker unveiling by Ms. Carlene Carter, the daughter of June Carter Cash, one of the guests at the wedding, and recording artist in her own right.
The marker reads:
Country music icons Johnny Cash
and June Carter were married here
on March 1, 1968, one week after
Cash proposed on stage in Ontario,
Canada. The couple came to
Franklin because in Kentucky they
could purchase a license and marry
on the same day, whereas their
home state of Tennessee required
a longer waiting period. The
wedding became national news.
WALK THE LINE
Johnny Cash and June Carter were
not the first country music stars
to cross the state line to marry
in Franklin, Kentucky. Kitty Wells
married fellow musician Johnnie
Wright here on October 30, 1937.
Both couples remained married
until separated by death many
years later. Johnny Cash and
Kitty Wells were inducted into
the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The marker was dedicated on June 1, 2018.