Merle Haggard is one of the pioneers of "the Bakersfield sound" in country music. And one of the genre's leading singers, songwriters and instrumentalists.
Father: James Francis Haggard; mother: Flossie Mae Harp
A child of the Great Depression, Merle's family came to the Bakersfield area in California after their barn burned down at Checotah, OK. He was born shortly thereafter in an old boxcar serving as the family's makeshift shelter.
Merle Haggard has been married five times, with five children from two of those marriages.
Married Bonnie (Campbell) Owens, 28 Jan 1968 @ Minden, Douglas, Nevada, div. 27 Nov 1978 @ Kern County, California (or Nov 1976?) Owens had previously been married to another Bakersfield musician, Buck Owens
Married Leona Bell Williams, 7 Oct 1978 @ Minden, Douglas, Nevada, div. 3 Dec 1984 @ Shasta County, California
Married Deborah J. Parret, 1 Jun 1985 @ Shasta County, California
Married Theresa Ann Lane, 8 Dec 1994 @ Clark County, Nevada
As a young man, Haggard spent some time in prison, due to a botched robbery. This followed a series of lesser criminal issues, including in juvenile detention complete with escapes. He was eventually sent to San Quentin.
Two of Haggard's prison associates ended up on death row, motivating him to turn his life around. He worked a variety of jobs, eventually finding his way to music. His songwriting reflects his life experience.
Years later in 1972, California Governor Ronald Reagan cleared his record with a full pardon.
Haggard points to Ferlin Husky as an influence on his singing
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Merle by comparing test results with other carriers of his ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA.
Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree: