An American historian in the 19th century described the frontier vanguard in the following words:
“Thus the backwoodsmen lived on the clearings they had hewed out of the everlasting forest; a grim, stern people, strong and simple, powerful for good and evil, swayed by gusts of stormy passion, the love of freedom rooted in their hearts’ core. Their lives were harsh and narrow; they gained their bread by their blood and sweat, in the unending struggle with the wild ruggedness of nature. They suffered terrible injuries at the hands of the red men, and on their foes they waged a terrible warfare in return. They were relentless, revengeful, suspicious, knowing neither ruth nor pity; they were also upright, resolute, and fearless, loyal to their friends, and devoted to their country. In spite of their many failings, they were of all men the best fitted to conquer the wilderness and hold it against all comers.
The Anglo-American 18th-century frontier, like that of the Spanish, was one of war. The word “Texan” was not yet part of the English language. But in the bloody hills of Kentucky and on the middle border of Tennessee the type of man was already made. ”
These were the McLemores who left Tennessee for Texas.
Owen McLemore was born in 1791 in Tennessee and married Anabel March in 1812. Together they worked a sustenance farm in Tennessee and began to build a family in East Tennessee, seeing their first son Jacob McLemore come into the world on Christmas Day 1818. Anabel gave birth to six other sons before dying during childbirth 1832 at which time, Owen took his six surviving sons to West Texas (see songs, “Blinkin’ Back a Tear” and “My Anabel“).
Jacob “Christmas” McLemore, as he was known his entire life, was Jake McLemore’s great-great-great-grandfather. There was another Jacob McLemore, “Christmas” McLemore’s grandson, Jacob Mac McLemore (1879-1977), who first got oil fever when he was 15 running off to the 1894 oil strike in Corsicana. Next was Oil City in 1906, where made a killing, lost it, made and lost other fortunes before ultimately dying at the ripe old age of 98 without a cent to his name, but rich in memories which was all he handed down to his great-grandson and namesake, Jake McLemore.
Jake McLemore’s father, Charlie McLemore, was small businessman at the J.M. Guffey Petroleum Company of Oil City, Louisiana where Jake was born in 1959 and where he spent his early life. Charlie moved the family to Shreveport in 1968 after he got a job at United Gas Corporation. Shreveport would be Jake’s home until he graduated high school, and went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jake decided to stay in Nashville after graduating from Vandy with a degree in Business Administration. After investing in several businesses, he came to own a bar, which he had won in a poker game. He promptly changed the name and settled down as proprietor of McLemore’s Bar in 1985 (see song, “McLemore’s“).
By that time Jake had already married and had a son, Lee, in 1983. But Jake’s happiness and home were shattered when his wife, Amelia, was killed in a car accident when a drunk driver ran a red light, leaving Jake to raise his son alone. Soon after graduating from high school, Lee McLemore enlisted in the army and was deployed to Iraq.
But before he left for Iraq, in July 2003, Lee’s girlfriend Ellen Brewer gave birth to a son whom they named Charles after his grandfather Charlie McLemore. Lee and Ellen secretly married shortly before Lee shipped out for Iraq that December. Jake knew nothing of this son and lost touch with Ellen Brewer. It was only much later that, largely out of curiosity, Charles looked Jake up and established contact.
On March 31, 2004, five U.S. soldiers were killed by a large IED on a road a few miles outside of Fallujah, one of the soldiers who died that day was Lee McLemore.
Jake kept the bar going for several years after Lee died but ended up selling it in 2007 and bought some land outside of Shreveport, Louisiana not far from Oil City. He had fond memories of fishing on Caddo Lake with his father and settled into that kind of life again.
It didn’t take long for Jake to become bored with retirement, and he bought a diner in Shreveport where Pearl Robison happened to enter one day in January 2010 (see song, “Pearl + Jake“). For five years Jake and Pearl had a turbulent romantic relationship, before Pearl took to the road again (see song “Hit the Road“), heading west on U.S. 80, leaving Jake heart broken at 56 (see songs, “The River and Jake” and “The Red River Flows“).
Unbeknownst to him Pearl was pregnant when she left, and gave birth to a daughter, Sadie Jo Robison. Pearl initially had no intention of letting Jake know about this child, but she eventually did tell Jake (see song “Terrell“), however, nearly two years after she had left Shreveport. Jake immediately proposed to Pearl, and they got married and moved back to Shreveport to raise Sadie Jo together.
Jake hired someone to run the diner and went back to a life of fishing and shooting the breeze with his friend Mike Broussard and other men from the area. Then one day in 2016 his grandson, Charles, walked into his life.
Jake is currently living with Pearl and Sadie Jo outside Shreveport, Louisiana, and maintaining a close relationship with Charles, helping him to grow into a sturdy young man in the long line of McLemore men.