Dolly Rebecca Parton was born January 19, 1946, in a one-room cabin on the banks of the Little Pigeon River in Pittman Center, Tennessee, a very small community in Sevier County in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. She is the fourth of 12 children born to Avie Lee Caroline (née Owens; 1923–2003) and Robert Lee Parton Sr. (1921–2000). Mr. Parton (known as "Lee") worked in the mountains of East Tennessee, first as a sharecropper and later tending his own small farm and acreage. He also worked temporary side jobs to make ends meet. He was illiterate. Despite his lack of formal education, Parton has said that he was one of the smartest people she has known. Avie Lee was homemaker for the large family. Her 11 pregnancies (the tenth being twins) in 20 years made her a mother of 12 by age 35. Often in poor health, she still managed to keep house and entertain her children with songs and tales of mountain folklore. Avie Lee's father, Jake Owens, was a Pentecostal preacher, so Parton and her siblings all attended church regularly. Parton has long credited her father for her business savvy, and her mother's family for her musical abilities. While she was still very young, Dolly Parton's family moved to a farm on nearby Locust Ridge. Most of her cherished memories of youth happened there, and it is the place about which she wrote the song "My Tennessee Mountain Home" in the 1970s. Parton bought back the Locust Ridge property in the 1980s. Two of her siblings are no longer living; Larry died shortly after birth in 1955, and Floyd died in 2018.
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