Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing one of Alabama’s greatest love stories – that of legendary singer/songwriter Hank Williams Sr. and Audrey Sheppard Williams. Sure, it ended in tragedy but, for a time, it was a high-profile and loving union. It also resulted in the birth of Hank Williams Jr., so there’s that.
On one of our trips last year, Sweetums and I visited Andalusia, Ala., for the first time. Click here to read about that trip.
One of the stops on that trip was the spot where Hank and Audrey married in 1944. At the time, it was a service station and garage owned by M.A. Bovett. Just 10 days after Audrey divorced her first husband, the couple was wed inside the garage by the local justice of the peace.
Hank’s heavy drinking led the couple to divorce May 29, 1952, just months before his unexpected death of heart trouble at the age of 29. The site of the garage is now marked by a historical marker and a mural painted in 2016 by Wes Hardin.
The marker says:
HANK AND AUDREY WILLIAMS MARRIED DEC. 15, 1944
Nineteen-year-old Hank Williams was singing with a medicine show in Pike County in 1943 when he met Audrey Sheppard. She was estranged from her husband, with whom she had a daughter, Lycrecia Ann, born Aug. 13, 1941. Hank and Audrey lived in Andalusia while Hank’s band performed at the Riverside Inn on the east bank of the Conecuh River at River Falls. Ten days after her divorce, Justice of the Peace M. A. Bovett married them at John G. Wright, Sr’s garage in this building. The marriage inspired many of his songs. Randall Hank Williams, Jr, was born May 26, 1949. Hank and Audrey divorced May 29, 1952, seven months before his death. They are buried side by side in Montgomery.
Audrey, born in Banks, Ala., lived until the age of 52, dying in 1975.