Jesse Stuart

Jesse Stuart bigraphy, stories - American writer

Jesse Stuart : biography

August 8, 1907 – February 17, 1984

Jesse Hilton Stuart (August 8, 1907 – February 17, 1984) was an American writer who is known for writing short stories, poetry, and novels about Southern Appalachia. Born and raised in Greenup County, Kentucky, Stuart relied heavily on the rural locale of Northeastern Kentucky for his writings. Stuart was named the poet laureate of Kentucky in 1954. He died at Jo-Lin nursing home in Ironton, Ohio, which is near his boyhood home.

Books About Jesse Stuart

  • Jesse Stuart: His Life and Works, by Everetta Love Blair (University of South Carolina Press, 1967)
  • Jesse Stuart, by Ruel E. Foster (Twayne, 1968)
  • Jesse Stuart: An Extraordinary Life, by James M. Gifford and Erin R. Kazee (Jesse Stuart Foundation, 2010)
  • Jesse: The Biography of an American Writer, Jesse Hilton Stuart, by H. Edward Richardson (McGraw-Hill, 1984)

Jesse Stuart State Nature Preserve

The natural settings of W Hollow were prominent throughout Stuart’s writings. Prior to his death he donated of woodlands in W Hollow to the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. The Jesse Stuart State Nature Preserve is dedicated to protecting the legacy of Stuart, and ensures that a significant portion of W Hollow will remain undeveloped in perpetuity. The trail system is open to the public from dawn to dusk all year long.

Early life

Stuart was born near Riverton, Greenup County, Kentucky, to Mitchell and Martha (Hilton) Stuart on August 8, 1907. In 1939, Stuart married Naomi Deane Norris, a school teacher; and they settled in W Hollow.


One day while Stuart was plowing in the field, he stopped and wrote the first line of a sonnet: "I am a farmer singing at the plow," the first line of the 703 sonnets he would collect in Man with a Bull-Tongue Plow (1934). The book was described by Irish poet George William Russell (who wrote poetry under the name of AE) as the greatest work of poetry to come out of America since Walt Whitman published Leaves of Grass. Stuart was made poet laureate of the state of Kentucky in 1954, and in 1961 he received the annual award from the American Academy of Poets.

Books by Jesse Stuart


  • Man with a Bull-Tongue Plow, E.P. Dutton & co., 1934
  • Album of Destiny, E. P. Dutton & co., inc., 1944
  • Kentucky is My Land, Dutton, 1952
  • Hold April, McGraw-Hill, 1962


  • Beyond Dark Hills, E.P. Dutton & company, inc., 1938; Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1996, ISBN 978-0-945084-53-2
    Dramatic Publishing, 1958, ISBN 978-0-87129-677-1
  • The Year of My Rebirth 1956; Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1991, ISBN 978-0-945084-17-4
  • To Teach, To Love, World Pub. Co., 1970; Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1987, ISBN 978-0-945084-02-0


  • Daughter of the Legend, McGraw-Hill, 1965; J. Stuart Foundation, 1994, ISBN 978-0-945084-42-6
    University Press of Kentucky, 1980, ISBN 978-0-8131-0150-7
  • Taps for Private Tussie, E.P. Dutton, 1943; World Pub. Co., 1969
  • University Press of Kentucky, 1986, ISBN 978-0-8131-0170-5
  • Hie to the Hunters Whittlesey House, 1950; Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1996, ISBN 978-0-945084-59-4
  • Mr. Gallion’s School, McGraw-Hill, 1967
  • The Land Beyond the River, McGraw-Hill, 1973, ISBN 9780070622418

For Young Readers

  • The thread that runs so true, C. Scribner’s Sons, 1950; Scribner, 1977, ISBN 978-0-684-15160-1
  • The Beatinest Boy Whittlesey House, 1953; Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1989, ISBN 978-0-945084-12-9
  • A Penny’s Worth of Character, Whittlesey House, 1954; Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1993, ISBN 978-0-945084-32-7
  • Red Mule 1955; Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1993, ISBN 978-0-945084-33-4
  • A Ride with Huey, the Engineer 1966; Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1988, ISBN 978-0-945084-10-5
  • Old Ben 1970; Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1992, ISBN 978-0-945084-22-8