The Concordia Sentinel provided an article on the upcoming release of the book in its March 7th edition. Thank you to Joey Martin for his coverage. The article follows.
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Ferriday’s Famous Cousins – Topic of New Book
By Joey Martin
“Unconquered: The Saga of Cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley,” will go on sale May 1.
J.D. Davis’ new biography of cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley, born within a 12-month span in Ferriday during the Great Depression, draws from research and personal connections with friends and family, Davis said.
He said his book “recreates the irresistible and life-changing power of music” the cousins shared in their paths to fame.
“Their journeys were set alongside important landmarks in pop-culture history,” Davis said.
Davis said he has been a fan of the music of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley much of his life. He spent several years researching the lives of these men for this book.
Davis also explains the kinship between the three.
“One of the most intriguing facets of these three men is their kinship,” Davis said. “I explain their ties. We also provide and easy-to-follow diagram to ensure that readers clearly understand their familial relationship, as it is not a simple one.”
Davis explains that Leroy and Arilla Lewis had 11 children. Among them were Elmo, who was Jerry’s father; Ada, Jimmy’s paternal grandmother; and Irene, Mickey’s mother. Jerry and Jimmy are first cousins, once removed (Jerry’s father and Jimmy’s grandmother were siblings). Jerry and Mickey are first cousins (Jerry’s father and Mickey’s mother were siblings). Jimmy and Mickey are first cousins, once removed (Jimmy’s grandmother and Mickey’s mother were siblings).
“In addition, Jerry’s mother, Mamie Herron Lewis, and Jimmy’s mother, Minnie Bell Herron Swaggart, were sisters – two of seven children of John William and Theresa Herron,” Davis said. “Accordingly, Jerry and Jimmy are also first cousins on the Herron side of the family and double cousins overall. The relationship between Jerry and Jimmy is particularly fascinating, made all the more compelling by the similarities of their DNA. As many people with whom we have spoken have declared, their stories, both separately and together, would seem unbelievable if written as fiction.”
Davis was raised in the town of Quitman in East Texas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Texas and later received a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University. He is a businessman and entrepreneur, has three daughters, and lives near Dallas.