David "Stringbean" Akeman
David Akeman was born in Annville, KY on June 15, 1915. He became known in the 1930's for his country humor and banjo picking. He got the name Stringbean because he was so lean and lanky.
Hee Haw brought the lovable Stringbean into the homes of many new fans. He was as modest and unassuming off screen as he was on TV. Though he and his wife, Estelle, drove a new Cadillac, they lived in a tiny cabin near Ridgetop, TN, about 20 miles from downtown Nashville. Grandpa Jones lived nearby, and visited with String and Estelle on a daily basis. Their lives seemed content and blissful.
Because he was of an impressionable age during the Great Depression, he developed a strong distrust of banks. It became a well-known fact around Nashville that he carried around a wad of money in the bib pocket of his overalls. Fellow Opry stars and friends, fearing for his safety, tried with little success to get him to put his money into a bank.
On Sunday morning, November 11, 1973, Grandpa Jones awoke and saw no smoke coming from Stringbean's chimney. He walked over to the Akemans' cabin to find his long-time friends dead, victims of a robbery that turned into a double homicide. The cabin was ransacked, but very few possessions were missing. The community was devastated.
Twenty years after the murder, residents of String's old cabin saw tiny bits of paper falling into their fireplace. They found that Stringbean had stashed his money behind a brick in the chimney, and mice had gnawed on it until all that was left was shreds of the money, estimated at $20,000.
Stringbean and his wife Estelle are buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Goodlettsville, TN.
More Stringbean Links
Kentucky Konnections - a great bio and links to other Kentuckians
Buy the episode of A & E's ''City Confidential'' about Stringbean's murder
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If you like this page and good old classic country you'll appreciate this video from A&E