About This Place
Dyess is a town in Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 515 according to the 2000 census. Dyess was founded in 1934. Johnny Cash's biography "Man in Black" describes Dyess as a planned community built as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program, with streets laid out in a wheel pattern. According to Dyess history, the town, which is actually a colony, was originally built as an Agricultural Cooperative Project. It was named after W.R. Dyess, who was the first Works Progress Administrator in the state of Arkansas. The main purpose of the town's administration was to give poor families a chance to start over with land that they could work toward owning.
The original township had 500 individually owned and operated farms which were each 20 or 40 acres (160,000 m2) each. The colony was made up of 15,144 acres (61.29 km2).
It is best known for being the boyhood home of singer and songwriter Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash grew up on 4791 West County Road 924, Dyess, AR. The house is now owned by Arkansas State University. Dyess was also the childhood home of other famous artists and musicians. Gene Williams, Tommy Cash Buddy Jewell and keyboardist Jim Austerman, grandson of Dyess natives Harvey and Ruth Headley. Johnny's father, Ray Cash, and Harvey Headley, worked together in the blacksmith shop. A movie, Walk the Line, was released in 2005 about the life and music of Johnny Cash. The movie, part of which was filmed in Dyess, starred Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick, and Dallas Roberts.