Jett Williams sings “I Can’t Help It”
Jett Williams, born Antha Belle Jett, is the daughter of Country legend, Hank Williams. Her fascinating story began before she was even born in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father, Hank, had a brief relationship with her mother, Bobbie Jett, before his second marriage to Billie Jean Horton. Hank had filed for shared custody of the child, but passed away just five days before Jett was born and she was abandoned by the mother. In the provisions made by Hank, he requested that his mother, Lillie Williams Stone, provide for the child should something happen to him and he was not personally able to care for the child. So when Jett turned one, she was legally adopted by her grandmother. Under her care, Antha Belle Jett was renamed to Catherine Yvonne Stone.
Sadly, Lillie Williams Stone passed away in 1955, shortly after the adoption. But Hank had also requested that if something should happen to his mother and she was unable to care for the child, his sister, Irene Smith, would take responsibility. Sadly, the sister and the rest of the Williams family made no claim to the child, leaving Jett to become a ward of the state.
Jett was adopted again, this time by a prosperous Mobile, Alabama businessman, Wayne Deupree and his wife, Louise. Jett was renamed again, Cathy Louise Deupree. Williams grew up under the care of her adoptive parents and did not learn the identity of her biological parents until the 1980’s when she was 21 years old. Her mother presented Jett with a $2000 legacy another Williams relative had left to Jett on behalf of Hank and advised Jett of her possible lineage–though she acknowledged, they had no proof.
After learning the identity of her birth father, Jett began researching and became convinced that Hank had indeed wanted her and had made provisions for her to be a recognized member of his family. Despite discovering that Hank Williams had indeed executed a custody agreement three months before his daughter’s birth, Jett had to go to extreme legal lengths to prove the relationship. She filed a custody case with the help of investigative attorney, Keith Adkinson, who helped her prove her biological right to part of the Hank Williams estate. She married Adkinson shortly thereafter and they remained together until his death in 2016.
On October 26, 1987, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that Jett was a victim of fraud and judicial error which awarded her with half of her father’s inheritance. Her half-brother, Hank Williams Jr. appealed the case but his efforts were unsuccessful and the two have come to an understanding of Jett’s relationship to her father.
Jett Williams pursued a career in music and was given some rights to distribute her father’s music, including the unreleased recordings of “Mother’s Best Flour Show,” which was distributed on Time-Life. Jett has a fascinating autobiography available, called “Ain’t Nothin’ as Sweet as My Baby,” and has released a number of her own songs. At one point, she toured with several members of her father’s original band, the Drifting Cowboys.
Learn more about Jett Williams by visiting her Facebook page HERE.