Earl Hamner, Jr. Turns 90 Years Old Today – Nelson County, VA Native & Walton’s Creator

™©2009-2013 Blue Ridge Life - Photo By Tommy Stafford - Earl Hamner, Jr (right) shakes hands with Mr & Mrs. Paul Saunders of Piney River in a 2009 visit back to Nelson County, VA Hamner's birthplace and the inspiration for the long running television series, The Walton's. Hamner turns 90 years old today - July 10, 2013.
™©2009-2013 Blue Ridge Life – Photo By Tommy Stafford – Earl Hamner, Jr (right) shakes hands with Mr & Mrs. Paul Saunders of Piney River in a 2009 visit back to Nelson County, VA Hamner’s birthplace and the inspiration for the long running television series, The Walton’s. Hamner turns 90 years old today – July 10, 2013.

Nelson County, VA

90 years ago today Earl Hamner, Jr came into this world. He was born, at then, a small medical hospital clinic in Schuyler, Virginia.

©™2005-2013 Blue Ridge Life : Earl Hamner, Jr (back left) poses in a room at the very place where he was born on July 10, 1923. BRLM Publishers Tommy & Yvette Stafford along with James Person (right back) and his family celebrated Earl’s return visit in August of 2005 to his birthplace. Person wrote a biography on Hamner several years ago.

I have become friends with Earl Hamner over the past 8 years. I first talked to him back in July 2005 when a theater was opened in his honor here in Nelson. (The Hamner Theater has since transitioned out here in Nelson, but remains on a traveling circuit in Central Virginia. I’ll never forget it. I’d placed a call to his cell phone, left a message, and not long after that he called back. I was having lunch at (the now closed) Anderson’s Grocery in Avon. The voice sounded just like the one we’ve all become accustomed to during the intro to The Walton’s and as it closed.

It’s always easy for me to remember Earl’s birthday, ironically it falls on my and Yvette’s anniversary. Subtract 80 years from his birthdate and you have what we are celebrating this year!

Earl Hamner holding our son Adam Stafford back in 2009 during a visit to Nelson. Adam was about a year old in this picture.

Over the years we became good friends and have stayed in touch often either by email or telephone. Earl has occasionally penned several articles in our magazine over the years as well.

“Received the latest issue of Blue Ridge Life. I was thrilled and gratified to find the story on you know who on Page 30. It was generous of you to include it and I am grateful that you still consider me newsworthy. What a live issue! I wanted to be there and take part in every activity you all wrote about from Mario’s Luncy right down to Rockfish Valley Foundation Kite Festival with the rest of the kids,” Earl told me in a recent email about a story we did on him receiving recognition from the Virginia State Legislature.

This has been a tough week for fans of The Waltons. We told you about the death of Joe Conley who played the character of Ike Godsey on the show. He died on Sunday – July 7, 2013

Earl’s health is amazingly good for a man celebrating 90 years on this earth. He’s still active in writing and has recently published several new books in the past several years. He’s genuine, as real as they come, and as nice of a man that that you could ever meet.

Today Earl lives in the Hollywood Hills of California and maintains an office in nearby Studio City.

Happy Birthday Earl, from all of us back here in Nelson!

I’ll sign off as he so often does to me and Yvette, but he uses California instead.

Virginia Hugs,
Tommy, Yvette, Adam & Peyton


  1. Dear Blue Ridge Life Magazine:

    I enjoyed your piece on Earl Hamner. But did you know that Comedian Bill Cosby has roots in Nelson County as well? I am from Buckingham and have written a book about my distant cousin, I have a copy of the geneology if you’d like to take a look. I think it would make an interesting article in your magazine. Thanks

  2. I am Earl’s 6th cousin (once removed) and live in San Diego. I would like to meet him. Can someone please send me his address, phone number or email so that we can communicate? My Mother was a Hamner through John Arthur Hamner. Thanks!

  3. Dear Earl Hammer. I hope you know how beloved you and your family is. I stop everything to listen to your voice narrate at the beginning of The Walton’s. I do not need new programs to watch, as long as I have The Walton’s, The Andy Griffith Show, Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie! You are a remarkable man and I would like nothing better than to be in the same room with you and hear you reminisce. You have given the world a priceless gift. Thank you and may God Bless you always. A loving fan!

  4. Thank you mr hamner for your, inspiring storys, I have watched and love the waltons for many yrs as my children and grandchildren have.. Thank you again…

  5. Thank you mr hamner and famley, we, injoy the storys over and over thanks to insp. Station for providing the channel for us to injoy the waltons, and your stories.. god bless…

  6. Mr. Hamner,
    I have been watching all the rerun episodes of The Waltons on the Hallmark Channel. I have enjoyed them so much. Although I am a native Californian, my husbands family is from the hills of Wise Co., VA and Letcher Co., KY. His parents and siblings transplanted to CA in early 50’s but he has taken me back there to visit relatives twice. I remember watching some original episodes back in the 70’s when I was a new wife and mother but now I have real appreciation of your work. The cast was so outstanding in the characters they played. In almost every episode, I find myself laughing at the antics of grandma & grandpa and crying at the heartbreaking drama of the depression era. Thank you again for the story telling. I hope this reaches you.

  7. Hi its Brad from Hamilton, Ontario canada I’ve been a bit busy with my book and i almost forgot which day was your birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mr Hamner . Your a proud 29 years old and I’m glad i could wish you a happy birthday i know is soon but you have helped me so much by answering my emails and willing me to continue and having you wish me luck was awesome coming from a busy man and gentleman that i will forever call friend. Although you and i have never met we chatted a few times over the last 5 or 6 years where you could you responded to my questions and warm regards. I hope you and your family or well. I finished my book instead of an epic saga lol i wrote a time four page dalliance of my life transposed to another human who i m glad i wasn’t i found whilst writing about my character i was writing about me and it got too personal and i had to stop. Im a nice o enough guy but jeez Earl I’ve done some dumb things looking for love and a life worth living in stead I’ve writing stuff that is opposite of what i wanted. Then i tried watching and reading about you and i say hey i tried and thats all that matters. I can see you and your me and sandra having tea and you start to read my story and you nod your head smile a little and say to me this sounds like i wrote it why is this? Well Earl its your inspiration I’m happy with it its a little riesque but over all i think a good short story .With echo of your style the way you bring all things to life. And i can see the colors of the scene and feel the energy of our protagonist Thanks to you and dam it i like it not love just like it.My life i could have changed a word here or there or a scene but then i read your stuff and i believe you mean to say Did you give it your best Brad and id say well i tried and then you’d say so do you want some lemon aide Because if you’ve given your best than well done Brad.And to that i add My hats off to you because you made want to write a story. I did and it may never win a pulitzer prize for story telling, but ill have the memories of you telling me online to give it my best and good luck. And thats what i did and i thank you once again. So i hope all goes well and mayhem day you drop me an email to kinda catch up. Thanks my invisible friend. And a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY

  8. I’m watching the waltons i love the waltons so much. i only have of the seasons.I guess that ill wear them out God bless his family. carol brown from Tennessee

  9. Dear Mr.Hamner, I started watching the Waltons when it was first aired and continue to be a fan of the series. My husband and I vowed to raise our four children with the same love and appreciation of family and grandparents that you portrayed. Having a respect of nature and of the land , importance of an education and work ethics. You were our bible to guide us. We appreciate all of your writings and the poetic way you have described your life. Thank you for the enjoyment.


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