The Legend of D-Ray White

I was watching this documentary produced by Johnny Knoxville about a family from West Virginia, called The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. The family is famous for their mountain tap-dancing patriarch, D-Ray White. I know that name from a Hank Williams III song. After watching how country this family is, I looked at their Wikipedia page and was shocked at how many people are in their family tree and how many are dead. Then I looked at how they died. Pretty hillbilly. This is definitely an American family story that should be shared. Here is a clip of the tap dancing. Pretty sweet. One day MTV will start showing this dance revolution. Also, the list of family. Enjoy.

Donald Ray (D. Ray) White (April 17, 1927 – July 2, 1985) – One of the United States’s most famous Mountain Dancers. Married to Bertie Mae. Murdered in 1985.

Bertie Mae White (February 23, 1923 – June 1, 2008) – The matriach of the family. D. Ray’s wife. She survived most of her children, eventually dying from heart problems in 2008.

Ona Fontaine White (August 15, 1951 – May 27, 1971) – The daughter of D. Ray and Bertie. She was killed by her ex-husband in Cleveland.

Minis Ray White (September 8, 1954 – December 22, 1954) – D. Ray and Bertie Mae’s son. He has died.

Mamie White (1954–present) – Nicknamed “The Biggest” in the trio of “The Biggest, The Meanest, and the Baddest.” Mamie is the oldest surviving child and lives in Gordon, West Virginia, near Jesco. She was married to Billy Hastings, the man who started the fight that killed D. Ray White. She is now known as “Mamie Warner.”

Mousie White (1973-present) – The daughter of Mamie White. From a previous marriage, she has a daughter named Cheyan and a son named Dakota.

Cheyan White (1993–present) – Cheyan is the daughter of Mousie White and is the granddaughter of Mamie White. She is 16 and currently attends Van Sr./Jr. High in Van, West Virginia.

Dakota White (?-present) – Mousie’s son and Cheyan’s brother.

Thomas Ray “Whempee” White (?-present) – The son of Mamie White.

Jesco White (July 30, 1956 – present) – Jesco is the “Dancing Outlaw” and the son of D. Ray White and Bertie Mae White. He was married to Norma Jean White.

Norma Jean White (1939-2009) – Jesco’s wife. She died on October 22, 2009.

Dorsey Ray White (December 21, 1963 – March 14, 1987) – Jesco and Mamie’s brother. Shot during the fight with Billy Hastings and D. Ray White. Later killed himself unintentionally with a gun.

Roberta Fontaine White (August 15, 1959 – October 8, 1978) – The daughter of D. Ray and Bertie Mae. She has died.

Annie Mae White (1959–present) – She lives in West Virginia and is married. Her name is now “Annie Davis.”

Donald Mairs White (September 13, 1961 – May 7, 1987) – The son of D. Ray and Bertie Mae.

Bernadine “Bo” White (1962-present) – Jesco’s sister. She is divorced and lives near the family. She is the mother of Kirk White and Derek White.

Susan Rae “Kirk” White (March 15, 1975-present) – Bo’s daughter. She lives in West Virginia.

Derek Castle (1987–present) – Bo’s son. He lives in Bim, West Virginia.

Virginia A White (December 21, 1963 – October 15, 1978) – D. Ray and Bertie Mae’s daughter. She was killed in a car accident while pregnant.

Jerry Pontosa “Poney” White (196?-present) – D. Ray and Bertie Mae’s son. He moved to Minnesota and is a painter. Featured in “The Dancing Outlaw” film.

John Gullett (196?-present) – D. Ray and Bertie Mae’s son. Lives in Minnesota.

Louise White (196?-present) – D. Ray and Bertie Mae’s daughter. Lives in Northern West Virginia. Now known as “Louise Rowe.”

Billy R White (196?-deceased before 2008) – D. Ray and Bertie Mae’s son. He has died.

Zetta White (196?-present) – D. Ray and Bertie Mae’s daughter. Know known as “Zetta Clark” and living in Ohio.

Sue “Bob” Ann White (1969–present) – D. Ray and Bertie Mae’s daughter. Lives in West Virginia with daughter, Ashley. Is the mother of Brandon White from a previous marriage.

Brandon Poe White (1986-present) – Sue Bob’s son. Half-brother to Ashley. In jail for shooting Mamie White’s boyfriend in the face and having a shootout with the police.

Ashley Poe (1992–present) – Sue Bob’s daughter. Ashley is 17 and attending Scott High School in Madison, West Virginia.

D-Ray White:

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2 thoughts on “The Legend of D-Ray White

  1. connie r says:

    I watched this video and was amazed at D Ray. He made it look easy. What a shame about the family. Lots of wasted lives and talent. Looks like Jesco just threw his talent away. Sad.

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