Jessie D. Mcclowell Presley: The Untold Story Of Elvis Presley's Grandmother


When we hear the name “Elvis Presley,” we immediately think of the King of Rock and Roll. But what about his grandmother, Jessie D. McClowell Presley? She played a significant role in Elvis’s life, but her story remains largely untold. In this article, we will delve into the life of Jessie D. McClowell Presley and shed light on her impact on Elvis and his family.

Early Life

Jessie D. McClowell was born on January 6, 1890, in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. She was the daughter of Robert Lee McClowell and Susan Belle Cockrell McClowell. Jessie grew up on a farm in Mississippi, where she learned the value of hard work and determination.

Marriage and Family

In 1913, Jessie married Rosella Presley, who was the older brother of Vernon Presley, Elvis’s father. Jessie and Rosella had two children, Travis and Nash. Unfortunately, Rosella died in 1916, leaving Jessie a young widow with two young children to raise.

Remarriage and Move to Memphis

In 1918, Jessie married John William Presley, who was Vernon’s younger brother. John was a carpenter, and the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where John worked in the construction industry. Jessie and John had one child together, a daughter named Lillian.

Hard Times

In the 1930s, the Great Depression hit the United States hard, and the Presley family was not immune to the economic downturn. Jessie and John struggled to make ends meet, and they eventually lost their home. The family was forced to move in with Vernon and his family for a period.

The Death of John Presley

In 1938, John Presley died suddenly from a heart attack, leaving Jessie a widow for the second time in her life. Jessie was devastated by the loss of her husband and struggled to support her family on her own.

Elvis’s Childhood

Jessie played an important role in Elvis’s childhood. She lived with the Presley family and helped take care of Elvis and his siblings. Jessie was a strict disciplinarian and made sure the children followed the rules. She also encouraged Elvis’s love of music and supported his early performances.

Elvis’s Love for His Grandma

Elvis had a special bond with his grandmother. He often referred to her as “Mama” and credited her with instilling in him a sense of faith and morality. Elvis also wrote a song about his grandmother called “Memories of Mama.”

Later Life

In her later years, Jessie suffered from several health problems, including arthritis and high blood pressure. She continued to live with the Presley family until her death in 1958 at the age of 68.

Jessie’s Legacy

Jessie D. McClowell Presley may not be a household name, but her impact on Elvis Presley and his family cannot be overstated. She played an important role in Elvis’s upbringing and instilled in him a sense of faith and morality that stayed with him throughout his life.


Jessie D. McClowell Presley was a strong and resilient woman who overcame many challenges in her life. Her story is a testament to the power of hard work, determination, and family. We should remember and honor Jessie for the role she played in shaping the life of one of the most iconic music legends of all time.