Appalachia Music

The Milo Twins – Country Music Stars

Today’s guest post was written by Ethelene Dyer Jones

The Milo Twins

 

The Milo Twins – Country Music Stars written by Ethelene Dyer Jones

They were not rated as “taking the country by storm” with their country music claim to fame in the 1940’s and 1950’s but The Milo Twins did cut some popular records and star in some movies. They were on the Grand Ole Opry. They went to Hollywood and starred in movies with Roy Acuff and Tex Ritter. Their stage name was The Milo Twins, but their real names were Edward and Edwin Miolen, and they had roots in the Copper Basin area of TN.

Edward and Edwin Miolen were sixth generation descendants of the immigrant from Italy, Framergia Miolen (1782-1850), who was part of the Polk County “Old Dutch Settlement,” arriving here about 1847.

The Milo Twins were born November 11, 1916 (some say in Copperhill, others say in Georgia) to Andrew Miolen and Myrtle Law Miolen. The couple married in Polk County, TN on January 22, 1914. They were listed in the 1920 Fannin County, Georgia census in the Flint Hill District with children Edward, Edwin and Stella May (born May 8, 1917) and Myrtle’s son, Pledger Morris, who was born to Myrtle before she married Andrew. Andrew Miolen died March 11, 1930 and was buried in the Mobile Baptist Church Cemetery. At the time of their father’s death, the twins were thirteen.

Family lore holds that the teenaged twins were somewhat out of control, ran away from home, and were otherwise going through a period of teenage rebellion. Myrtle Miolen was able to get the twins into the Tennessee Industrial School in Nashville. At the time the Miolen twins were there (1930 and following), Dr. Christian Menzler was superintendent. He was noted as a compassionate and caring administrator who was a strong advocate for the underprivileged children who came under his care. In 1930, 862 students were in the boarding school.

Just how the Miolen twins broke into the country music scene is unknown to this writer. However, an article in a California magazine of 1948 indicated that the twins had been educated at the Tennessee Industrial Institute. When they had earned enough money to go west, they headed to California. They seemed to be doing well in their music and acting careers.

Movies in which they played and sang were: “Sing, Neighbor, Sing” starring Roy Acuff; “Marked for Murder” with Tex Ritter; and “I’m from Arkansas” in which their song, “Pass the Biscuits, Marandy” was featured.

In the late 1940’s they cut a record of a song that quickly became a hit, played on juke boxes throughout the country. It was “Truck Driver’s Boogie” and spoke of the “long, lonely hours on an endless ribbon of highway,” and the “well-paid sailor on a black-top sea.” It was the era of the big rigs that hauled products long distances. The free-wheeling truck drivers were a ready subject for the hillbilly boogie craze. The Milo Twins capitalized on the idea and wrote a song to honor these long-distance drivers. In this song, one of them played the harmonica and the other the guitar. Capital Records produced the song on an album entitled “The American Series” in 1948, along with other country stars of that period.

Another popular song by the Milo Twins was “Baby Buggy Boogie” which lauded the return of the soldiers from World War II and the “baby boomer” generation.

It is said that the Milo twins wrote the words to the songs they sang and composed the music for them.

Edward Miolen married, first, a girl named Dorothy, but this marriage evidently ended in divorce. He married, second, Foy Mae Crisp and they had two children, Bufford (Ford) Miolen Miller (1932-1988) and Ernest Crisp Miolen (1934-2004). Edward Miolen died January 19, 1978 in LaFayette, Walker County and was buried in West Hill Cemetery, Dalton, GA, Whitfield County.

Edwin Miolen married, first, Ruby Pearl McMillan. They had one daughter, Barbara Anne, who was born June 4, 1936 in Nashville, TN. Edwin married, second, Lancy Rene Kelley in Birmingham, Al in 1941. That marriage was short-lived and ended in divorce in 1943, but not before a son, Winston Edwin Miolen-Plyler was born in 1942. When Winston Edwin’s mother married again to O’Neal Plyler, he adopted Winston and hence the last name Miolen-Plyler. Edwin Miolen left the south and settled in Boston, Suffolk County, MA where he died December 19, 1965.

If you are interested in hearing the Milo Twins sing “Pass the Biscuits, Marandy,” you may go here to view a youtube video. Some of the vintage records recorded by the Milo Twins are also available online for sale, but are rather expensive.

I thought you would like to know something about these country music stars who were born in the Copper Basin in 1916 to Andrew Miolin and Myrtle Law Miolin. The story caught my eye as I read the February issue of “The Polk County Historical and Genealogical Quarterly and Newsletter” compiled and edited by Marian Bailey Presswood in Benton,TN. Pages 15-39 of this past issue are devoted to the Miolen Family, with a comprehensive family genealogy compiled by Paul Trew of Lithia Springs, GA. Thank you, Mirian and Paul, for this excellent resource.

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I hope you enjoyed Ethelene’s post as much as I did-I found it especially interesting since I was born in Copperhill myself. I found one other video of The Milo Twins on Youtube-The Downtown Boogie. I had never heard of The Milo Twins before reading Ethelene’s post-their sound reminds me of other brother duets from the same era.

Tipper

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Winston Edwin Miolen Plyler
    October 10, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Ethelene, again a great big thank you for all you have done topreservethememory of my dad and uncle! I enjoy easing the nice comments from the readers. I wish I could get to know each of these special. I hope you aredoing well and again thank you!

  • Reply
    Winston Edwiin Miolen/Plyler
    June 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I greatly enjoyed the story of my Dad and Uncle Edward. It was mostly accurate but a few details could be clarified.
    The twins did not really head for Hollywood soon after earning enough money to do so. They spend several years living in various larger cities in the south. They would establish a daily radio program and announce where they would be performing in surrounding towns throughout the week. My mother met and married Edwin in Birmingham, Al. They soon moved to Orlando, FL. My mother sang with the twins during this time on the radio and in personal appearnces. After my mom and dad divorced I am not aware of him marrying again.
    Uncle Edward married Buford Miller’s mother first. He later married Foy, Ernest Crisp Miolen’s mother. When my mother was married to Edwin, Edward was married to Dorothy from Texas. They met when the twins were performing in Texas. To the best of my knowledge that was Edward’s last marriage. But when Edwin died and Edward returned to Dalton, GA. He returned to Foy and they were together until his death.
    Tex Ritter had a strong influence on the Milo Twins career. They were in a movie with him and were on his radio program for a long time and traveled with him in personal appearances.
    They also appeared a lot with Murle Travis.
    Thanks again for your story and thanks much to those who show an interest in the Milo Twins.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    July 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I always enjoy Ethelene’s stories and posts. This one is especially enjoyable because I am reminded that “Pass the Biscuits, Marandy” was one of my mother’s favorite tunes back in the late forties and early fifties; my father sang it a lot for funning. There was a spell when that song seemed to be on everybody’s lips so its popularity must have spread all across America. I had forgotten it. I’m not sure I ever knew the artists; now I do. Anyway, thanks for another great post Ethelene.

  • Reply
    B.ruth
    July 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Please excuse the spelling errors…I’ve been puttin’ up gallon after gallon of blueberries today and I’ll be a little bit tared and feel feathered…
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    B.ruth
    July 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Tipper,
    and Ethelene…very interesting post…I listened to the music and found the other one too…I also, while I was on a roll, watched and listened to the Hillbilly cartoon of Pass the bisquits Mirandy…at the end of the cartoon, the hillbilly and his wife join the army using her bisquits to shoot the enemy…at the end it said something about supporting the war effort…I wonder if those boys made any money off the cartoon and their song? If you find it is a sterotypical scenario of moountain hillbillies…but still funny…
    Thanks Tipper and Ethelene…
    I guess they were doing anything to support the war….even shooting Mirandys biscuits…LOL

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    July 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Ethelene & Tipper: Thanks for another wonderful post! The fact regarding the ‘school’ in Nashville was of great interest to me – as I taught @ Hillsboro HS for many years BUT did not carry that fact away with me! I will share this post with my brothers/sisters who are ‘into’ country music!
    Regards,
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 19, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Thank you Ethelene. One more piece in the puzzle of our rich Appalachian heritage.
    One day that heritage will include Tipper and our blog, Pap and the Wilson’s singing, and a set of girl twins singing, dancing and playing!

  • Reply
    Ken
    July 19, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Tipper,
    We can always count on Mrs. Jones
    to bring us information on our
    neck of the woods. Thank you,
    Ethelene for the research and hope
    you have a big crowd at Choestoe
    Baptist…Ken

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    July 19, 2012 at 11:08 am

    An interesting post! I am slowly learning to appreciate country music. I didn’t grow up with it, so I am getting there.

  • Reply
    NCMountainwoman
    July 19, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Loved the post! I was born in Ducktown…just a hoot ‘n holler from Copperhill.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    July 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Tipper, Thanks for posting my Milo Twins article. I enjoyed writing it, and especially the responses from various readers after it first appeared in The News Observer, Blue Ridge, GA. And as to “addiction” to genealogy, I guess I have a double-blast of that! I will be leaving later today to go Blairsville, GA where on Saturday, July 21 the big Dyer-Souther Heritage Association clan will gather for our annual reunion at Choestoe Baptist Church. Many will come from “all over” for our once-a-year day, program, eating too much, and sharing genealogical information–among other things–not to mention the joy of being together! I invite you readers to see how you might “fit in.” We will welcome you! And thanks in advance for the good comments on the Milo Twins’ article. Thanks, Tipper, for telling us where we can log onto their music!
    Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be busy, busy until Monday or Tuesday. I devote from now to then to the Dyer-Souther gathering!

  • Reply
    Ken
    July 19, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Tipper,
    I am amazed at all the information that keeps coming out
    of Appalachia, just down the road
    a piece. I have friends that use
    to work in the mines at Copper
    Basin, some are still living. You
    can still see the copper in the road that leads down through the
    Ocoee Gorge to Benton, Tenn…Ken

  • Reply
    Leo at Cottage at the Crossroads
    July 19, 2012 at 7:37 am

    It’s fascinating to me to explore the genealogy of our families. By learning what came before you, you can somewhat predict what might happen in the future. It’s not by chance that your family is filled with music ability. I enjoy your playlist every time I land on The Blind Pig.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 19, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Perhaps a warning to all you folks. This is Genealogical Danger Zone. One misstep and you’ll be addicted too. Before I had finished paragraph two, I’m already wondering how I could be related to The Milo Twins. Farther down I gleaned a bit info about Tippers birthplace. It’s only 6 am, what else might I find in today’s post.
    Genealogical Addiction often interferes with your ability to drink, party, carouse, lust and loaf. It has a narcotic effect that prevents the uptake of many illicit pharmacological concoctions. It also can inhibit proper hydration and the ingestion of necessary nutrients.
    Another good one Tipper. Thanks Ethelene!!

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