She’s a native of Elkhart, Indiana.
Born Constance June Meador on August 14, 1941, the country singer went through some tough times as a young child. Her father was an alcoholic and abusive to the family, so her parents eventually divorced.
She’s one of fifteen children.
Smith’s mother remarried when she was seven years old. In addition to Smith’s four siblings, her stepfather brought his eight children to the new family. Her mother gave birth to two more children, giving Smith a total of fourteen siblings all in all.
She graduated salutatorian in high school.
Smith attended Salem-Liberty High School and graduated class salutatorian with only one-tenth of a point behind the valedictorian. However, her family was so poor that the shoes she wore to graduation were bought with money taken up in a class collection.
She developed a great love of music while growing up.
Smith’s family has been her biggest musical influence. Her stepfather was an amateur musician who played the mandolin, while her brothers played fiddle and guitar. On Saturday nights, the family tuned into the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast. Kitty Wells and Jean Shepard are just some of her favorites.
She turned one accident into guitar lessons.
Smith got into a lawnmower accident that almost cut her leg off when she was in high school. While recovering in the hospital, someone gave her a guitar to help pass the hours. It was then that Smith taught herself to play chords.