Just received these two articles from folks at the Richmond paper...
Copyright (c) 2000, Richmond Newspapers, Inc.
DATE: Monday, June 26, 2000 TAG: 0006260285
PAGE: B-5 EDITION: City
SECTION: Area/State LENGTH: 280 lines
"Chief" Floyd Powhatan Adkins, age 73, of Richmond, went home to be
with the Lord Saturday, June 24, 2000. He is survived by his wife, Grace E.
Adkins; seven daughters, Nateka and her husband, Don Herlong, Elaine Adkins,
Shirley Adkins, Patty Adkins, Laverne and her husband, Eric Adkins, Joanne
Johnson, Vicki and her husband, Howard Holmes; six sons, Hardy Adkins, Wilbur
and his wife, Wendy Adkins, Pawnee and his wife, Angie Adkins, Shawnee Adkins,
Natchee Adkins and Hiawatha Adkins; 22 grandchildren, eight
great-grandchildren; three sisters, Maggie Jones, Mae Cannada and Elizabeth
Austin; four brothers, P. Albert Adkins, Frankie Adkins, Joseph Adkins and
Robert Adkins. Mr. Adkins was a U.S. Army veteran. His remains rest at the
Nelsen Funeral Home, 4650 S. Laburnum Ave., where the family will receive
friends 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday. Funeral services will be conducted 2 p.m. Monday
at Samaria Baptist Church. Burial church cemetery.
Copyright (c) 1992, Richmond Times-Dispatch
DATE: Wednesday, August 26, 1992 TAG: 9202020924
PAGE: M-3 EDITION: City
SECTION: Chesterfield PLUS LENGTH: 68 lines
SOURCE: BY JOHN MALONEY
CHIEF POWHATAN KEEPS ON PICKIN'
If staying power made stars, bluegrass musician Chief Powhatan would be in
the hall of fame.
But it doesn't and he isn't. For 45 years he's played everything from
pastoral college picnics to the smokiest Southern roadhouses with only one
regret: "If I had it to do again, I wouldn't do the rough places," he said.
Oh, the drunks he's seen and the fights they've fought -- sometimes with
him. Like the time he defended himself from two troublemakers with his feet
because he didn't want them to break his new Gibson guitar, which occupied his
hands. Two gut kicks did the trick, he said with a grin.
"There's things I would turn down now that I couldn't turn down 40 years
ago," said Powhatan, who's 65 and barrel-chested as ever. "But I've seen it
Chief Powhatan's real name is Floyd Powhatan Adkins. Raised by
Chickahominy parents in Providence Forge, Adkins taught himself to play the
guitar by watching others. He took the stage for the first time when he was 13
and hasn't stepped down since.
At 8 p.m. Friday, Chief Powhatan and his Bluegrass Braves will perform at
the Chesterfield County Fair, an event he has played many times over the
years. There won't be any heavy smoke or airborne beer bottles, just the Chief
and his band of pickers.
Best known and recognized for the colorful Indian headdress he wears over
his shaven head, Adkins said, "People have told me, `Powhatan, don't you ever
rob a bank in Virginia because they'd find you in a second.' People never
forget me." Indeed, he's one of a kind in these parts.
Drafted in October 1945, Adkins was stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., where he
was inspired to write his one and only hit -- a heartbreak ballad called
"Rosie," which was about a soldier's sorrow after reading a Dear John
letter. That soldier was really a man in Adkins' unit, and Adkins said the
song practically wrote itself.
Released almost 20 years later in 1964 on the Salem label, "Rosie" was a
regional success. "You couldn't find a jukebox between Roanoke and Winchester
that didn't have it," Adkins said. "I had 10 or 11 states that really played
it, like the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa and Kentucky."
A recent royalty check totaled $17, so "Rosie" is still being played
somewhere, said Adkins, whose last album came in 1972.
Adkins became a truck driver after his military discharge and scheduled
performances for his layovers, playing nights through Tennessee and Virginia
and driving freight all day. "You could go into any town and find a band to
play with you in 30 minutes," he said.
Now, five days a week, Adkins is a cashier at the Crown gasoline station
across from Cloverleaf Mall. "I bet five people don't know my real name at
that company and I've been working for them since 1976," he said.
Over the years, he said, he's rubbed shoulders with the likes of Jim
Reeves, Chet Atkins, Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.
He includes many of the Grand Ole Opry stars' songs in his act.
Slowed by chronic sinus problems and a delicate throat, and living on one
kidney since 1986, Adkins said, "Many times on stage you are so sick you can
hardly perform . . . but I don't think there's anything that compares with the
So Chief Powhatan lives comfortably in South Richmond and plays on into
Still touring as far south as Florida, Adkins said he will perform as long
as his health allows and the public wants his brand of bluegrass music. When
people come up to the bandstand after his show to say they liked it, "that's
your pay right there."
Respectful and a little bit hongry,
"Again, sheer historical ignorance compounded by wishful thinking."
-- Seth Williamson