Samuel David Lawhorn was born in Little Rock, Arkansas,
on July 12, 1935, to J. C. and Estella Lawhorn. Soon
afterward, his parents separated and his mother remarried.
His stepfather's name was Ferman Gilbeit and in his early
years, Gibeit was the only father that Sammy knew. The
couple later moved to Chicago, leaving young Sammy
behind to be raised by his grandparents in Arkansas.
Little Rock proved to be an inspiring locale for Sammy, as
he became interested in the Blues music that he first heard
being played by blind street musicians. Well-known
musicians from Texas such as Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone
Walker and Lowell Fulson would also pass through the city
on occasion, catching the ear of the youngster.
Like many Blues musicians of his generation, Sammy's first
instrument was the diddley-bow he made on the side of his
grandparent's home using nails and bailing wire