Doc Holliday Photo Album

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Church of the Immaculate Conception - Atlanta Georgia Atlanta ~ Church of the Immaculate Conception

The first Catholic Church in north Georgia, the parish was established in 1848 after itinerant priests followed the railroad to the new town of Terminus (later called Marthasville and then Atlanta) to perform the Mass. The first building, a frame structure, was erected here in 1851. Father Thomas O’Reilly, its pastor, successfully appealed to Union General H.W. Slocum in 1864 to spare his Church and the neighborhood. Thus, the original church, four other churches, and the City Hall-Courthouse were saved from destruction when Atlanta was burned. This building was erected on the same site with the cornerstone laid in 1869, and was still under construction in 1873 when John Henry was living in Atlanta. The spiritual home for Catholics in north Georgia (including the Fitzgeralds and the family of Robert Kennedy Holliday who became a Catholic when he married Mary Anne Fitzgerald) the parish records are filled Fitzgerald and Holliday names. The courageous Father O’Reilly is buried in a crypt under the altar, his casket rediscovered after a 1982 fire in the Church.  (Image courtesy Atlanta History Center)

Decatur Street Atlanta Georgia Atlanta ~ Decatur Street

The “sporting” district of Atlanta, Decatur Street was lined with saloons, gambling halls and bawdy houses. Lee Smith’s “Maison de Ville” was located here, along with the “Big Bonanza” saloon owned by the mayor of Atlanta. Drinking and card playing were considered gentlemanly diversions in the South, and proprietors were expected to be armed to protect their own property. Saloonkeeper Lee Smith had formerly lived in Griffin, John Henry’s hometown, and had become friendly with the Holliday family there. The connection continued after John Henry left Georgia, as Smith’s report of a trip west and a visit with Doc Holliday in New Mexico was printed years later in the Atlanta Constitution newspaper. The report said in part: “I know the whole Holliday family, father, mother and son, and a finer family never grew up on Georgia soil and Holliday is one of the best boys that ever lived, if he is left alone, but you mustn’t impose on him or you will smell powder burning.”  (Image courtesy Atlanta History Center)

DeGive’s Opera House Atlanta Georgia Atlanta ~ DeGive’s Opera House

The first theater in Atlanta and the grandest during John Henry’s stay in the city, DeGive’s seated 2,000 patrons and hosted operas and dramas with headliners like Sara Bernhardt and Edwin Booth. The theater was the creation of Belgian consul Laurent DeGive, who traveled regularly to New York to book entertainers. The gilt-trimmed box seats were reserved for the wealthy and dignitaries like the Governor. DeGive’s second theater, the Grand Opera House, was even more elaborate and would later be remodeled into the Lowe’s Grand Theater where the movie version of Gone With the Wind was debuted.  (Image courtesy Atlanta History Center)

Dr. Ford’s Dental Office

 Dr. Ford’s Dental Office

Atlanta ~ Dr. Ford’s Dental Office

The dental office of Dr. Arthur C. Ford was located in a second floor suite at 26 Whitehall Street (left) close to the intersection with Alabama Street (below) and across from the railroad tracks. John Henry practiced here during the summer of 1872, as noted in a card in the Atlanta Constitution newspaper which read:“I hereby inform my patients that I leave to attend the session of the Southern Dental Association in Richmond, Virginia, and will be absent until about the middle of August, during which time Dr. John H. Holliday will fill my place in my office. Office: 26 Whitehall Street – Arthur C. Ford, D.D.S.”  (Image courtesy Atlanta History Center)

Peachtree Street Atlanta Georgia Atlanta ~ Peachtree Street

Atlanta grew up on a site occupied by the Creek Indians, which included a major village called Standing Peachtree. There is some dispute over whether the Creek settlement was called Standing Peachtree or Standing Pitch Tree, corrupted later to peach. Pine trees, common to the area, were also known as pitch trees due to their sap. A trail known as the Peachtree Trail stretched from northeast Georgia to Standing Pitch Tree along the Chattahoochee River. The original Peachtree Road began in 1812 at Fort Daniel located at Hog Mountain in present-day Gwinnett County and ran along the course of the trail to the Chattahoochee. Some portions of the present road trace this route. At the time John Henry lived in Atlanta, the first mile or so of Peachtree Street north of the railroad depot was lined with businesses, while stately homes and mansions stood along the dirt road beyond. The community of Buckhead was considered far outside the city at that time and Ponce de Leon was a hot springs resort in the countryside, not a major highway.  (Image courtesy Atlanta History Center)

Ponce de Leon Springs Atlanta Georgia

Ponce de Leon Springs Atlanta Georgia Taxi

Atlanta ~ Ponce de Leon Springs

Located in the hilly countryside two miles from downtown Atlanta, the Ponce de Leon Springs offered mineral waters and outdoor recreations like picnics, promenades and target shooting. Although named for the famous Spanish explorer who searched for the legendary Fountain of Youth, the area was officially discovered by railroad workers who came across two small cold water springs at the base of a steep hill near to the road construction. The water had a “sulfurous, nasty taste” but soon gained a reputation for giving miraculous medical cures.During John Henry’s stay in Atlanta, families made day-long excursions to the Springs and hotels had scheduled horse-drawn taxi service for their guests. The dirt road leading to the Springs later became a fashionable residential street called Ponce de Leon Avenue, lined with mansions and fine churches. In this 1890’s photograph, the Knowles children (Constance and Clarence) are being driven along Ponce near their home. Constance and Clarence were the grandchildren of John Henry’s cousin George Holliday.  (Image courtesy Atlanta History Center)

Rich’s Store Atlanta Georgia Atlanta ~ Rich’s Store

Located at 36 Whitehall Street, a few doors down from Dr. Ford’s dental office, was M. Rich’s Dry Goods, established in 1867. The general store carried household items and clothing, “carpets, dress trimmings, and silks,” and was expanded many times during the years, moving as business grew. Rich’s Store was where Henry Holliday bought Rachel her fancy French corsets for fifty cents each. A hundred years later, Rich’s had become Georgia’s premiere department store and anchor of regional shopping malls, with the downtown store hosting Atlanta’s annual Christmas tree lighting. Rich’s has since been absorbed into the Macy’s chain, but the tree lighting tradition continues every Thanksgiving night, being broadcast on local television and watched by hundreds of thousands of Atlantans.  (Image courtesy Atlanta History Center)

Union Station Atlanta Georgia Atlanta ~ Union Station

Union Station was built in 1871 on the site of the first Atlanta Railroad Depot, which was burned by the departing Yankee army after the Battle of Atlanta in 1863. During John Henry’s time in Atlanta there were four major railroads using Union Station and multiple lines of rail, making the streets dangerous and sometimes deadly to cross. To solve the problem, a pedestrian bridge was built over the tracks, which became a vehicle bridge, which became a viaduct and finally an elevated street system – leaving the track area “underground” while the businesses moved up to the newly built street level. The original elevation is now part of Underground Atlanta (a retail and restaurant complex), and includes the former corner of Whitehall and Alabama where Dr. Ford’s dental office was located.  (Image courtesy Atlanta History Center)

Fayetteville City Cemetery Fayetteville ~ City Cemetery

The Hollidays and their Fitzgerald relatives lie here, in separate sections for Protestants and Catholics. "Grandpa Bob" Holliday was buried here in 1863 shortly after his son Henry Holliday returned from service in the Confederate States Army. Henry’s brother, Robert Kennedy Holliday (Mattie’s father) was buried in the Fitzgerald’s Catholic plot in the cold winter of 1872. Author Margaret Mitchell’s great-grandfather Phillip Fitzgerald and his brother James, Mattie’s Irish grandfather, are also here. Mitchell personally tended the Fitzgerald plot before the gas rationing of World War II curtailed her automobile trips down from Atlanta.

Fayetteville Holliday Dorsey Fife House Fayetteville ~ Holliday-Dorsey-Fife House

Built in 1855 by John Henry’s namesake uncle, medical doctor John Stiles Holliday, as both his home and office, on the same road where “Grandpa Bob” Holliday had once owned a tavern. The house is a classic Greek Revival townhouse, four rooms over four rooms with wide breezeways upstairs and downstairs, Georgia heart pine floors, and hand blown glass in the long multi-paned windows. Local stories say the house was once loaned out as a dormitory for students from the Fayetteville Academy, like Annie Fitzgerald, Mattie Holliday’s cousin. Dr. Holliday moved his family from Fayetteville to Atlanta after the Civil War and sold the house to neighbor Solomon Dorsey, whose grandson Hugh Dorsey, who was born in the house, became Governor of Georgia. The house is now a museum of Southern heritage and Gone With the Wind memorabilia.

Griffin Iron Front Building Griffin ~ Iron Front Building

The Solomon Street business building originally owned by William Land McKey became part of John Henry’s inheritance from his mother when she died. When Henry Holliday remarried a short three months after his first wife’s death, the McKey family sued to retrieve the property. The case was brought and settled in the Lowndes County Courthouse and recorded in the court books of Spalding County. The judge, seeming to rely on the Biblical Wisdom of Solomon, decreed that the building should be divided in half, the east side to be returned to the McKeys and the west side to remain as John Henry’s inheritance with a partition wall erected between the two sides. Marks of the partition wall still remain in the renovated structure. It is likely that John Henry had a small dental office on the second floor (the far right upstairs window above), with a private entrance by way of an outside staircase in the alley (to the right of the picture here). The remaining brickwork shows signs of a door where the staircase would have entered.

Griffin Rest Haven Cemetery Griffin ~ Rest Haven Cemetery

Martha Eleanora Holliday died on June 12, 1850 and was buried on the crest of a hill in Rest Haven Cemetery. Her simple gravestone reads: “Aged 6 months 9 days,” a sad accounting of a too-short life. We do not know the cause of baby Martha Eleanora Holliday’s death, but according to some family stories it may have been related to the same cleft palate birth defect that supposedly afflicted John Henry. As those same sources claim, the infant John Henry’s incomplete lip was repaired in an early version of oral and plastic surgery by his mother’s cousin, the famous Dr. Crawford Long, one of the pioneers in the use of ether as an anesthetic. Although no records have been found to substantiate this claim and modern dentists examining childhood photos of John Henry do not see any of the usual evidence of such a surgery, it is still an intriguing proposition. What we do know is that he was baptized March 21, 1852 when he was seven months old, a rather late christening for a Church-going family in a city with several fine churches, and evidence perhaps of a difficult infancy.

Indian Springs Indian Springs ~

For centuries, the Creek people had collected the spring water for its healing qualities but would not build near the springs for fear of crying infants and talking women scaring away the spirits. In spite of the Indians’ fears, a bustling white man’s village grew up at Indian Springs, and by the time of John Henry’s visit it was considered the “Saratoga of the South,” a glamorous health resort like Saratoga Springs in New York. The sulfurous waters were considered a miracle cure for a long list of ailments, including the Consumption which was treated with drinking and bathing in the water and steaming in the sulfur fumes.  (Image courtesy Atlanta History Center)

Jonesboro Johnson Blalock House Jonesboro ~ Johnson-Blalock House

Built in 1859 for John Henry’s Aunt Martha Holliday Johnson and her husband, attorney James F. Johnson, a member of the Georgia Legislature and signer of the Georgia Secession Ordinance. The home stood on a hill north of town, across the railroad tracks from land that became the Confederate Cemetery, and was used as a Confederate field hospital during the Battle of Jonesboro. Cousin Mattie Holliday’s family lived in a smaller cottage in the heart of Jonesboro.

Jonesboro Rural Home Fitzgerald Plantation Jonesboro ~ Rural Home (Fitzgerald Plantation)

When Phillip Fitzgerald arrived in Georgia from his home in Ireland, he found a frontier of pine trees and red clay ready for planting. He bought up land close to the village of Lovejoy in what was then Fayette County, and remodeled a small farmhouse already on the property into a rambling plantation home to accommodate his new family: bride Eleanor McGahan and an eventual eight daughters and two sons. He named his place “Rural Home,” and prospered as a cotton planter with 1,000 acres and a work force of sixty African slaves. The Rural Home property became part of Clayton County when that new district was formed and the nearby railroad town of Jonesboro was made the county seat. Phillip’s daughter Sarah Fitzgerald, cousin to Mattie Holliday, was one of the last family owners of the property, staying on at Rural Home through her last days as an elderly spinster. It was to Rural Home that author Margaret Mitchell came to visit with her Fitzgerald kin, and her classic novel Gone With the Wind is filled with references to Jonesboro and Clayton County.

Jonesboro Train Depot Jonesboro ~ Train Depot

Built of blocks of gray Georgia granite, this 1867 building replaced the original wood structure which burned during the Battle of Jonesboro. In order to disrupt Confederate travel and communications from this point, the Yankees tore up the rails and heated them over bonfires, twisting the softened metal into “Sherman’s Bow Ties” so they couldn’t be relayed. Then they dug up one side of the wide main street of town and piled the dirt on the other side of the street, leaving two narrower roads at different elevations now known as Main Street and Broad Street. The depot stands between the two streets, in a part of town that once boasted thirteen saloons. John Henry’s Uncle Rob Holliday worked at the depot in the last years of his life as Baggage Master for the Macon & Western Railroad.

Philadelphia Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery Philadelphia ~ Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery

John Henry attended dental school here from 1871-1873, a two year course with summers spent interning with a practicing dentist called a “preceptor.” In pursuing training as a dentist, John Henry Holliday was following in the footsteps of his uncle, Dr. John Stiles Holliday, who had received his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia, and leading the way for a long line of Holliday family dentists. John Henry’s cousin Robert Holliday followed him to the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery then entered practice in Atlanta, later helping to found the first dental school in Atlanta (which later became the Emory University School of Dentistry) and becoming a principal in the Atlanta Dental Depot, today’s Atlanta Dental Supply Company. Dr. Robert Holliday was followed in the family dental business by his brother George Henry Holliday who became president of the Atlanta Dental Supply Company, as did his son George H. Holliday, Jr., whose own son Dr. Franklin Caldwell Holliday became a respected Atlanta dentist. The Holliday family dental tradition continues to the 21st century with Dr. Tammy Bailey, the great-great granddaughter of Dr. Robert Holliday, and kin to the original Doc Holliday, DDS.

The Stone Mountain Georgia The Stone Mountain ~

Rising over a thousand feet above the surrounding land, Stone Mountain is a giant granite outcropping five miles in circumference and extending another nine miles below ground. The lower slopes of the mountain are surrounded by Georgia oak and rare yellow daisies while the domed top is bare rock with rainwater pools and allows views toward Atlanta, fifteen miles to the southwest, and Kennesaw Mountain, forty miles to the northwest. Because of its strategic location it had long been used by the Creek and Cherokee peoples as a lookout and ceremonial site. The wealthy Aaron Cloud, kin to John Henry’s mother, was the first white owner of the mountain, in 1838 building a 165 foot wooden observation tower at the summit. Visitors to the mountain would travel to the area by rail and road, and then walk up the one-mile trail to the top, where Cloud also had a restaurant and club. “Cloud’s Tower” and hotel blew down in a windstorm in 1851, but granite quarrying begun in 1830s continued, and over the years Stone Mountain granite was used in buildings and structures from the locks of the Panama Canal to the steps of the East Wing of the United States Capitol. The face of the mountain now boasts a monumental carving honoring Confederate heroes. Begun in 1914 and changed in concept over nearly sixty years, the carving was completed in 1972.

Valdosta Holliday House Valdosta ~ Holliday House

The house where John Henry lived as a teenager with his father and stepmother, Rachel Martin Holliday. Originally located on Savannah Avenue, across from the railroad tracks in downtown Valdosta, the house has been moved to a private neighborhood near Valdosta State University and beautifully remodeled. It is cottage style in design, one story with large rooms, wide central hall, and a deep front porch. The town of Valdosta is situated 20 miles north of the Georgia/Florida border and was founded in 1860 on the new Atlantic and Gulf Railroad line and named for Val d’Aosta, a plantation owned by former Governor George Troup.

Valdosta Sunset Hill Cemetary Valdosta ~ Sunset Hill Cemetery

The final resting place of John Henry’s mother, Alice Jane McKey Holliday, who died in 1866. According to her obituary, “She was confined to her bed for a number of years, and was indeed a great sufferer. She was deeply anxious about the faith of her only child. She had her faith written so her boy might know what his mother believed.” The cemetery had been established in 1861 on the old Savannah-Troupville stagecoach road, one mile northwest of the new town. In its early years, the grounds were not divided into lots, and Valdostans simply chose whatever available spot they preferred for burials. Surely one of the most tragic burials here was that of Dick Force, the young Confederate soldier shot down in front of his family’s home by the Yankees during martial law. It was Dick’s father, postmaster Charles Ogden Force, who had donated the thirty acres of land comprising the cemetery to Valdosta as a benefit to the community.