John Henry Holliday wasn’t always Griffin, Georgia’s favorite son. For generations, he was the black sheep of his hometown, the good boy gone bad who was rumored about behind his back. How could a young man of such promise turn out so poorly? Surely, his parents had raised him better than to spend his life as a killer and a drunk. The Hollidays were, after all, fine Southern folk who been some of the pioneers in the area and helped to put Griffin on the map. His mother’s family, the McKeys, were large landholders with a plantation along Indian Creek and several business buildings in town. And weren’t they kin to the Elijah Cloud family who owned half of north Georgia and claimed Stone Mountain as their own private property? And although his father, Henry Holliday, came from somewhat less prosperous circumstances – wasn’t his own father a tavern keeper over in Fayetteville? – Henry had made something of himself as a landholder, too, and been clerk of the first county court in Griffin before moving to South Georgia when the Yankees came through. No, one couldn’t blame John Henry’s folks for not teaching him his responsibilities. His mother was a refined, religious woman and his father had served honorably in three wars. Yet somehow John Henry had turned out all wrong, wandering from Georgia to Texas and the frontier west to make his fame and infamy in gun battles and gambling halls. That sort of story made for entertaining novels and movies, but it didn’t suit the reputation of a Southern town like Griffin. Continue reading
Griffin, Georgia is a long way from the ghost town of rowdy Fort Griffin, Texas, but they both have something in common: Wild West legend Doc Holliday once lived in both places. But only his Southern hometown has a real ghost story to tell: Although Doc died of consumption and was buried in the mountains of Colorado, some say his body was later moved back home and now lies in a quiet grave on a grassy hillside in Griffin.
As the story goes, John Henry “Doc” Holliday (he was a dentist by trade and training) passed away on the chilly morning of November 8, 1887, and was buried later that day in the Linwood Cemetery in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The local newspaper noted his passing and the place and time of his burial, along with mentioning that his family in Georgia would be notified through his “only correspondent, a nun living in Atlanta.” The nun was his first cousin Mattie Holliday, who had taken orders in Savannah and was known as Sister Melanie. His obituary mentions that his last belongings would be sent to her.Continue reading