My name is John H. Holliday. I am a dentist. I was raised a gentleman. When unable to practice dentistry I became a sporting man. I value my friends above everything. My family motto is Nulli Virtute Secundus
- ‘In Virtue Second to None.’ I take this very seriously.
Born in Spalding County, Georgia, in 1851 with a cleft palate, I was a child of the Southern aristocracy. I lived in diligence and my mother saw to my education and training. I learned to speak. I learned academic subjects, gentility, to play the piano, to write and dream. My uncle saved my life when I was born and gave me his name. I loved him as a father and my cousin Robert – Hub – as a brother. Uncle John had one of the great plantation mansions. He lived not far away in Fayetteville and my family had a much smaller plantation near Griffin.
My father had brought back an orphan boy with him from the Mexican war to raise as his son. His name was Francisco Hidalgo. My mother was also orphaned when I was very young and my father also adopted her younger brothers and sisters. My favourite of these was my uncle Tom McKey and I used his name when I was an outlaw on the run out of Texas. I was the youngest and least significant child in a large household, but my mother loved me. And she did her utmost to ensure that I would be a good man and a good citizen. She was goodness personified. These nearly halcyon times ended when I was ten years old.
I was a child of the Civil War. My father was a Major under Jackson and Lee in Virginia, and he was invalided out of the army for dysentery just before the battle of Sharpsburg where every officer of his regiment was killed save one. All my uncles and older cousins served the Confederacy, and they all returned home.
In 1863 I was eleven and my father moved us all south to Lowndes County out of the way of what would be Sherman’s March to the Sea. My cousin Mattie’s family joined us, their own mansion in Jonestown destroyed. At one time there were thirteen children in our home. Eventually Mattie herself arrived, having walked with her sister – two young girls alone – from Savannah where they had been going to school. There was too much work and not enough food. Our clothes grew too tight and the embargo set upon the South made it impossible to buy anything we could not make ourselves. There was simply nothing to buy. I remember that a packet of needles was $75. Lee and Jackson were my heroes, and the cavalry officers.
I loved Mattie and my mother was dying of tuberculosis. We nursed her, the two of us, and Mattie was my light and hope, my courage – everything. The war ended and I brought my uncle Tom home from the Macon Military Hospital in Cuthbert. I was fourteen. My mother died, leaving her faith and belief written for me, her only child, for she feared for me and my soul. I became a Methodist at her word, which I remained until I became a Catholic in the Colorado mountains when Mattie became a nun.
Mattie’s father had been broken by the war and their family took him to make him a new home. My mother’s brothers, including Uncle Thomas, went down to Florida. My father married the neighbour girl, barely older than I, barely a month after my mother’s funeral. He took in orphan Southern children and former slave children.
I started school at fifteen at the Valdosta Institute run by Mr. Vardenoe. I loved school and worked hard. I was going to live in Atlanta with my uncle John, who I still regarded as a father. I was learning and waiting to be grown. My father was head of the Freedmen’s Bureau in town and a member of the courts imposed by the North to ruin the South with law and taxation to turn it over to Northern hands. It was I who paid. It was a time of conspiracy and counter-conspiracy among neighbours for their lives and livelihoods. I did not side with my father. In town the called him ‘The Major’ and I did likewise, not in respect but in irony.
Eventually I left for dental school in Philadelphia. I never really came back to Valdosta but lived as I had always dreamed and planned, with my uncle and cousin in Atlanta. My mother had left me property from her family in Griffin and as I was of age I was able to do these things. I had a temporary position as dentist in Atlanta and after my schooling I signed and intended to serve as preceptor to my cousin Robert, inspired to school and dentistry by my diligence and enthusiasm. I meant to establish myself in practice with Robert. I meant to marry my dear Mattie.
Then tuberculosis and various events took everything I had tried to build. I went in exile to Texas and the West. Georgia and all my family were lost to me.
Thus approximately half John's life.
I write John at all the times he experienced, depending on prompt and inspiration. He is happy to roleplay and surely has friends and loved ones in various times and worlds. He is flexible as to time and place, but any roleplay thus far has taken place after his actual life. He has thus been thirty-six, caught just before death. Roleplay with one individual has not necessarily affected that with others. If he is interested he talks a great deal. This is how roleplay has tended to go, but I am of course open to other tendencies if they arise.