Look Around Mississippi - Sullivan's Hollow - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Smith County 06/09/06

Look Around Mississippi - Sullivan's Hollow

By Walt Grayson
walt@wlbt.net

It's Friday and Walt Grayson is back to take us looking around Mississippi. And he's probably glad to be back from where he's just been.

There once was a time that would have been true, 70 or 80 years ago. Back then, just mentioning Sullivan's Hollow sent a chill up most folk's spines. But it's not that way today. However, the old stories still hang on.

"We have a picture of Sullivan Hollow in 1921, and it really shows how hard life was. The men were carrying rifles and pistols and cutting big beautiful timber," explains Stanley Sullivan.

It's a picturesque little valley in Smith County near Mize. There's little if anything here now that would even suggest the old reputation attached to Sullivan's Hollow as a place of hard drinking, hard fighting, and uneasiness about outsiders. It's been a long time since there were tales of putting traveling salesmen in the corn crib and plowing him like a mule for a few days, or a fight breaking out at church and a few souls winging their way to eternity before the closing prayer. That was a few generations ago.

"Sullivans shootings Sullivans and killing Sullivans, time was over when I can along. But I am sure all that happened," says Jane Martin.

Jane Martin is a Sullivan descendent and still lives in the hollow.

"Many of the tales are ridiculous. They are added to. But by and large there are a lot of good Sullivan's," she says.

From her childhood, Jane recalls, not meanness, but the pioneer ways of her grandparents.

"They grew their own tobacco, and this is true. They would sit by the fireplace. No television, no radio, smoking their tobacco, and one of my brothers tells this to be comical but declares it's true. He said the cats would be lying by the hearth. No fire of course. And the smoke would be so thick, the cats would get up to go out and they would walk like they were drunk."

Stanley Sullivan's family moved out of the hollow when his dad was a boy.

"With electricity and various things and telephones coming along, it mellowed a lot. But a lot of the old-timers are still, these 70, 80, or 90 year old folks who've been there all their lives, can tell you some tales."

If what's been told is anywhere near true, Sullivan's Hollow would make the Famous Hatfield and McCoy feud look like a Sunday School Picnic. But all of it was a long time ago. Since then, peace has broken out all over the hollow. And folks like living there now because it's so quiet.

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