The better known definition of the word “holler” is “to call out in a loud voice.” But here in my part of the world, the word has another meaning -- a small valley containing a creek between mountains or small hills. It may be (correctly) referred to as a "hollow" elsewhere, but around here it's a "holler."
Early settlers to the area sought out these prized locations, which conveniently provided the water needed to sustain life and conduct commerce. In many instances, they built grist mills to grind corn and operated blacksmith shops. Often, entire villages developed and thrived at these sites.
Here in the Southeastern United States the word is capitalized and follows a proper noun, a surname. For instance, hollers were named for the families that lived there. Thus, we have the “Goodman Holler,” “Ingram Holler,” “Nugent Holler,” and “Belue Holler.” There are many others, but these are just the ones I am familiar and have an association with.
The Goodman Holler is no more than one-quarter mile from where I live and is the location where my great-grandfather was killed in 1885. Read the account of the events surrounding his death in my previous post on Thomas Berry Howard.
Another holler just up the road from me is known as the Ingram Holler. The following entry in The Journal of Muscle Shoals History’s Bicentennial Edition, Historic Muscle Shoals, gives the following account of the location:
William Franklin Ingram moved this house from Calicoa, Tennessee, to Anderson while the Indians still occupied Anderson Creek Valley. He built a dam across the creek and established a grist mill, saw mill, woolen factory and blacksmith shop. William Franklin Ingram II, who inherited the house and mills from his father, moved the house a second time from its conspicuous spot on the hill to the edge of the stream in order to get away from Federal soldiers who frequently passed that way on the Lamb’s Ferry Road. Mr. James Ingram of the sixth generation owns the house today.
Other hollers near me include the Belue Holler, Nugent Holler, Corum Holler, Perry Holler and Blowing Springs. The latter is located in a holler but is known only as Blowing Springs. I have a really interesting story to tell about that location but will save it for a later time.
Other well-known hollers:
|Country music singer Loretta Lynn's birthplace in Butcher Holler, Kentucky.|
Butcher Hollow (Holler) - a coal-mining community located in Johnson County, Kentucky. Its claim to fame is being the birthplace of country music legend Loretta Lynn, who paid tribute to the community in the song Coal Miner's Daughter.
|Ichabod Crane pursued by the Headless Horseman,|
by F.O.C. Darley, 1849.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a Halloween-themed short story by Washington Irving contained in his collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, first published in 1820. With Irving's companion piece "Rip Van Winkle", "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is among the earliest examples of American fiction still read today. The story is set in 1790 in the countryside around the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (historical Tarrytown, New York), in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow.