Black Patch War Hero
Friday, September 23, 2016
The saga of the Night Riders is not an easy one to tell. A young hero of the Tobacco War and the son of an avid opponent of the Association and the Night Riders, Price Hollowell experienced the violence of the Tobacco War first-hand. On Friday, September 25, Price Hollowell will make appearances at three local elementary schools. These performances support our continued efforts to educate the community about the causes, implications, and effects of the Tobacco War on the region.
The story of the Hollowells is one of dissension, brutality, and, to some, justice. Robert and Mary Lou Hollowell lived on a tobacco farm with their son Price in the heart of Night Rider country in Caldwell County. Mary Lou, the true force in the family, was an outspoken challenger of the Night Riders who was not afraid to identify publicly these masked men.
Her outright defiance of the Association and the Night Riders brought a great deal of attention to the Hollowells. Attention that turned to violence in early May 1907 when a band of Night Riders visited, attacked, whipped, and beat Robert and Mary Lou at their home. Price, then only twelve-years old, witnessed every second of this cruelty.
Even though the Hollowells promptly fled Caldwell County, the Night Riders had not heard the last of them. The family brought civil charges in federal court against close to 30 named assailants. Thanks in large part to the testimony of Price, the family won a settlement as retribution for damages.
Playing the role of Price Hollowell, Ethan Sullivan Smith joins the Tobacco War Pilgrimage as an experienced member of the Kentucky Chautauqua, a part of the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. Since 1992, Kentucky Chautauqua has brought to life people from Kentucky’s past through dramatic performances. Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from: The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, People’s Bank & Trust Company of hazard, the Brown-Forman Corporation, Union College, Scripps Howard Foundation, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, PNC Bank in Lexington, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc.
The Kentucky Humanities Council is a non-profit Kentucky corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is not a state agency, but is a proud partner of Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
*No public performance.