John Hudson Holland: 
It's a Big Fish Story, But Who Caught It?

by Daphine Lynell Holland

Growing up with Papa Hut was an experience that I will always cherish.  Papa Hut (as we called him) was a tall slender handsome man who was very classy in his own way.  Once he married Eunice, they moved to a country home that her family once lived in.  We established a residence several acres behind their house.  With my father working out of town during the week, I spent most of the time right beside my grandfather. 

Although I have several stories about him, the best one ever was about this one time we went fishing together.  It was a very hot summer day as we were fishing at the lake.  Aggravated from the lack of catching any fish, I was ready to go home.  Papa agreed but he had just had a big bite and wanted to wait for a few minutes.  So, I gather all of our gear and headed for the truck.  As I walked back down the embankment, Papa Hut pulls this 9 ½ lbs. large mouth bass out of the water!  I was so happy that he had caught that fish! 

On the way home, Papa Hut looks over at me as I am talking about how everyone back home wasn’t going to believe that he caught such a huge fish and stops me in mid conversation.  He pulls the truck to the side of the road.  Then, he turned to me and explained that he was going to tell everyone that I caught that fish and if I ever told anything different, that I would be in big trouble.  He added that one day he would go to heaven and that I would always have this fish to remember him by. 

I have never been a good liar.  I know that everyone back home thought that something was wrong because of my actions.  However, I kept that lie until the day he died.  All of our family was packed into this small funeral home and in I walk with this mounted bass fish that I caught back in 1998.  My Mom and Dad must have thought that I had lost my mind!  Everyone was in question as to what I was doing with the mounted large mouth bass at a funeral!  So, as everyone’s curiosity grew, I told a little story about this fish and what a big-hearted Papa I had.  Everyone was in tears; they all knew that I wasn’t capable of telling a lie, especially for this long.  But, it was a story that had to be told. 

Today, that bass fish hangs in visible sight in my office. I look at it everyday and think about how blessed I was to have such a wonderful grandfather.


John Hudson Holland was born March 29, 1917.  He was the son of Clayton A. Holland and Ethel Maude Brown, and the grandson of Absalom Bryant Holland and Apsilla Jane Hinnant.   His great-grandparents were Absalom Holland and Nancy Hales; his great-great-grandparents were Elisha Holland and Patience Watkins. 

Absalom Bryant Holland and Apsilla Jane Hinnant were born and married in North Carolina.  They moved to south Georgia where, at least,  their latter children were probably born.  

Daphine Lynell Holland is the daughter of Donald Michael Holland and Janet Gail Johnson.  She lives in Brunswick, Georgia. 

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Holland site Published 10 July 1996 This page added 20 December 2004  Last updated 21 January 2011