Essay dated February 26, 1942

The Most Unforgettable Character I've Met

by John Holloway

Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington, D.C.

      The most unforgettable character I've ever met was my Great, Great Uncle Billy Bristol who lived to the ripe old age of one hundred and two. He was born December 3, 1836 on a farm in Burke County, N.C. This was about the time the telegraph was invented. So during his life, although he was born over a century ago, he lived long enough to see all of the most modern machines and inventions of today come into existance (sic). He died only a few years ago.

      He lived in North Carolina until after the Civil War. During the Civil War he organized a company to protect the people of his section of North Carolina. After the Civil War he married and moved to Texas where he bought a ranch and raised a family. After his wife died he went to live with a married daughter in Galveston.

      He learned to play the violin (the fiddle as he called it) when he was young and he had won many prizes for his playing. He also had won many prizes for being the oldest person at all the picnics he attended during his later life.

      He learned to type when he was eighty and he started translating the Bible from the original Greek still later in his life. I don't know why he wanted to do this. Maybe he thought the St. James version which is used mostly today had a few errors in it that needed correcting or maybe this was his unique way of studying the Bible.

      When he visited us he was ninety-five and I was about ninety years younger. He came all the way from Texas alone to visit his nephew (my grandfather) in Rutherford College, N.C. and us in Asheville, N.C. Even though I was very young I remember him well and by far I think he is the most unforgettable person I've ever encountered in all my fourteen years.