X:1 T:Sullivan's Hollow S:Freeny's Barn Dance Band (Mississippi) M:C| L:1/8 D:OKeh 45508 (78 RPM), Freeny's Barn Dance Band (1930) F:https://www.slippery-hill.com/recording/sullivans-hollow Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:D f3a fede|fa2f ed2(=f|^f3)a fedA|ed2A BdA2| f3a fede|fa2f ed2(=f|^f3)a fedA|ed2A BdAB|| d(fe)d BdAB|d(fe)d Bd A2|[D4F4]-[DF](BA)B|d(fe)d BdAB| d(fe)d Bd A2|[A,4D4]- [A,2D2]f(g| a3)(f e3)a|(fe) d4||
SULLIVAN'S HOLLOW. American, Reel (cut time). USA, Mississippi. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA’B. The recording by the twin-fiddle Freeny’s Barn Dance Band, the original source for the tune, has been called by Tony Russell (1973) “one of the greatest string band recordings ever made.” Although often set in the key of ‘D’, it is also played in the key of ‘C’. The band hailed from the community of Freeny, just south of the county seat of Carthage, Leake County, central Mississippi. The band featured fiddler Leslie Freeny with his cousin Hendrix Freeny on harmony fiddle, along with guitarist A. F. “Fonzo” Cannon; they were later joined by a younger cousin, Carlton Freeny, on tenor banjo. Sullivan's Hollow is a place near Lorena, a six mile area that straddles Smith and Covington Counties, Mississippi, a part of the Bienville National Forest. It was a rough-and-tumble hill community for many years during and after the Civil War, as captured by Ann R. Hammons, author of Wild Bill Sullivan—King of the Hollow (1980). She describes “the bloodiest fight the Hollow ever knew" (p. 65), a mid-19th century battle that began after Wild Bill Sullivan had whipped Gabe Chain in a fight. In retaliation Chain determined to kill Bill’s brother, Neece, at Shiloh Church in Covington County, and enlisted the aid of some friends in the venture. They attacked Neece, who was accompanied by his friends Frank Gibbeons and Dan Hathorn at the spring near the church and a bloody fight ensued in which Gabe Chain himself was killed. During the fight another of the Chain gang slumped to the ground, and was asked by one of his comrades whether he was hurt much, a question answered by Dan Hathorn who said, “You damn right he is hurt. He is dead as hell.” Hathorn saved Neece Sullivan by pulling two guns and warning the others that, "If you touch him, you are dead men."
Despite the fact that Bill Sullivan was proclaimed ‘king’ of Sullivan’s Hollow, Dan Hathorn appears to have been an individual to be reckoned with. He appears again in Hammons’ book on page 99:
Many acts of violence occurred at the sawmill at Bunker Hill. This sawmill, a sash mill, was first erected by Francis Marion Howell and Wiley Sullivan. At one time, when a man named Eaton attempted to kill his brother in law, Hathorn, to obtain possession of it, Eaton stabbed Hathorn three times in the back, and two shots were put through his chest by a man named Yawn who accompanied Eaton. While Eaton was stabbing him, Hathorn seized his own pistol and shot Eaton through the heart and killed him. Hathorn recovered from his wounds and lived eighteen years after this incident.
Despite its notorious reputation, modern research has shown that reports were exaggerated; the fearsome reputation was doubtless not unwelcome to the inhabitants, who valued their independence and privacy. Some see similarities with the Irish jig “Out on the Ocean (1)," but the relationship is superficial and the tunes are not cognate.