Hole Rose

old photo of man from the 20s with glasses

You may remember a few weeks back I shared the guest post “The Murder (?) of Hol Rose” written by Jim Casada.

Last week Don Casada sent me the link to the presentation he shared on the subject with Friends of the Bryson City Cemetery.

The program discussing the life and death of U.S. Prohibition Agent James Holland “Hol” Rose was a huge success. There were over 50 people at the meeting with more than a few having to stand.

I didn’t get to attend and I’m sure many of you didn’t either. Here’s the link to the presentation:

I encourage you to jump over and read the information, it is a fascinating story.


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  • Reply
    Don Casada
    August 22, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    Pinnacle Creek, thank you, thank you for pointing out the song from Ways that are Dark. I have that album somewhere, and I think br’er Jim may have even given it to me. But it’s been so long since I listened that I’d completely forgotten about it.

    And thank you for recognizing the work that went into the presentation. Both descendants of Hol Rose and Babe Burnett were gracious in sharing.

    Something which I mentioned verbally during the presentation, but don’t think I included in the slides (probably should have) is that when Verlin Burnett, Babe’s son, had already been married for two years – and was still married when he married Ima Rose, Hol’s daughter. While the marriage of Verlin and Ima was well known and discussed by both Horace Kephart and in newspapers of the time, it wasn’t until I was researching this that I discovered the further background. There is no record of Verlin and Ima divorcing, and if you’ll look at Slide 42, Verlin was named as her husband when TVA took the Rose property.

    Verlin and his wife went on to have a family, and the family knew.

    You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  • Reply
    harry adams
    August 22, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Very interesting story. Moon-shining was the norm back then and to most the revenuers were the villains. Anyone remember the movie “Thunder Road”.

    Reminded me of the Sue Logue shoot-out in Edgefield, SC where my father grew up. It is still talked about in the area. I think every area has a Bonnie and Clyde or Tom Dooley story.

    My mother seemed to think people were meaner in those days. I don’t think it is much different. TV has just made us accept it more.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 22, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Wow! Don’t know where to start, there is so many interesting things to read and view. Hol Rose comes off as an over zealous agent and that Babe was expecting trouble from him. A shotgun hid in the hay to shoot crows is a stretch to believe, but could be true. Crows are smart you know. I probably would have found Babe not guilty, seeing as he was fired on first. Yes it would make a good movie if done by people that understood and appreciated Appalachian culture. I’ve seen too many of the making fun movies.
    A few things I noticed: last names that are common in my area of E.KY, old chimneys, but not so much anymore, old batteries like those and the square ones, and the TVA. We don’t have TVA in my area but the Corps of Engineers has taken many homes and land from the people for dams. I’m guessing too, but that must be a lightbulb cage and the coils act as a shock absorber or to hold bulb tight. Maybe? Gotta go, have to do brake job on my jeep.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Where was I the day that was posted? Then again today I must run errands. The stories associated with the long ago past of moonshine making and revenuers on the hunt is among the most interesting to me. My family still hands down the stories in great detail, and I have great uncles and ancestors from both sides of the law. Members of the family still speak of my grandfather’s loss of a younger brother, McKinley Green. They have collected newspaper articles, and retold the story so much I feel I have a special bond with an uncle I never knew. Prohibition and the Great Depression were some strange days, and as a child I was raised by parents who survived the “Depression.”It was a time when mountain men chose different paths to feed families, and everybody had strong feelings against or for the men they called revenuers.
    I will certainly dig into that story when I get back, as always find anything relating to Don Casada very interesting. These types of stories make great movies because we are somehow drawn to the drama of yesteryear. Thanks to all who keep our history alive!

    • Reply
      August 22, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      I have been reading this and it is truly fascinating–a lot to figure out. It is apparent that much work went into that presentation. Since everything is on YouTube I thought I would check it out and found this catchy tune about Hol Rose. Usually any tragic story back in the day had a song about it.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 22, 2019 at 6:40 am

    What a story, yes, it would make a good movie…but a long one! Thanks Don, for the story and pictures.

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