Ep. 68: Holt Collier - Slave, Confederate Soldier, and Bear Hunter, Part 1
On this episode of the Bear Grease Podcast we'll be introduced to the man that president Theodore Roosevelt said was “the greatest hunter and guide I have ever known.” Many believe his legacy deserves to be on the American pedestal with the likes of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. And some might even suggest he stand with the great African American civil rights pioneers early 20th century, based upon the standing he had in society and the life he lived. However, his life is riddled with mystery and controversy, but if you’re like me, after you’ve been exposed to the energy, audacity and bravery of this life, you’ll never – ever – forget the name Holt Collier.
Holt Collier was born a slave and at age fourteen after he joined the Confederate Army and fought with distinction the entirety of the war. Afterwards he became a market hunter black bear. After the civil war he killed a white man in Mississippi, but no charges were pressed and was later accused of killing another one and was acquitted for the murder. He hob-knobbed with some of the most powerful men in the Delta gaining their loyalty and trust. But what he’s most known for is guiding the then sitting president, Theodore Roosevelt on two bear hunts in the Mississippi Delta and gaining his friendship and respect. Holt Collier lassoed a bear and tied it to a tree for the president, who refused to shoot it, and from this the press coined the term “Teddy Bear” which has become a global term, and it would have never happened if it wasn’t for the creative grit of a black man named, Holt Collier. Undoubtedly, Holt’s life doesn’t fit into anybody’s mold and I think that’s what qualifies him as a great American. He lived an almost unbelievable life. On this episode we'll interview Minor Ferris Buchannon, Hank Burdine and Jonathan Wilkins to try to understand who Holt was.
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