Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Spalding County, Georgia
Alice Jane died on September 16, 1866. This was a terrible blow to young John Henry for he and his mother were very close. To compound this loss, his father married Rachel Martin only three months later on December 18, 1866. Shortly after this marriage, the Holliday family moved to Valdosta, Georgia. Major Holliday quickly became one of the town's leading citizens, becoming Mayor, the Secretary of the County Agricultural Society, a Member of the Masonic Lodge, the Secretary of the Confederate Veterans Camp, and the Superintendent of local elections.
Because of his family status, John Henry had to choose some sort of profession and he chose dentistry. He enrolled in dental school in 1870 and attended his first lecture session in 1870-1872. Each lecture session lasted a little over three months. John wrote his required thesis on "Disease of the Teeth". He served his required two years apprenticeship under Dr. L.F. Frank. On March 1, 1872, the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in Philadelphia, conferred the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery upon twenty-six men, one of whom was John Henry Holliday. Upon completion of his training and graduation, Dr. Holliday opened an office with a Dr. Arthur C. Ford in Atlanta in 1872. The Atlanta Constitution on July 26, 1872, ran the following item:
"I hereby inform my patients that I have to attend the session of the Southern Dental Association in Richmond, Virginia, and will be absent until about the middle of August, during which time Dr. John H. Holliday will fill my place in my office. Office: 26 Whitehall Street - Arthur C. Ford, D.D.A."
John was a good dentist, but shortly after starting his practice, he discovered that he had contracted tuberculosis. Although he consulted a number of doctors, the consensus of all was that he had only months to live. However, they all concurred that he might add a few months to his life if he moved to a dry climate. Following this advice, Doc packed up and headed West. His first stop was in Dallas, Texas, the end of the railroad at the time. The date was October 1873, and Doc soon found a suitable position as an associate of Dr. John A. Seegar. He hung out his shingle and prepared for business, but his terrible illness was not through with him. Coughing spells wracked his thin frame and often occurred at the most embarrassing times, such as in the midst of filling a tooth or making an extraction. As a result, his dental business gradually declined. John soon had to find other means of earning a livelihood.