- Holt Collier: His Life, His Roosevelt Hunts, and The Origin of the Teddy Bear (2002)
by Philip Downer (SHS) 2002
Minor Ferris Buchanan was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1951 to George McAfee Buchanan, Jr., and Anne Louise Ferris Buchanan. He has a brother, George McAfee Buchanan, III, and a sister named Helen Victoria Buchanan. Buchanan was raised in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and worked on a farm for most of his life. He lived there until he graduated from high school in 1969. He graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Art degree and a “double major” in history and anthropology in 1976. He also graduated with a minor in English.
In 1978, Buchanan received his Juris Doctorate from the Mississippi College School of Law was admitted to the Mississippi Bar Association in 1980 (Buchanan). He served as a research assistant for the Mississippi Supreme Court immediately after his admission to the bar. He is a member of the Hinds County and American Bar Associations, the Mississippi State Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the Hinds County Trial Lawyers Administration. He served as president of the Hinds County Trial Lawyers Administration from 1987 to 1990. His law practice is in Jackson, Mississippi, and includes the areas of personal injury, criminal law, and domestic relations.
Buchanan is married to Virginia Buchanan, and they have three daughters named Colleen, Holly, and Cameron Buchanan. He and his family live in Jackson, Mississippi, and are members of the United Episcopal Church, Southern District (Martindale). Buchanan’s interest in Holt Collier began several years ago when he was trying to write a bedtime story for his daughter about the “teddy bear” after he and his wife took their children on a field trip to the Memphis Zoo. His youngest daughter did not want to leave the zoo until they saw a real teddy bear. When he told her that teddy bears were not real, she cried. When she gained her composure, she asked, “If it is not real, then where did it come from?” After ten years of research, he completed the publication of Holt Collier: His Life, His Roosevelt Hunts, and The Origin of the Teddy Bear, which was published by Centennial Press in 2002 (Bertram). He is currently thinking about writing and publishing more books (Buchanan).
Buchanan was the non-fiction winner of the 2004 MLA Mississippi Authors’ Awards. He also won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters non-fiction award in 2003.
A Review of Holt Collier: His Life, His Roosevelt Hunts, and The Origin of the Teddy Bear
by Philip Downer (SHS)
Holt Collier: His Life, His Roosevelt Hunts, and The Origin of the Teddy Bear by Minor Ferris Buchanan is the biography of a former slave named Holt Collier. Holt Collier was born in the late 1840s as a slave of General Thomas Hinds. Collier is known for his efforts in the Civil War and for his hunts with Theodore Roosevelt. When his master, Thomas Hinds, decided to go and fight in the war, Collier believed that he should also. When he wasn’t allowed to go to fight, he ran away and served in the war.
Minor Ferris Buchanan gives an excellent overview of life during the Civil War. His accurate accounts of Collier’s actions on and off the battle field show how dedicated Collier was to fighting to stay loyal to Hinds. Noted Mississippi historian Shelby Foote says that Colt’s “biography is long overdue, for he was a noted pioneer of one of the final wilderness areas of our country.” Collier was a well trained soldier and deserved to have his life story published.
Holt Collier is best known for his guided hunts with Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. At the age of fifty six, Collier led Roosevelt on a bear hunt along the banks of the Little Sunflower River in Sharkey County, Mississippi. The President instructed Collier to save a bear, if spotted, for him to shoot. While Roosevelt and his companions were on a lunch break, Collier spotted a bear headed straight for the President’s hunting dogs. After killing one of the dogs, Collier managed to get the bear tied to a tree. When Roosevelt returned and saw the bear tied to the tree, he refused to kill the innocent animal. After this decision, the “teddy bear” later received its name.
Today’s ever popular “teddy bear” received its name because of Holt Collier. Collier’s life, while seemingly insignificant, made a huge impact on American life. The well-written publication documenting Collier’s life is a serious publication written to express the importance of the life and accomplishments of Holt Collier.
by Philip Downer (SHS)
What are your parents’ names?
“My father is George McAfee Buchanan Jr., and my mother is Anne Louise Ferris Buchanan.”
Where were you raised?
“I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but I was raised in Holly Springs.”
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
“I have a brother named George McAfee Buchanan, III, and I have a sister named Helen Victoria Buchanan.”
What are some of your accomplishments?
“I have a great wife and kids. My recently- published book is probably my greatest accomplishment. On my most accomplishing bird hunt, I hit twenty three out of twenty four shots.”
What inspired you to write books?
“Actually, I was not inspired to become a writer; I was just inspired to write about the life of Holt Collier.”
What are your wife and children’s names?
“My wife’s name is Virginia, and my three daughters are Colleen, Holly, and Cameron.”
Did you enjoy writing the book?
“I enjoyed every minute of it; however, it did cause me many frustrations. People think that researching and writing the book is the most frustrating part, but after this is complete, the publishing is the most frustrating in my opinion.”
- Southern Scribe announces the Mississippi Library Association’s presentation of its top literary honors in 2004 to three of the state’s native writers including Buchanan for non-fiction.
- Exhibit lecture by Buchanan announcement (2013)
- Bertram, Jack. “Fact, myth separated in saga of former slave.” The Clarion- Ledger. 27 Aug. 2002.
- Buchanan, Minor Ferris. Telephone interview. 15 Dec. 2002.
- Martindale- Hubbell Law Directory. Vol. 11. 2000.