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Granny Dollar by Neal Wooten

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This is a novel based on one of the most fascinating and legendary characters in northeast Alabama history, Granny Dollar (circa 1826-1931). The author worked closely with professors and librarians and came up with 27 sources of information about this humble Cherokee woman who died 75 years ago, yet so much remains unauthenticated that it made sense to tell her story as a novel. Until somebody does even more hard work to discover the obscure sources that could possibly authenticate every aspect of the Granny Dollar story, this book will remain the closest we have to her biography. Nancy Dollar’s story was first told when she and her dog, Buster, arrived in 1926 at the Master School for Southern Mountain Boys and Girls on Lookout Mountain near Mentone, Alabama. She said that her husband of twenty years, Nelson Dollar, had recently died and she could no longer support herself. The school and its founder, Colonel Milford Howard, took her in. At that time she said she was born one hundred years earlier at Buck’s Pocket on nearby Sand Mountain, and that her Cherokee family hid from the Trail of Tears in a cave. Subsequently, they lived in the Atlanta area, but her father, William Callahan, and her fiancé, Tom Porter, were killed in Civil War battles. She was 79 when she moved to Lookout Mountain and married Norman Dollar. Homer Hickam wrote of this biography, “Intriguing, well-written, and kept my interest throughout.” Don Reid of the Statler Brothers commented, “I love it. . . .You do a great job.” The author, Neal Wooten, grew up on a Sand Mountain pig farm. A stand-up comic, he is a columnist for the Mountain Valley News of Rainsville, Alabama, and currently lives in Milwaukee.

Fort Payne, Alabama: Mirror Publishing, 2017. 165 pages with a map and photos. Trade paperback