Robert (Bob) Holloway Sr. remembers playing dominoes with his grandmother, Lizzie Methvin, in the three-story house that once sat on Rock Hill on what is now Center Street in Longview.
It was the same spot where his great-great-grandfather Ossamus Hitch (O.H.) Methvin Sr. lived when his land deal with the railroad gave birth to Longview in 1870.
It was also where a railroad surveyor is said to have remarked that there was a “long view” from the house’s porch, to which Methvin agreed and Longview was born.
“My daddy’s daddy, (Alton Holloway), married Lizzie Methvin, who was O.H. (Methvin) Jr.’s daughter,” Bob said. “They had three boys and two girls, and my dad was one of the boys: Lowell Holloway Sr.”
Bob was born in 1937 in Longview, to parents Lowell Holloway Sr. and Helen Horn. He was one of five children — along with Lowell Jr., Richard, Frances and Claire. B
“I used to live up there in that house next to Lizzie, by the water tanks there on Center Street,” Bob said. “I used to climb the water tanks when I was young. I wasn’t supposed to, but I did anyway.”
After helping his father with his furniture store and nursery, Bob served in the military for several years. He returned to Longview and started his own nursery in 1958. In 1967, Bob’s Nursery & Landscaping moved to its current location on Judson Road and became New Orleans Gardens. The nursery became one of Bob’s true passions.
“I just enjoyed life, I enjoyed my nurseries — it was something I liked to do,” Bob said.
Bob’s wife, Carolyn Anderson Holloway, said Bob never tires of talking about his family history.
“He has so much pride in his family history,” she said.
Claire Hines, Bob’s younger sister, said she also is proud of her family’s history and has many fond memories of growing up in Longview.
“I remember when I was young, we lived on Judson Road for a while,” Claire said. “And when we lived there, I had a horse, and I used to ride my horse down Eden Drive — it used to be just a narrow little oil road.”
As O.H. Methvin Sr.’s great-great-granddaughter, Claire said she feels a particular responsibility towards the city.
“I’ve stayed here and tried to be a good citizen,” Claire said. She spent 42 years teaching at local middle schools and high schools before retiring. Now she works at First Christian Church Prep School, helping take care of babies and toddlers.
“I love Longview,” Claire said. “I just couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. And I love that my family is here. That’s what I love about it most — that we all stayed here.”
Frances Holloway still lives nearby in Tatum. Lowell Jr. is deceased, as is Richard Alton Holloway, who died in Vietnam.
Claire’s daughter, Holly McKnight, also lives and works in Longview.
“I hold (my ancestry) very dear,” Holly said. “You know everybody has a claim to fame, and I guess I take (being a Methvin descendant) as my claim to fame.”
Holly is a freelance graphic artist. She said she loved growing up in Longview.
“It just felt like a natural neighborhood to grow up in as a kid, as far as riding our bikes and swimming in the creeks and not coming home until the street lights were on,” Holly said. “Maybe that is the case in any small town, but it just made sense to do that in Longview as a kid.”
Holly said Longview has remained a family-oriented town.
“I love that at least 75 percent of my girl friends from high school went away to college, got married, and then even brought their husbands back and started families in Longview,” Holly said. “And so many of those same friends are now small business owners here. There’s just a great sense of community.”
Holly said her family remains tight-knit, including with her two cousins, Richard and Rob Holloway (Bob Holloway’s two sons).
Richard Holloway said he’s always enjoyed history and takes great pride in the connection he has to Longview.
“Just the fact that (Longview) was founded by our family has always been pretty interesting to me,” Richard said. “O.H. Methvin gave up a lot of his land to try to get this town started here and to get the railroad to come here.”
Richard said he remembers winning first place for a seventh grade history project titled “My Town,” in which he detailed his family history and his connection to the city’s founder.
Richard owns New Orleans Gardens Landscaping, which he runs with his wife, Michelle. He spends any free time he has with their 11-year-old daughter, Addison.
Richard said he believes the Holloway’s entrepreneurial spirit was passed down through the generations.
“I have my own business and my brother has his own business,” Richard said. “And we’ve always kind of been an entrepreneurial family. I think it all started with O.H. Methvin Sr. starting the town here.”
Rob Holloway, who bought New Orleans Gardens Nursery from his father, said he continues to try to better the community through his business.
“I definitely feel a sense of responsibility that I need to do everything I can to help make Longview a better place,” Rob said. Rob said he works on projects with Keep Longview Beautiful and tries to spread the nursery’s sustainable and organic practices throughout the city.
“I’m not just trying to sell plants; I’m trying to beautify the city and educate people,” Rob said.
Rob said he, too, has always felt a strong sense of place in Longview. During his junior year in college, Rob spent a semester studying abroad in Italy.
“Being in a medieval city where some of the families have been around for two thousand years, and the city itself has been around for three thousand years — that gave me a strong sense of place, knowing my family has been in this one spot before Longview was even Longview,” Rob said. “It took me going all the way to the other side of the world to realize that sense of place and the deep roots that we have here in Longview.”
Rob kept the Methvin name in the family. His 10-year-old son is named Baxter Hitch Holloway, for Ossamus Hitch (O.H.).
Carol Holloway, Bob and Claire’s cousin and great-great-granddaughter to O.H. Methvin Sr., said she feels a strong connection to Longview because of her roots.
“I have an abundance of family history (in Longview),” Carol said. “It’s not just the O.H. Methvin side of it. My father’s father was an early pioneer here in the Holloway family, and they were responsible for a lot of things that happened here in Longview.”
Though Carol was about six years old when her grandmother passed away, she says she has a lot of respect for Lizzie Methvin.
“My grandmother was a really strong woman,” Carol said. “She had a school for young women where she taught them business skills so they could get good jobs. She was quite the promoter of young women.”
Carol said she remembers heading up to Rock Hill on Sundays after church to visit her grandmother with her father, William Alton Holloway.
“He would take me out on the porch and pick me up and put me on his shoulders and say ‘Now, can you see that long view?’” Carol said.
Carol has spent the past 10 years working for The Network Family of Companies in downtown Longview.
“I’m really proud of the vision our leaders have for Longview,” Carol said. “I love being downtown and seeing the revitalization of the area.”
Carol said part of the fun of working downtown is being able to walk past old historical markers and think of her ancestors.
“I love walking by the courthouse and imagining my great-great-grandfather plowing his corn fields,” Carol said, “and my great-grandfather with his mule-drawn trolley taking people back and forth between the two train depots, stopping by his restaurant to feed them some of his famous chili.”
Zack Methvin siad he always felt something pulling him back to Longview.
Zack, who is O.H. Methvin’s great-great-great-great nephew, was born in Longview in 1970, exactly 100 years after its founding. He lived in Longview the first three years of his life before his parents moved him and his brother, Larry Methvin, to Jackson, Mississippi.
When Zack was 16, his parents moved the family back to Longview because of a business opportunity.
“I have a very strong sense of my place here within the community,” Zack said. “This is my roots; it’s my home; it’s my lineage. A lot of great people did a lot of great things here.”
Zack, who works as a drafting engineer in Gladewater, said he’s tried to stay involved with the city of Longview as much as possible over the years.
“My uncle had a vision,” Zack said. “When he was approached by the Southern Pacific Railroad, he had a vision. He knew that a stop here would bring commerce; he knew that it would bring families; he knew that it was going to bring all forms of businesses.”
Zack said the city has come a long way in a fairly short amount of time.
“It’s been 150 years,” Zack said. “In some ways, 150 years is a long time, but in other ways it’s really not. I would just encourage everyone to take some time and invest a little energy in understanding who O.H. Methvin was, as a man, as a person — his kindness, his generosity, his vision. When you understand those things about who the man was, then everything else about the city makes perfect sense.”