Thursday, April 28, 2016

Christopher Hollyman's Plantation - 332 Years On

by Glenn N. Holliman

Cousin Joe Barlow, whose mother Gladys Holleman Barlow was born at the 1830 Holleman House on the site of Christopher Hollyman's 1684 plantation, kindly has sent me this clipping from the April 13, 2016 edition of the Smithfield Times.  His sister, Sarah Barlow Wright shares information on the home.

Christopher Hollyman (1618-1691) first settled along the Cypress River in Isle of Wight County, Virginia in 1661 according to early deeds.  As an older man of age 66, he patented the 1,020 acres along Mill Swamp bordering Surrey County and built a home and tobacco barns.  He left the land and improvements to his four sons.

Below a photograph of Gladys Holleman Barlow and her 1996 obituary sharing information on her life in Isle of Wight County, Virginia.  Picture and obituary courtesy of the Barlow family.

For additional information on the Holleman House, Gladys Holleman Barlow and Isle of Wight Hollemans, please review my postings of autumn of 2013.  

Again our thanks to Billy Joe Holleman, his wife and son and all the Barlows for their many kindnesses during the early April 2016 Gathering of Hollymans from all over the United States.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Going Forward

by Glenn N. Holliman

Thoughts to Share and Feedback Welcome

Our first national gathering of the Christopher Hollyman Families Society was held March 31 - April 2, 2016 in Smithfield, Virginia.  Judging from the comments and photographs posted on Face Book, it proved to be the grand experience the organizers hoped it would be.  Allen Holleman and I met with Sarah Barlow Wright, Joe Barlow and Billy Joe Holleman in October 2015 to carve the outlines of a three day event.  Allen kindly took on the job of coordinating meeting and residence space and registration.

Left, part of the group at our gathering space for our meetings, Billy Joe Holleman in the blue shirt and Brenda Holloman, right, in white.

The Smithfield Inn, where we had dinner on March 31st, had the only private room in town with a restaurant attached (or the other way around).  We originally thought the service and space would be fine for say 25 or so who might attend, even believing the rooms available at the Smithfield Inn would be sufficient for out-of-towners.

Wow, did you surprise us!  Almost sixty persons registered (some could not make it at the last minute) pleasantly forcing Allen to reach out to the Hampton Inn for lodging, meeting space and to bring in a food truck for meals.  And he did all this from Raleigh, North Carolina, a lot of work for which we are all grateful.  

Right, Mike Holliman, Jimmy Holliman, Norman Holliman and Becky Holliman Payne, all with Alabama roots.

And Billy Joe and wife went over the top, not only escorting us around the Holleman House, providing a hay ride to the possible resting place of Christopher Hollyman and other descendants, but then feeding us Smithfield Ham, cookies and hot and cold drinks at the Mill Swamp Baptist Church.  That church is the first Baptist Church planted in Virginia and was founded in part by the Hollemans.  The land for the cemetery adjacent to the church was donated by Hollemans from Christopher's original 1,020 acres.

Joe Parker, center in the light blue shirt, helped 'supervise' the generous ham sandwich snack at Mill Swamp.   

Besides the emotional experience of standing on historic Hollyman ground and the delightful opportunity to meet so many new cousins, the conference provided education on mutual family history and discussion on formalizing a Hollyman society.  Some of these outcomes I reported in the recent April  5, 2016 post.  

One thought in particular was the desire to meet again, to hold another Gathering, perhaps in two years, and perhaps even in England, the ancestral European home of Christopher's descendants. 

So the purpose of this blog is really a questionnaire asking for your feed back.  May I ask you to send your comments to please.  Whether you attended earlier this month or not, we would welcome your opinion as we go forward in planning.

1. If and when another Gathering is held, where should it be?

2. Should we meet at a conference hotel with an in-house restaurant, meeting rooms and an indoor pool for children who might attend with parents and/or grandparents?  

3. Or should we hold the Gathering at a less expensive conference center in the woods, perhaps a bit more rustic setting and facilities but at a lower cost?  And such might not be near an Interstate Highway or airport.

4. Should it be held at or near a historic Holliman landmark, such as Samuel Holliman's 1741 restored home in Edgecombe County, North Carolina?  Or should we stay in the Jamestown/Richmond, Virginia area, our common American ancestral home?

5. Would one have an interest in holding a Gathering in Buckinghamshire, England and visit historic sites in High Wycombe, Cuddington, Dinton, Sherington and Bedford, Bedfordshire?  Obviously this would require a lot of planning and appropriate expense.

Below in 2014, Carolyn Stonham, owner of the 1699 Holyman House in Cuddington, Buckingshire, England with cousins Lindsay Holliman of England and Glenn Holliman of Pennsylvania, USA.  This thatch cottage would be an important stop on a Hollyman ancestral tour of England.

In my next post, I will get into agenda building.  As one plans a conference, one wants to offer subject matter that is meaningful to as many as possible.  That is why we met in Isle of Wight County, Virginia and began our program with the latest research on our English roots. Everyone there had that interest in common.  

So more thoughts and opinion seeking in the next blog.  Enough for now.  Please take a moment to respond to the above questions.  

Again, just write me at or leave a comment below. I will 'combine' thoughts and share the findings.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Holyman Gathering in Virginia

by Glenn N. Holliman

A report on the First National Gathering of the Descendants of Christopher Hollyman (1618-1691)....

They came from Washington, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia - direct descendants of the Englishman who migrated in 1650 from Bedford, Bedfordshire to Isle of Wight, Virginia. This picture taken at the Smithfield, Virginia Hampton Inn were many stayed and sessions were held.

Christopher Holyman (or Hollyman) settled in 1661 along the Cypress River and in 1684 nestled his family in northern Isle of Wight County along the Surrey County border.  He left his four sons over 1,000 acres to be divided amongst themselves.  Direct descendants - the Barlows and Hollemans still live in the county and in southeast Virginia and provided hospitality for those who traveled back to the community where the American venture of this extended family began.

Right, Steve Holleman of South Carolina and Allen Holleman of North Carolina.

Counting spouses and significant others, over 50 individuals from March 31 to April 2, 2016 enjoyed visiting and sharing research on our various lineages.  Organized by Allen Holleman of Raleigh, North Carolina and coordinated with the great assistance of Joe Barlow and Billy Joe Holleman of Smithfield, Virginia, cousins explored early home sites of 17th century Hollymans.

Below, after first sessions and an afternoon stop at the Isle of Wight Museum (a gem of a museum), the group traveled to the original plantation of Christopher Hollyman.  Billy Joe Holleman, owner and steward of the Hollyman plantation, explained who is buried in the family cemetery adjacent to the 1830 Holleman House and other older out buildings.  After a tour of the grounds and farm, Billy Joe and his wife hosted a late afternoon 'feast' of gourmet Smithfield ham and rolls at the Mill Swamp Baptist Church fellowship hall.

Many expressed their deep feelings at being able to walk the ground where Christopher Hollyman and family had girded virgin timber, cleared the first fields, raised livestock, corn and a cash crop and thrived in the New World.  And from this place, our ancestors lived and eventually began the western movement across what became the United States of America.  

Below, Sarah Barlow Wright, whose mother was raised in the Holleman House in Mill Swamp, shared her knowledge of the 1830 colonial style residence.  On this property Hollemans have lived and continue to live since 1684.

Billy Joe Holliman even provided a 'hay wagon' to take cousins deep into the former plantation fields to share the site of the oldest cemetery known to hold the remains of ancestors. Right in red, Laurie Sherrod and in white top with black dots, Jeanette Holiman Stewart.

Below in light green, Brenda Holloman of of Wake County, North Carolina, shared her thoughts as the group gathered at the oldest cemetery located on original Hollyman land. In living memory, a house of unknown age, but old, was located near this location.  Is this then the unmarked grave of Christopher Hollyman and some of his 18th century descendants?   We may never know.  Then again, what if?

 At the Hampton Inn community room, sessions were held on our English heritage and research papers and booklets distributed by Lynn Holliman, Steve Holleman, Allen Holleman and Glenn Holliman.  Importantly consensus emerged to formally organize a Christopher Hollyman Families Historical Society with future memberships and gatherings.  Among the goals of the Society will be to conduct scholarly research and share and preserve that research and family documents and photographs.

Below center in light blue, Joe Parker, acknowledged 'dean' of Hollyman family history, donated a volume of his research to be scanned and uploaded to the family's new virtual archive at .

Development of a Society web site is to be explored that would link or fold into the site current assets.  These being the Yahoo Hollyman group chatroom and Hollyman Facebook page developed and administered by Tina Peddie (who can be reached at and the Hollyman Tree administered by Jeanette Holiman Stewart (who can be reached at  Other assets include two administered by this writer - and a virtual archive at .

Additional photographs of this emotional and important Gathering can be found at the Hollyman Facebook page. Photographs on this page provided by Alice Holliman Murphy of Texas.

Please continue to watch this space not only for more items of family history, but information on the emerging Christopher Hollyman Families Historical Society....