Friday, February 26, 2010

Mary Polly Lucas Part I


Family histories are put together with work and support from many people. My daughter, Grace, and I are pleased to collect writings, photos and memoirs of others and share them with a growing extended family. In this posting we present the writings of our cousin Dr. Rhodes Holliman, Dublin, Virginia, on Mary Polly Lucas Holliman, John Thomas Holliman and James Franklin Holliman.

Rhodes notes that he is building on the work of others; specifically from the research of his father, Cecil Rhodes Holliman and a distant cousin, Walter Orien Holliman. A great deal of what we know of the John Thomas Holliman siblings, and recent ancestors, comes from the work of these men.

Rhodes Holliman
at home in Dublin, VA

Walter Orien Holliman, a meticulous family researcher, passed away in 2003. Walt's father was Moses Holliman, who was the son of Warren C. Holliman, who was the son of Charles Holliman, who was the son of James Grantson Holliman (1750-1836), a common grandfather to almost all reading this blog.

Another cousin with whom we have been in contact is Ron Holliman of Dothan, Alabama. For several decades he has researched the Holliman tree and has amassed considerable information. He is a grandson of Greene Holliman, a son of John Thomas and Martha Jane Holliman. We look forward to his contributions in future blog posts.

Glenda Norris of Alabaster, Alabama, a great great granddaughter of John Thomas Holliman, is preparing an article on Samuel Taylor Walker. Walker is the father of Martha Jane Walker Holliman, her great great grandmother, and wife of John Thomas.

We look forward to continuing contact and compiling memorabilia from other members of the extended family.

Feature Story: Mary Polly Lucas Holliman

In 21 years of married life, Mary Polly and Uriah Holliman would produce 13 children – seven boys and six girls. Polly could hitch up a mule to a plow and till the soil as well as any man. While maintaining her farm, she became the only source of medical assistance in her community. Often she had to travel many miles by mule to help those in need.


Part I – The Story of Mary Polly Lucas Holliman (pictured here in 1913)
By Dr. Rhodes Holliman, originally published in Southern Times Magazine of Tuscaloosa and West Alabama, issue no. 125.

The daughter of Charles Daniel Lucas and Mary Hastings (see Blog vol. 1) was born in South Carolina on January 2, 1819. She died at Vernon, Alabama on July 5, 1913. She married Uriah Holliman in Tuscaloosa County on August 29, 1836 and together they had 13 children, all delivered by herself. She is buried in Springhill Baptist Cemetery, in Bluff, Alabama.

Very little has been published on the privations suffered by southern farm housewives who were widowed by their husband’s deaths in the Civil War. The following story is a documented history of one such woman, this writer’s great-great grandmother, who lived 94 years in poverty by our current standards, yet became the post-war heroine of her backwoods county in northwest Alabama.

Mary Polly Lucas Holliman of Marlboro County, South Carolina, as noted was the daughter of Charles Daniel Lucas, born in South Carolina on July 30, 1771. Charles Lucas died in Newtonville, Alabama on May 31, 1853. Her mother was Mary Hastings, born in South Carolina on September 10, 1786 and died in Fayette County, Alabama on January 21, 1867. Charles Daniel Lucas and Mary had 10 children.

Charles was reputed to be a large man (6’4” to 6’6”) and had great strength. May Polly loved to tell the story of how he killed a panther with his bare hands. He was also a man of hot temper and a disciplinary tyrant, but that is another story. He was a tailor by trade and after moving to Alabama, a Federal Indian Agent and stock dipper. Charles Daniel was buried in an Indian burial ground on top of a wood hill about seven miles south of Fayette, Alabama.

This writer can remember that graveyard from my childhood (1930s), but it was accessible only by a long hike with a guide over cultivated fields and forests, several miles from the nearest road. Charles Daniel and Mary came to the Newtonville, Alabama community in the 1830s, and purchased land patents from the government.

Mary Polly Lucas married Uriah Holliman in Tuscaloosa County on August 29, 1836. The marriage was performed by the Rev. John Walters, M.G. Uriah Holliman was born in Lancaster County, South Carolina on July 6, 1816 and died at Okolona, Mississippi on May 8, 1862 while in the service of the Confederate Army.

He was the son of Cornelius Holliman, born in Lancaster County, South Carolina on September 25, 1792. Cornelius married Elizabeth Plyler in 1813. She was born in South Carolina in the late 1700s, and died in Fayette County in 1838. She is buried in as tack-rock grave at the Springhill Cemetery in northern Tuscaloosa County, near Moore’s Bridge, just off Route 171. They had five children. He is buried at Old Blooming Grove Cemetery in eastern Lamar County, Alabama. As a veteran of the War of 1812, a memorial stone has been placed in that cemetery to his memory.

Over a period of several years, Uriah obtained a total of 320 acres of government patent homestead land in northwest Fayette County and developed a large, productive farm. It would prove essential to feed his rapidly expanding brood. In 21 years of married life, Mary Polly and Uriah would produce 13 children. All reached adult life except the first, Mary, who lived four years. With medial assistance unavailable and the remoteness of their farm, Mary Polly delivered all of her own children, which gave her valuable experience for events to come.

As the clouds of the Civil war appeared, five of her family joined the Confederate Army: her husband, Uriah at age of 46, and sons, James Franklin, Charles Daniel, John Thomas and Elijah. Her daughter, Sarah Jane, married an Italian immigrant who volunteered as a Confederate soldier.

Only two of her military family would survive the war: her sons Lt. James Franklin Holliman, Company B, 58th Alabama Infantry Regiment, and Pvt. John Thomas Holliman, Company H, 41st Alabama Infantry Regiment. James Franklin is buried in the Holliman-Steward cemetery south of Bluff, Alabama and John Thomas, this writer’s great grandfather, is buried at Caine’s Ridge Cemetery just south of Fayette, Alabama.

End of Part I.
In our next post, Polly loses a husband and works desperately to survive the War and economic hard times.

The Grandfather and Father of Mary Polly Lucas Holliman

Source: Genealogy of the Dodson, Lucas, Pyles, Rochester and Allied Families
By: S. Emmett Lucas, Jr. Privately printed 1959, Birmingham, Alabama.

There seems to be no information concerning the Lucas family prior to these great grandfathers. Emmett Lucas speculates the family may have been Welsh in origin and from Pennsylvania.

Charles Lucas, Sr. b before 1755; d ca 1805-1810. Wife: Dorcas, b before 1755; d ca. 1805-1819. Lived in Marlboro Co., SC, known as a tailor.

Charles Daniel Lucas, son of Charles Lucas, Sr., b 6/30/1771; d 5/31/1853. Wife Mary Hastings, b 9/10/1786; d 1/21/1867.

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