Friday, May 7, 2010

Our Family's Colonial Era, Part V

Tobacco and Our Family
by Glenn N. Holliman

As noted, our great grandfather Christopher Holliman Sr. acquired much land in Virginia. By the time of his death in 1691, he left 1,020 acres, along the Blackwater River and Mill Swamp (purchase completed 1684), to his four sons.

Christopher Sr. was also well respected in the community. The Thomas Pittman family tree website reports that in 1671 Christopher Sr. was witnessing deeds, and in 1676, joined other leaders in the Isle of Wight community who signed a petition concerning Nathaniel Bacon's ill-fated rebellion against the Royal Government.

There is some information that Sr. may have been in the shipping business, probably with some brothers and later with his son, Richard Holliman. In 1702 Richard Holliman transported enough persons to Virginia to claim over 1,000 acres of land through the Virginia headright system. If one imported, or paid for the importation of an immigrant, the transporter received 50 acres in land per person.

The shipping sketch portrays one of
the fragile sailing ships of the time. Note the
barrels of tobacco being loaded for England.

Most assuredly the Holliman family grew tobacco (Christopher Sr.’s will mentions tobacco barns). They probably hauled hogsheads to the river where it was then shipped to England. Tobacco as a commercial crop was first developed by John Rolfe, Pocahontas’s husband, in 1610s.

Thus began an ecological and social alliance with tobacco and slavery; two items that would shape the future of our family and country.

Next week, we will take a break from the 17th century and visit the 20th century through some Holliman World War II veterans. My daughter, Grace, has edited several articles sent in by relatives honoring all Hollimans for their service. In June we will continue our tour of Colonial Virginia and look further back to our Holliman English roots.

No comments:

Post a Comment