Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our Family's Colonial Era - Part VIII

by Glenn N. Holliman

In 1635, persons whose last names are similar to Holliman, were living in Virginia. Are they our ancestors? Who were Thomas Holeman (Holman) and Robert Hollman?

Cousins Jeanette Stewart, Joe Parker and Maxine Wright have drawn my attention to the name and landownership of Thomas Holeman who purchased property in 1635 in Martin's Hundred, approximately ten miles south of Jamestown, Virginia. On p. 30 of Nugent's Cavaliers and Pioneers, Patent Book No. 1, Part I is a listing of a purchase of fifty acres of land in James County, adjacent to John Dennett and Capt. John West. The land had belonged to one Thomas Harvey who had died (the death rate was very high in early Virginia).

Is this the Thomas Holyman (Holiman, Holman, etc.) who was baptized September 13, 1612 at St. Mary's, Bedford, Bedfordshire, England? As noted in early posts, Thomas and Ellenora Holliman of Bedford were the parents of a Thomas and three other children with the names of John, Judith and Christopher Holyman, the same names as other persons who lived in Virginia in 1650.

In some recent research at the Library of Virginia in Richmond, I consulted numerous works, seeking to know more of this Thomas. Martha W. McCartney in Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers 1607 - 1635, also writes of Thomas patenting land on August 24, 1635. Ms. McCartney spells his name 'Holman', not 'Holeman'. Likewise, Gary Parks' index of Virginia Land Records records Thomas as a 'Holman'.

Gravestones were not common in Colonial Virginia until the 1700s when the colony began to 'mature' and relatives had the resources to purchase and craftsmen to carve rock. Below is the memorial marker for Alice Holleman of the 19th Century, who lived and is buried on the original plantation of Christopher Holyman Sr. Unfortunately, of course, there are no markers for ancestors who lived in the 1600s and precious few for the 1700s. Weather and time have eroded even stone.

And Who was Robert Holliman?

Then there is twice mention of one Robert Hollman (not Holman or Hollyman) in Virginia Land Records, pages 666 and 674, on the dates of June 1 and March 6, 1635 in Henrico County, Virginia. Henricio is north of Jamestown and now encompasses the city of Richmond. This Robert Hollman owned land adjacent to the 'main' river, that is the James.

Granted spelling was atrocious in Colonial Virginia. The records are hard to read, and last names were spelled in different ways and often inaccurately.

So are Thomas and Robert our Holliman ancestors or some one else's?
If so, at least 15 years before Christopher Holyman Sr., our known ancestor, arrived, were his relatives, perhaps a brother and/or a cousin, already in the Chesapeake region? Did they prepare the way for more Hollimans who arrived in 1650 and later?

More in our next ever your knowledge and research, most welcome.

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