Monday, April 25, 2011

The Hollimans of Alabama

by Glenn N. Holliman

Back to the 19th Century...A Series of Articles on the Hollimans and Related Families of Fayette County, Alabama

Below are observations by Holliman family historian, Glenda Norris.  She credits much of her knowledge to Dr. Rhodes Holliman, her uncle.  It was Rhodes who, as a boy in the 1930s, would hike several miles into the piney woods, dodging more than a few snakes to re-discover the location for the family.  Several monuments now mark this spot.

Glenda Norris reports:

"Charles Daniel Lucas, Jr. was the son of Charles Daniel Lucas, Sr. and 'Dorcas' (no last name has been found). It is believed that the mother of Charles Daniel Lucas, Jr. could be a Catawba Indian from the Pee Dee River area in Marlboro CountySouth Carolina. She was only 13 years old when she married Charles Daniel Lucas, Sr., a tailor.  Their son, Charles Jr., was born on June 30, 1771 and died May 31, 1853."

Above, on April 9, 2011, Holliman and Lucas descendants take the trail to the Lucas and Indian graves which are located several hundred yards through the woods off County Road 100 in south Fayette County.

"Charles Daniel Lucas, Jr. was a traveler and migrated from South Carolina to Alabama before the Holliman brothersHis first homestead was in Marengo County, Alabama where he purchased 80 acres on October 20, 1823 and then 80 more the next spring.  Two years later, he established a homestead in Fayette County, and still ambitious, 40 acres on October 16, 1834 in Tuscaloosa County.  

The Fayette and Tuscaloosa properties were connected, almost touching Highway 171 on its east side. He was a deacon at the Spring Hill Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa County.  A monument at the church celebrates he and Cornelius Holliman, a son-in-law, as ‘founders’ of this church.

Charles Jr.  earned his living 'stock dipping' and as a Federal Indian agent. Newtonville, Alabama straddled the line between the territory of the Chickasaw (north) and the Choctaw (south).  By 1836, all these land claims were extinguished.  In a dreadful and, even in that day, controversial act, most of the Native Americans remaining were removed to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma).  

With the dispersal of the tribes, the Federal government sold the land to immigrant families from the south east U.S. - the Hollimans, Lucases and other associated families.

Charles Lucas, Jr. claimed to be ‘black Dutch’, a term at the time to obscure one's possible Indian ancestry but this has not been proven, only speculated.  He was a man of large stature (6’4” - 6’6”) and had great strength.  It has been passed down through generations that Charles Daniel killed a panther with his bare hands.

His burial site is in southern Fayette County, Newtonville area off of County Road 100 (Walnut Lane). At one time this land belonged to Charles Jr. and his home was not far from the burial site. His grave is on a ridge line, over looking a ravine. The site is an Indian burial ground as he chose to be buried with his friends."

Glenda Norris, foreground, provides information at the internment site and memorials to Charles Daniel Lucas, Jr.  The site contains numerous Choctaw or Chickasaw Indian burials, disturbed in an earlier century by grave robbers.

"Charles Daniel Jr. was married to Mary Hasten (in some places spelled Hastings). They had 10 children together. Family historians suggest that Charles Daniel ‘over disciplined’ one of his children with his cane. This did not go over very well with his family and because of his temper, his wife, Mary and the rest of his children left him and moved to the Bluff community. Due to this estrangement Mary Hasten Lucas was buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery, 20 or so miles north of this pioneer’s resting place."

This original stone marker stands on the burial site of Charles Daniel Lucas, Jr., pioneer and Indian agent, who helped open Northwest Alabama to Anglo and African American settlement in the early 19th Century.

When Charles Daniel Lucas, Jr. was born, George III, was sovereign over the American colonies.  When Charles Jr. died, Franklin Pierce had just become president of the United States, a union on the verge of dissolving."

For additional information on Charles Daniel Lucas, Jr., go to Archives and the February 13 and 26, 2010 editions of this blog.  Rhodes Holliman incorporated his own research and that of his father, Cecil Holliman and the late Walt Holliman to create some excellent articles that are available for all to read.  Some of the general information for these postings comes also from Robert Scott Davis's book, "Tracing your Alabama Past" (University of Mississippi Press, 2003).

More soon on the Holliman migrations across the Southern United States from the 17th to the 19th Centuries....Information and your written insights always welcome as we share together.

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