Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Parents of James Grantson Holliman, Part I

by Glenn N. Holliman

Who are the Parents and Grandparents of James Grantson Holliman (1750 - 1836)?

Several months ago, I posted articles on Hollimans who settled in West Alabama in the 1830s and their descendants who live there to this day.  The Alabama Hollimans (and others) descend from James Grantson Holliman, my generation's 4th great grand father who was born in Johnston County, North Carolina in 1750 and died in Lancaster County, South Carolina in 1836.  Some of his children, one being Cornelius Holliman, my 3rd great grandfather, moved to Alabama the year their father died.

The Hollimans (various spellings) began to leave southern Virginia, generally Isle of Wight and Surrey Counties, in the decades after the Tuscarora tribe was displaced from North Carolina in the 1710s and 1720s.  As with thousands of others, they began to settle south of the Virginia border in the tidewater, sand hill and piedmont sections of eastern North Carolina.  The spelling of Holliman varied from generation to generation and from county clerk to county clerk.  Hence, one find Hollomans, Hollemans and other variations after the 'y' in Holyman gave way to other vowels.

As with almost all genealogies there are 'missing gaps' or uncertainties of the names of ancestors.  What follows hopefully a mystery solved concerning my generation's 5th great grandparents.

The names of the parents and grandparents of James Grantson Holliman have been a puzzle to many.  A popular Holliman family lineage web site states that Christopher Holliman Sr. (d 1691) begat Christopher Holliman, Jr. (true enough) who begat John Holliman (true) who begat Jesse Holliman (true) who was the father of James Grantson Holliman (not supported by evidence).  

Several years ago over dinner in Virginia with my cousin Dr. Rhodes Holliman (who along with his late father Cecil Rhodes) is an accomplished Holliman historian, observed that the family lineage between Christopher Sr. and James Grantson was 'soft' and had some holes in it.  Coming from a person highly immersed in Holliman history, and who has continued to build on his father's extensive research, well, this got my attention.  Dr. Rhodes Holliman, below, has been stalwart in keeping the flame of the history of Alabama Hollimans burning brightly.
Then I heard from Maxine Wright, persistent and careful Holliman researcher from Arkansas and another descendant of James Grantson Holliman, who discovered a host of reasons that challenge this ‘conventional’ line.Then I noticed on the Tina Peddie chat room other cousins, Joe Parker and Jeanette Holiman, who are always very well researched, also challenged the above lineage. Ron Holliman from Alabama raised my doubts also with information on Samuel Holliman's historic home near Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Take a minute below to review the 'traditional' lineage that is posted widely on the Internet and many Ancestry.com sites. The web site done a number of years ago represents a mountain of work by a distant cousin for which we all should be grateful.  However, as with any historical research and interpretation (especially mine), we need to keep probing and critiquing. Genealogy is a process.

The Web Lineage that is challenged but still on the web and Ancestry sites - 

Christopher Holyman, Sr. (1618 - 1691) (DNA testing proves this Christopher is my ancestor)
Christopher Holliman, Jr. (1660 ca - 1733)
John Holliman (d 1751), wife - Elizabeth
Jesse Holliman, (d 1812), wife Charity Coffer in 1753
James Grantson Holliman (1750 - 1836), my 4th Great Grandfather 

Now in the next posting, Jeanette Holiman Stewart will prove a negative and demonstrate the above lineage is not POSSIBLE.

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