Monday, October 21, 2013

Exploring Further Holliman History in Old Virginia, Part 4

by Glenn N. Holliman

We continue our series of articles on the descendants of Christopher Holyman (d 1691) who have remained in Isle of Wight County, Virginia and vicinity for hundreds of years. My continued thanks to Sarah Barlow Wright, Janet Wright Moore and Susan Holleman Brewer for their kind help.

A portion of Christopher Holyman's 1,020 acre plantation still remains in the Holleman family to this day.  On that farm in 1895 Gladys Hortense Holleman came into the world, the daughter of Josiah James and Augusta Hannah White Binford Holleman, the then owners of the property.

Gladys would marry Gordon Eugene Barlow in 1921 and live most of her life at the Barlow farm, Oak Crest, in Isle of Wight County, but she retained many memories of her childhood in Mill Swamp.  The photograph below of Gladys is courtesy of her daughter, Sarah Barlow Wright of Smithfield, Isle of Wight, Virginia.
 Below around 1907 (at Holleman House), Gladys stands to the far left wearing a black hat and white dress.  Walking in front of her is her brother,  Joseph Howard Holleman, Sr. Standing in front of the white picket fence is another brother, Algernon Hardy Holleman,  and their mother, Augusta Hannah Holleman.  Sitting on the porch, obscured, is Josiah James Holleman.  Sarah Wright believes this picture was made as the children were going off to school.

 In 1986, an oral history of Isle of Wight County was published and included several pages of memories by Gladys.  The work, Many Voices, is available from the Isle of Wight Museum and Historical Society in Smithfield, Virginia.  The following two paragraphs are  from the book:

"When I was young, our entertainment was centered around the home, church and school.  I admired the ministers' families and the school teachers; they were the educated people of the community, and we looked up to them.   
I went to a one-room school in Mill Swamp, and when I was fifteen, I came to Smithfield High school and graduated there in 1913.  I went to Westhampton College of the University of Richmond."

Below, a later version of the school at Mill Swamp, adjacent to the Holleman plantation and the Mill Swamp Baptist Church.  The date is unknown. This picture also courtesy of Sarah Barlow Wright.
Sarah Barlow Wright remembers her mother's story of her first day at school in the one room school house -

"The one room school house was next to Mill Swamp Baptist Church.  On my first day in the first grade, I thought the little recess was lunch time, so I took my lunch outside when we went to play.   When we went back inside, I forgot my lunch.  At lunch time, we found that hogs had eaten my lunch!  I began to cry.  The teacher, who was the preacher's daughter, took me across the road to the parsonage for lunch."

That traumatic day of school in 1901 did not deter Gladys Holleman from continuing her education.  After graduating from college in 1917, she taught school in Wakefield, Virginia and became principal of that same little school at Mill Swamp before her marriage in 1921. 

Next more on Isle of Wight history and the Hollemans....
 Have questions about Holliman family history? You are invited to join the Hollyman Email List at and the Hollyman Family Facebook Page located on Facebook at "Hollyman Family". Post your questions and perhaps one of the dozens Holyman cousins on the list will have an answer. For more information contact Tina Peddie at, the list and Facebook manager for Hollyman (and all our various spellings!). Mrs. Peddie can assist also in any DNA research.

Since early 2010, I have been publishing research and stories on the broad spectrum of Holliman (Holyman) family history at . For stories on my more immediate family since the early 20th Century, I have been posting articles since early 2011 at .

Let's save the past for the future! If you have photographs, letters, memorabilia or research you wish to share, please contact me directly at


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