Saturday, December 28, 2013

Exploring further Holleman History in Old Virginia - Part 7

by Glenn N. Holliman

Our exploration continues of the Hollemans who remained in Isle of Wight, Virginia after a diaspora sent generations of Hollimans (and various spellings) surging to the Carolinas, Alabama, Tennessee and across the Mississippi into Arkansas and Texas in the 18th and 19th Centuries.  My thanks as ever to cousin Sarah Barlow Wright of Smithfield, Virginia who provided valuable information and photographs on the Hollemans.

Helen Haverty King, a historian of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, has left two books that capture the past and present of this American homeland of immigrant Christopher Holyman (1618-1691).   I shared, in my previous article, information on her Historical Notes on Isle of Wight County, Virginia.  In this posting, below, is the cover of another of the late Mrs. King's volumes, Historic Isle of Wight (2007), which contains two pages and three photographs of the Holleman House.  This exquisite book is available from the Isle of Wight Historical Society in Smithfield, Virginia.

Land and legal records demonstrate that the founder of most American Hollimans, Christopher Holyman, patented land along the Blackwater River and adjacent to the Mill Swamp in 1684. A descendant of Christopher, Josiah Holleman, deeded in 1826, 80 of the original 1,020 acres to his son, Wilson.  Wilson constructed a large, L-shaped brick house well back from Route 621 that connects Mill Swamp Baptist Church with Proctor's Bridge Road.

Wilson patterned this Federal style dwelling after his wife Ann Nicholson's home in Sussex county, between Wakefield and Courtland, Virginia. We are told that the Hollemans needed 100,000 bricks to construct the house, and they were "burnt on the place".  The walls are 18 inches thick.  As Wilson Holleman is recorded in the 1830 Federal Census as owning 16 slaves, one can postulate that their labor fired the bricks.

Below, the home before 1917, when a white picket fence enclosed the front and before the porch was widened to include a second floor balcony.  The late Mrs. L. William Ballard, a Holleman descendant, provided Helen Haverty King this picture as well as the one below it of Wilson Holleman.  They appeared in her Historical Notes of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, which also is available from the Isle of Wight Historical Society at their web site.

Below, Wilson Holleman (1803-1873) in old age.  As a result of the Civil War, the 17 slaves which he owned in 1860, were freed.  As actual fighting in Virginia largely missed the interior of Isle of Wight County, the Holleman House survived.  The home has stayed in the Holleman family to this day, and is currently owned by William Joseph Holleman.

Next posting, a look at some Holleman political leaders in Ante-Bellum of Isle of Wight County and Virginia.... 

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!).

1 comment: