Monday, December 1, 2014

Further Exploring Holleman History in Old Virginia (and North Carolina) Part 14

by Glenn N. Holliman

With this post, we continue the series of articles by Allen Holleman of North Carolina, USA who explores the lives of his ancestors.  Readers may have noticed a series of posts for 19th Century Virginia and then the next article, 19th Century England.  Both branches descend from Thomas Holyman, d. 1558 in Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, England. It is interesting to note the differing lives, but perhaps similar occupations of these distant cousins, separated by time and space.

Left, Allen Holleman, family historian and his latest Mustang

Below from Terrine Holleman Woodlief , the GGG-Daughter of Jordan Holleman; she a teacher in Cary, North Carolina (1896-2001). 1 and 2 footnotes

"As kids we would listen, open-mouthed, to the tales Dad told us which his grandfather, Jordan Holleman, told him about the trip from Isle of Wight County, Virginia, the home of Jordan's father, Jesse Holleman.  They cut trees, for there were no roads in 1815 to where they wanted to go.    Trees and mud were a pest most of the way to Wake County, where Jordan settled on farmland in what is now Apex (North Carolina).  He and then his son, Wiley Wilkins Holleman, became a stabilizing part of the community.  They helped found Salem Baptist Church in 1840 and started a Masonic group."

Allen Holleman writes Part 1 of his Story of Jordan Holleman, his 4th great uncle....

Terrine's great-great-grandaddy may have embellished the tales a bit as there were certainly roads to, in and through Wake County as folks had been moving there for years from Virginia.  But they might have needed to clear a path or two.  I have found that Uncle Jordan (he was a 4th Great-Uncle of mine) was a bit of a character and we'll see he had quite a sense of humor.

Jordan Holleman, (22 November 1782 - 1875), was the 3rd Great-Grandson of 
Christopher Hollyman (1618-1691) who arrived in Virginia in 1650, settled in Isle of Wight County and amassed a farm of 1020 acres.  Jordan’s father was Jesse Holleman (1737-1824), the patriarch of our Wake County, North Carolina lines, though he never left Virginia.

As with all of Jesse’s sons, Jordan had a basic education, could read and write and knew some math, as well.  And certainly had experience in farming.


We find him in the 1810 census at 28, with his own farm in Isle of Wight County, VA. (IOW).  This would seem to be a larger farm than a young man could acquire; perhaps Jordan was running the family farm.  Though divided by inheritances, the farm was part of the original 1020 acres patented by Christopher Hollyman (d 1691).  This portion had passed to Jordan's father, Jesse.  However, the Census has parents, Jesse and Charity, living some distance away.

Jordan seems to have liked having lots of folks around him as the 1810 census shows him head of household with another male 16-25, two females 16-25, seven other “free white” and two slaves. We cannot account for the others with any certainty as only the head of house was named before 1850. More than likely they were relatives - cousins perhaps as they were listed as part of the household.  His younger brother, Jonathan, and bride of one year were listed two houses/farms away.   The other seven free persons would likely be field-hands living on the farm.3

We have not found the marriage record but that census leads us to think he and Mary Simmons (1790-1850), known as Polly of Southampton County, had married before the 1810 census, accounting for the other young woman  They then began their own family. In November 1812 Wyatt Jack Holleman (1812-1892) was born in the year of a major event in our country's history –  The War of 1812.

The War of 1812

Jordan Holleman had been serving as a sergeant in the 29th Regiment of the Virginia Militia, known as Ballard's Regiment under the commander, Major Joseph W. Ballard. His company commander was Capt. Simmons Gwaltney.   In January 1813, the 29th came under the command of the US Army, but an April 1813 poll in IOW, indicates they were not deployed, and remained at home as reserves with farms and families to protect from the evil Brits. 

Capt. Simmons Gwaltney (1765-1820) was married to Jordan's sister, Sarah (1776-1823) and also in the company were Jordan's brothers: Lt. Josiah Holleman (1771-1848), the 2nd in command and Corporal Jonathan Holleman (1787-1854).   Along with them were several other Gwaltneys and Cofers, Dews, Delks, Stringfield, Crocker, Gray, names we know and are related to some of them, a Who's Who of Isle of Wight County, Virginia. 

The British warship,  HMS Plantagenet, a 74 gun frigate, for several months lay off the "Rocks"in the James River.  Her very presence and occasional changing of position kept the 29th busy watching her movements.  It must be presumed that this ship was to intercept any vessels sailing from the James.

In June 1813 the British attempted a landing, and were soundly beaten back by the accurate and well-placed fire from the excellent riflemen of the 29th who had almost been born with a rifle and developed great accuracy in hunting. With the aborted landing at the "Rocks" the Royal Navy re-learned a lesson from the Revolution about how good the Americans were with firearms.  Although the Plantagenet remained at her station, they never made another attempt at a landing. 6

After the war, in 1815 Jordan and Mary decided to follow his older brothers, John and Jesse (Jr.) to North Carolina and first settled in western Wake County near them.  This was close to Chatham County, and land must have been less costly there as they bought additional properties across the line on the New Hope River. 7
Jordan's first property in Wake County seems to have been purchased from the estate of Stephen Mann in 1815.  Over the years there are records of him buying and selling properties in Wake and Chatham, some involved his older brother John, as well.  It seems they were partners in the land business.

  One 1818 deed says,  “Jordan HOLLEMAN of Chatham Co to Archibald Haralson of Orange County, for seven hundred and fifty cents, tract on the waters of New Hope, adj. .. containing 168 acres”.  I have found a copy of that deed and it does look like 'seven hundred and fifty cents but there is a tick on the left edge where I suspect the clerk added a '$' as he left off the word 'dollars', but that was not clear on the copy.

He did sell 54 acres in Chatham Co. for $216 in 1819 that was likely his youngest brother Jonathan’s first property in North Carolina.  That was prime land on a stream for irrigation, at $4.00 an acre. - Allen Holleman

Part 2 to be continued...on the story of Jordan Holleman

1 (From: HISTORY OF WAKE COUNTY, NC, 1983, pg.373: Elizabeth Murray Reid) 
2The Masonic Lodge that Jordan helped found would have been the Western Sun Lodge, that existed from 1817 to 1827 at New Hill.  Jordan's oldest son, Wyatt J. Holleman, helped to found the Cary Masonic Lodge about 25 years later and served as Grand master for over 10 years and his son, Joel was Secretary .  He was also part of the founding of the Town of Cary - if a city of 150,000, that stretches from Raleigh on the east side to a portion in Chatham County to the west can be called a town, as it is even today.  
3 Of Jordan’s older brothers were two whom we know nothing of besides birthdate and probably died young,  Josiah was living in Smithfield, VA in public service and his family was with him.  The two eldest, John and Jesse, Jr. were already in North Carolina.
Mary Simmons was the daughter of Sprately Simmons (1740-1800) and Ann Drewry.  He was a Sergeant in the 15th Virginia Regiment active in the American Revolution and was at Valley Forge in 1778.
5 The "Rocks" refers to a shore lined with natural marl, made up of petrified oyster shells.
6From a history of IoW by Col. W. M. Morrison   
7Which in the 1970's, for flood control and water supply, was dammed where it joined the Cape Fear River to become Jordan Lake.  

More in a later Posting on an amazing episode in the life of Jordan Holleman....  

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!).

There is also a massive Holyman and Associated Families Tree available for review.  For an invitation to this collection of over 20,000 individuals, please write  

I also have a collection of associated family manuscripts and research collected by the late Walt Holliman, Cecil Holliman and Rhodes Holliman.  Happy to send these materials by email and to insure their research is available.  The surnames: Alexander, Baldwin, Barham, Bass, Beall, Blakeney,  Baker, Bond, Bostick, Brewer, Bryan, Bryant, Bullock, Calvert, Carter, Champion, Chew,Cofer, Cole, Crafford, Crockett, Curtis, Dale, Daniel, Davidson, Davies, De Mallpas, Douglas, Duckett, Edwards, Edgerton, Emerson, Fitzhugh, Fowlehurst, Fox, Gains, Garrison, Gonson, Graves, Gray, Guyton, Guins, Hall, Hamby, Hawkins,Hendrix, Hill, Hogg, Holliman, Holt, Howard, Jackson, Jones, Judkins, Love, Lucas, Maget, Mansfield, Manwaring, McBee, McComas, McCurdy, McNewsome, Nicholson, Norsworthy, Noyall, O'dell, Oliver, Pearce, Peerce, Pettigrew, Petway, Pitman, Plow, Plyler, Porten, Prather, Petite, Ridgely, Riggan, Roberts, Smith, Spencer, Sprigg, Standley, Stanyard, Swan, Strother, Thompson, Thornton, Thrope, Trelawney, Turpin, Underhill, Underwood, Wallace, Walters, Weedon, Whitherspoon, Whitten,Williams,Wilmot,Wilson, Whitaker and Yerby.  These are mainly Alabama families and their ancestors from the Carolinas and Virginia. Materials vary from one page to 200. - GNH at

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