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 "700 Years of Hollidays"

  by Omar T Holliday , 1939

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Was it Sir Walter Scott who wrote:
  "What's in a name?
    The Devil's in it
      When a bard has to frame, etc."

This is just as true when one is browsing in genealogy, as when one is trying to write verse. Especially is it true, when the same names are repeated over and over for nearly a thousand years. Amongst the Hallidays - Hollidays, such names as  Allen, Thomas, Walter, John and Leonard are repeated many, many times. .
Apparently Sir Leonard, whose name will be mentioned repeatedly in this record, was the first to adopt the Holliday spelling, and from here on writer will endeavor to stick to this spelling. The arms, crest, and motto, are recorded to him in both spellings of the name.  In the official visitation of Middlesex (official record of the College of Heralds) made in the year 1663, the family, then living at Bromley, in Middlesex, the original arms, crest, and motto of Halliday were confirmed under the spelling Holliday.

Until around the year one thousand, men were given only one name, and were distinguished by calling one, Allen The Shepherd, Thomas The Carpenter, or John The Gold-Smith. Tradition has it, that sometime before the year 1200,
possibly long before then some Allen or Thomas was blessed with a male child born on a Sunday -a "Holy-day," and the innocent and helpless little thing became Thomas Holyday.
Sir Matthew Hale in "The Norman People," says Haliday is from Halyday, Normandy France, and mentions Philip and Reginald De Halyday, as residents of England in the year 1194. There is still another legend as to the origin of the name Holliday. Burke, a most voluminous writer on genealogy, in his History of Commoners, says:
"Sir Malcom Wallace, 1295, of Ellerslie, had a son Malcom, who had two daughters; the elder married the father of Thomas Holliday, a celebrated patriot, who had considerable property  in Annandale, Scotland. (Note that the father of Thomas is not named.) The Holliday family, which is of remote antiquity, bears one of the earliest surnames upon record ­ familiar now for more than six hundred years.

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The people it came to designate are represented by the same authority, as a portion of the Ulster Cruithene, which, about the beginning of the Ninth century, crossed the Irish Channel, and reconquered from the Saxons, the greater portions of their possessions in the south of Scotland. The conquered country was divided amongst their leaders. This is the country surrounding Annandale. The. clan, when provisions. became scarce,. were summoned to make a Holy-day. Any day was, holy that was spent in ravaging the enemy's country. A hill where the troopers were accustomed to collect is still known as, "Halliday Hill." The evidence is complete that the chieftain who first assumed this surname had his castle, or strong tower, near the source of the river Annan - two or three miles from the flourishing village of Moffat, - celebrated for its mineral waters."

Still quoted : "Certain it is, that almost every man able to bear arms - of Annandale,  joined the standard of the Earl of Huntingdon, and accompanied Richard the Lion-hearted, to the Holy Land."   A foot note after the above quotation says: "of the 5,000 men sent by William of Scotland to join King Richard, 1,000 were from Annandale and almost all were Hallidays. "
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Richard the first, 1157-1199, known as "Richard The Lion-hearted" (Couer de Leon), was king of England from 1189 until his death in 1199. He was most active in the Third Crusade of the Holy Land, which began immediately after he was crowned king. Thus it would appear that if the Halliday Clan had increased to 1,000 men, able and willing to fight in a far away land, the name must have started several hundred years before the third Crusade, which began in 1189. So the name, must truly be amongst the oldest of surnames. 
It would seem, from all that we are able to learn of our very ancient ancestors, that to say the least, none of them were "Pacifists," but were ready to fight for any cause they thought just, and especially were they ready to fight when hunger was in sight. Trying to live on  the other man's accumulations you will note is not new.  I wonder if there was a party in those faraway days who favored "a free pig every Friday."


Speaking seriously, it did not seem necessary for them to fight for meat. The records show that there was an abundance of deer and wild boar in the immense wooded area (then) around Annandale. Knowing how to use well, bow and arrow, was necessary.
Now dear Holliday reader, believe it or not, history records that you came to have the name you bear, in one of these ways. I choose the born on a Sunday theory. As already stated, another remarkable thing about our ancestors is the many ways they invented of spelling the name Holliday.  Writer has found the name spelled more than twenty different ways. Even way out here in California I find in the 1939 Los Angeles telephone directory, as follows:
1 Haliday, 1 Halladay, 19 Halliday, 5 Holaday, 1 Holiday, 8 Holladay, and 24 Holliday. Of these I have met three, a hotel manager, the business manager of the Los Angeles Herald and Express, and the other, retired, about my age.  He married a sister of Mr. Henry E. Huntington, donor of the splendid library and art Museum at San Marino, bearing his name.  The newspaper man came west from central Missouri. 


I did not learn where the others came from.

In the old family burial ground at Raysville -(a dead town)- Lincoln County, Georgia, the names on the tombstones are spelled several different ways, yet it is said they were all cousins when they came to Georgia. 

The name Holliday was more or less common in several counties of England -- Buckingham, Suffolk, and York, also in the city of London. It is also mentioned in several counties of Scotland, as well as in Ireland. 

The Media Research Corp., Washington, D. C.,. says: "The Hollidays were for the most part of the landed-gentry, and nobility of Great Britain." The Virginia Magazine of History, Vol. 18, mentions some families of Royal or Noble Ancestry.  In the list I noted the names Holliday, Lee and Roosevelt, etc.  Not wishing to start an argument, no comments.

It is interesting to note here some information, and some names the writer secured from records published by George Cabell Greer, who was a clerk  in the  Virginia Land Office.


The book is called Earliest Recorded Settlers in Virginia.  Following is the list of Hollidays.   William arrived in Virginia in 1637. George and John in 1638. Thomas, George and Eliza arrived in 1650. This should be accepted the same as an official record, in this writer's opinion, but it does not tally with the statement made by more than one writer, that  "Colonel Thomas, Col. Leonard, and William Holliday were passengers aboard the second vessel to land on
these shores."

The William Holliday who arrived in 1637 evidently acquired lands at once. He was deeded land in 1637. Said land located on the James river, adjoining lands of William Mills and others. Another deed to him for lands on Morgans Creek and Mannings Sly, adjoining lands of William Smith, is recorded in 1650. Greer is authority for the arrival dates, and Nugent's  "Cavalliers and Pioneers" for the deed records. 

Hayden's Virginia Genealogies, notes that Thomas Holloday of James City County, was granted 120 acres in 1716, and John of same county, 800.acres in 1724. Another record says that Col. John Holliday was granted 93 acres for conducting safely into the country, Robert Stuart and Hannah Hollyday in 1711.


Two volumes of Georgia Revolutionary Land Grants show grants as follows:
Margaret Holliday, 350 acres in Wilkes County, Georgia. She was evidently the wife of Elijah William.  William Holliday, also in Wilkes County in 1783-4. This William was no doubt Elijah William.  Armstrong's Notable Southern Families, also,mentioned a deed in 1795 to John Holliday.  Armstrong also says that John had a son, Owen Thomas, around 1770, and that he also lived in Wilkes County, Georgia.
Concerning Thomas Holliday, who was the first to come from Virginia to Georgia, there is recorded an interesting document. It is copied as follows from the records in Rhodes Hall in Atlanta. "He was granted by the General Assembly at Augusta in,1781 a bounty of 278 acres.  William James Holliday 200 acres in Burke County.
State of Georgia, Wilkes County, These are to certify that Thomas Holliday was an inhabitant of this state prior to the reduction thereof by the British Army,  and was a refugee from


the same, during which time he cheerfully did his duty as a soldier to this state, and the United States. Given under my hand, this 7th day of April, 1784. E. Clark Col, by his order H. Furman."
Capt. John Holliday, probably No.7, whose marriage is recorded in 1702, is said to have brought the family court of arms to America.


{image above was not in the book}

The writer finds the best or rather most interesting description in Burke's General Armory, 1878, page 500, as follows:

ARMS: Sable, three helmets, argent; garnished or, a bordure engrailled on the last.

CREST: A demi-lion rampant or holding an anchor azure.

MOTTO: Quarta Saluti.

The coloring as shown in the description is as follows:

The shield is of black. The three' helmets are of silver ornamented with gold. The border, its inner edge, engrailled, is of gold. 

The Demi-lion is of gold. The anchor is of blue.
The ribbon is of gold, the motto lettered in black. The wreath, on which the crest rests, is of alternate twists of gold and black." 
Quotation ends.
Another Version
{image above was not in the book}


The writer finds several other mottos of record:
Virtuti parta. Simply the word Merito and Nulli Virtuti secundus. The last named is the one adopted by the Virginia-Georgia Hollidays. It appears that the selection of a motto is entirely optional. The seat of the original arms is Chapel Cleve, near Dumster, England.

The arms is shown in the books as to follow:

No doubt many have wondered as to just the significance of a coat of arms. Horace J. Round in his "Completee Guide to Heraldry," answers this question.

He says: "Heraldry having been reduced to this parlous state, what was the worth of a coat of arms? What meaning was left to it? Well, it represents an assertion that one belonged to a certain family: it was understood to denote that and nothing more than that. If you could prove your descent from that family, you were merely asserting the truth. If, on the other hand, you could not do so, you were guilty to that extent of more or less conscious deception. " 

In this connection it may be of interest to list the names of some old Holliday Estates in Maryland and Virginia. Some of the names: Wye House, Readbourne, St. Aubin, Bonfield, Ratcliffe, Hermitage, Peach Blossom, Belle
fonte, (Va.), Prospect Hill, Canterberry, and Billingsly Point (Va.). When you tour the east, pause a while, and see some of these interesting old places.

My nephew and his wife, John Zellars and Mary Hester Holliday, have already done this and found Prospect Hill in Spottsylvania county:  "-way back in the hills, off any main highway, and perfectly beautiful. The land is on Little Anne river, and Holliday con
nections live all around. The family owning Prospect Hill (Hollidays) live there in summer and in Richmond in winter. The original home was burned but was rebuilt in 1812. You never saw such giant and gorgeous boxwood as is there." 

Judging by descriptions of some of the old Virginia homes, as well as the place of residence selected by my own great-grandfather in Georgia, the first consideration of these pioneers, was plenty of water, and an abundance of wild game.


There is a story in the family that this writer's own father once killed five wild turkeys and two crows, at one shot. (No doubt from a blind.)
The reader will note that there is an average of three generations to each 100 years, so we start our table with number one, Thomas of Pontefract, 1435. The records of our own country are not as accurate as the old records of England. In this country we have to depend almost entirely on Land Grants, wills, and deeds and these in some cases have been poorly kept and in some instances burned. Some of the lists compiled in recent years have been found quite inaccurate in a number of instances.
A case in point, more than one of these records states that Col. Thomas, Col. Leonard, and William Holliday were passengers on the "second vessel to land on these shores."  It happens that the Fortune was the next vessel to arrive after the Mayflower, in 1620, and there is an authentic list of passengers to arrive on the Fortune. No one by the name Holliday in any of the various spellings is on the list. Many ships arriving in those days did not turn in a list of its passengers, but it happens that the Fortune did.


The writer has studied only the direct male line leading to his own family. Readers will find a list of reference books at the end of this record from which this record has been compiled. The several pictures shown from here on, are inserted to show four generations of Hollidays. The one of Allen T. and his wife Elizabeth is one of the earliest photographs made in America.
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{closer magnification (here) shows this to be a cut-out composite of several photos - Lindsay H}
The Frenchman, Daguerre, died in 1851, and invented photography shortly before his death.


700 YEARS OF HOLLIDAYS 1240 - 1940
In 1240 Walter Holliday was Lord of Manor at St. Botolph in Kent.
In 1273 Richard Holliday lived in Buckinghamshire.
In 1278 Richard Holliday, probably son of Walter, possessed Tivil in Kent.
In 1298 Thomas Holliday lived in Bedfordshire.
In 1305 John Holliday represented Bedford in Parliament.
In 1338 John Holliday of Pontefract represented Edward III in the wars against the Scots. Edward commanded him to take 20 bowmen and men at arms, to be paid by him.
The direct  line begins here with No.1, so far as this writer can trace.


No. 1. In 1435 Thomas Holliday of Pontefract commanded 500 archers in Sir John Shirley's division of the British army at the battle of Agincourt. He is spoken of as "the last Laird of Coverhead."
No.2. In 1470 Sir Walter Holliday of Rodborough, county of Gloucester, was called "Master of the Revels" to Edward IV, and was granted arms by his king in 1470. He had four sons, Henry, Edward, William and John. This writer failed to find any mention of the wives of No. 1 and No.2.

No.3. In about 1500 Henry Holliday of Minchin and Hampton, married Miss Payne of Payne's Court and he inherited his father's estate.
No.4. In 1520 William Holliday of Rodborough. He married Sarah Bridges in 1548. He is spoken of as "a person of considerable note," and sent his son Leonard to London, where he made quite a record.
No.5. In 1550-1610 Sir Leonard Holliday lived. He was sheriff and later Lord Mayor of London, about 1605. He married Anne Wincott or Winholdt. They had one son, John.


After Sir Leonard's death, his widow married Henry the Great, Earl of Lancaster. Armstrong states the reverse, and says, viz, that Sir Leonard married the widow of the Earl, but a preponderance of the writers say that the Earl married Sir Leonard's widow. Sir Leonard was knighted by King James 1. While mayor he is said to have performed wonders.
Moorfield, near London, described as a perfect lystal, he converted into a beautiful garden. It is said that he worked his men so hard that they called any work he had anything to do with, "Holyday work."
No.6. In the forepart of the 1600's John Holliday, 1578, only son of Sir Leonard, married Alice Ferrars. She died at the birth of a son, also named John. He spent his early years in London, but he also lived at Yard House in Middlesex and at Frome Hall. There is some doubt as to whether it was the senior who came to Virginia in 1638. This writer accepts the junior as more likely correct. A Virginia deed dated in 1638, is recorded from Christopher Wormly, to various parties described as being near or adjoining lands of others named, "and John Holliday."


 This writer accepts No.7. Thomas Holliday as a grandson of Sir Leonard.
No. 7. In 1650 Capt. (Col.) Thomas Holliday, arrived in Virginia.  Several writers claim that he did not arrive until 1656 and that he was "the first of the name to arrive on these shores." This writer  believes he can prove that both statements are erroneous. Greer's record shows that Thomas arrived in 1650.  Nugents Cavaliers and Pioneers shows land deeded by Thomas Tacker to Thomas Holliday in Oct. 1650. Said land was "in Locust Neck and Ad­oins Rich Neck."   Another tract, "located towards head of Tanxe  Weynoake Run," was deeded to him in 1656. As has already been stated,. Greer shows the arrival of several Hollidays in 1637-8 and in 1650.

  Capt. Thomas married the widow of Col. John Hinton, and she  bore him eleven children, but only two are mentioned in the records of Williamsburg ---Thomas and John.  This Thomas is claimed as ancestor of the Hollidays of Maryland, while John was called John Marshall, founded the Virginia and Georgia Hollidays. 


No.8.  John Marshall Holliday, 1690-1742, is mentioned as captain, also as colonel, and was also called Holliday Gent. He married first Anne Lewis, and second Elizabeth Brocas. He fell in Gates defeat at Camden. His home was called "Bellefonte," and the local courts often met there.
No.9. John Holliday, Jr., 1728-1781. Some writers omit this John. Some of the writers ignore his existence, but Hayden in "Virginia Genealogies" also Armstrong, claims a generation between John Marshall and Elijah William. The name John seems to have been a favorite down the centuries. (The writer wonders why his father did not call him John.)

No. 10. Elijah William, born sometime between 1700 and 1720. This writer can only surmise that old man Elijah William liked his middle name better than he did the Elijah, because in signing his will, and other papers of record, he signed simply as William Holliday. He was among the first to come from Virginia to Georgia.
Some writers also credit him with only one marriage, but there is ample evidence that his


first wife was Margaret Johnson and she is the one mentioned by most writers. His will proves that he married a second time. The second wife was Anne Ayres, and she is mentioned in his will, as legatee. Further evidence is a son named Ayres. Ayres and son John were minors at Elijah William's death in 1778. The old man was then about 78, so to have minor children, he certainly had a much younger wife.
If anyone is still skeptical as to this ancestor, they can check up on the writer's conclusion by referring to copy of his will as recorded in "Davidson's Notable Southern Families," vol. 2, page 68. His will was probated in Wilkes County, Georgia.

No. 11. Thomas Holliday, also called Owen Thomas, 1750-1800. Married first Elizabeth Ray, second, Martha Dickerson. Children: Richard, Ivey, John, Allen, Sarah, Polly, Mary, Thomas and Dickerson. Stella Pickett Hardy shows Elizabeth Ray as the wife, but there is ample evidence that Martha Dickerson was a second wife. The name Dickerson was given to one of her sons and this name was carried through several generations. Further, Martha,

and not Elizabeth, was executor of his will. He lived in Wilkes county, Georgia.
No. 12. Allen Holliday, 1789-1841. Married Nancy Oneal in 1812. Nancy born 1798, died 1864. She remarried John W. Butler in 1850. See later.
Mary Ann Jane, 1815-1841. Married John L. Paschal.  Martha Cordelia, 1817-1836. Malida Maria, 1820-1841. Married James R. Elliott, 1838. William Dickerson, 1822-1852. Married Amanda Griffin, 1843. Serana Camella, 1824­1852. Married George W. Sims, 1843. Jacynthia Rebecca, 1826-1846.
Allen Thomas ( called "T"), 1828-1865. Frances A. Celestia, 1832­1852. Married Wyche Jackson, 1848. One daughter of Wyche Jackson, Celestia, married --- Hardy, no children. Nancy Cordelia,: 1837-1838. 

The records for No. 12 were copied by the. writer from the old family Bible. This Allen. was the writer's grandfather. He was a southern planter and slave owner. He was buried in the old family burial ground, near which was


his home, about eleven miles east of Washington, Georgia. He erected before his death, a splendid rock wall around this half acre burial lot. The walls still stand but there are now many large trees in the enclosure. The old home burned before the writer can remember. Note William Dickerson had a son of the same name who left home as soon as he was grown, around 1860, and was never heard of afterwards. It was understood that he came west. In order to clear title to a small tract of land the writer's mother advertised for him many years ago. 
 No. 13. Allen T. Holliday, 1828 -1865. Planter and slave owner in Wilkes county, Georgia. Married Elizabeth Zellars in 1849. Born 1834, died 1911.
  No. 14. First two children died in infancy.
Thomas Otis, 1853-1929. Mary Alice, 1855 ­1907. Married Rev. Thomas A. Nash, 1896. .No children. Flora T., 1858-1919. Single.

  No. 14. William Zellars, 1860-1932. Married Ella Collins, 1863, in 1885. Daughter Edith born 1887. Single.

  No. 14. Peter Jackson, 1862-1936. Married Janie Thompson, born 1865.


No. 14. Omar Theophrastus, 1865. Strange names some parents give to helpless infants. Children. Emily died in infancy. Ruth Willet, July 14, 1892.
  No. 15. Joseph Willet, August 12, 1902. Married Olive Moffit, born 1904,  Jan. 5, 1929. Children, Olive Moffitt (Holly), May 2,1930.

JW Holliday
Joseph Willet Holliday and family in 1938
  No. 16. Joseph Willet Jr., April 11, 1933, John Moffitt, June 11, 1935.

  No. 14. Children and grand children of Thomas Otis Holliday, and first wife, Katheryn Burdette. Married 1873.
  No. 15. Thomas P., 1874-1935. Married Bessie McGee. Children. Frederick S., 1908. Philip---.
  No. 15. Julian Bernard, 1877. Married Nell Hollinshead. Children: Bernard Jr., 1912, Nell, 1914. Charles Otis -- Jane Allen, 1921.

  No. 15. Robert William, 1879-1932. Married Mattie DuBose. Children: Kathryn, 1912, married 1939, Ernest R. Shuler.
Robert ---. Duncan, 1922.

  No. 15. Martha, 1885. Married Robert Shank. Children: Haldane Shank, 1915. Rob­ert Holliday Shank, 1918.
  No. 15. Peter Osborne, 1887. Married Martha Riley.
Children: Jackson Riley {here corrected} and Peter Osborne Jr.
photo of Jack and Peter - circa 1924
Peter 0., Sr., is a graduate of Mercer -a lawyer and in 1939 is Judge in the Juvenile court at Macon, Georgia.  Lalla May, 1890, single. Lives in Miami, Florida.
  No. 14. In 1895 Thomas Otis re-married, Cora Burdette, cousin of his first wife. Children of Cora: George Otis, 1899. Married Agnes Gunter. Children: Mary Ann, 1929 ----George Gunter, 1931.
  No. 15. John Zellars Holliday, 1904. Married Mary Hester Cole. No children. Otis' first wife, Kitty, inherited from her father, about 400 acres of the Jacob Simons place and most of her children were born there.  Later they traded this place with Otis' mother for the home built by Allen T. and moved there, where Otis died in 1929. This old house around 90 years old, is still in good condition as you will see from the picture herein. In the final division of the estate Omar, this writer, inherited "the

old mill site, not the dam site, but he did draw the most scenic site by a dam site." George Otis now owns it.

  Ruth Holliday graduated at Vassar College in 1913, where she was one of the first five in a class of 200. She married Horton Watkins in 1913. He has been vice-president of the International Shoe Co., St. Louis, Mo., nearly ever since its organization. They have no children but have adopted three - Nancy, Betty and Willet. Nancy enters Vassar in 1939.

  Joseph Willet, Sr., spent three years at Dartmouth College. He is with the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills, Kansas City branch, as salesman and assistant manager.

  With the passing of this writer will end the last of the 14th generation since No.1, Thomas Holliday of Pontefract, 1435. The 16th generation-male line, begins with his two grandsons, Joseph Willet, Jr., and John Moffitt. What is to follow in this tale of Hollidays is more for the benefit of these youngsters (or their amusement) than for those of us who have lived longer. "More Daddy," as they call me, wishes them long and useful lives.


  William Zellars Holliday studied preliminary medicine under Dr. Joseph Sanders, and graduated in medicine at the University of Maryland Medical College in 1882.  He practiced at Harlem, Augusta and Atlanta.  After practicing a number of years, he took post­graduate work at the New York Post Graduate School and also at the New York Polyclinic. He taught at the University of Georgia Medical College at Augusta, where he was the first Professor of Pediatrics. He was also president of the Medical Association of Georgia in 1905-06, which he helped to organize.

  My sisters never married when they should, because they considered themselves quite a bit above the young men of the community in which we lived. They were doubtless wise in not marrying. Sister Alice did finally marry after she was past fifty.

  Brother William was five years older than I, but I always felt closer to him than to my other brothers. The day he left home to take up his work at Harlem was one of the saddest of my young life. When my mother decided to let me go to boarding school at Harlem, where I could be with him, it was one of the happiest . times of my young life.


No. 14. Peter J. Holliday, and his wife, Janie Thompson, were parents of the following children (with grand children) :
Allen T., 1892. Married Emma Gregory, lives in Augusta, Ga. No children. Marguerite, 1894. Married S. M. Gregg. No children.Florence, S. C.   Fletcher L. married Edna Weaver. One child, Janet, 1937. Fletcher graduated at Georgia Tech. They reside at 7019 Ohio Ave., Silverton, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Myrtle, 1898. Married T. H. Graves, Greenville, S. C. One child. Flora Anne, also adopted one, Jane. Howard, 1900. Married Pauline McKinney. Lives at Washington, Ga. No children. Flora, 1903. Single. Lives with her mother at Florence. S. C. Anne, 1905. Died, infant.

Peter J. Holliday spent most of his life at Washington, Ga., where he engaged in the merchandise and lumber business. He had many friends, but his over much confidence in too many of them, did not help him in the accumulation of wealth.


  No. 14. Omar Theophratus. This Holliday was never happy over the name his parents gave him, and discarded the middle name early in life.
  He graduated at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., in 1886 with B.S. degree. After a business course at Eastman Business College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., in 1887, went to work for a fertilizer company in Atlanta. Married Rosalie Willet in her father's home at Macon on Nov. 28, 1889. We met when I was a student at Mercer. Being distant cousins was quite convenient for us.
  Started in business in 1890 at Washington, Ga., with brother Peter, where in less than three years lost everything "except the shirt on my back." It took about ten years to pay back writer's one-half of the losses. Made a fair living for two years selling life insurance. Returned to Atlanta late in 1893.

  Went to work for the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills in 1894. Went to St. Louis in 1899 as treasurer and sales manager of a new branch the company was starting in St. Louis. My 37 years with the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills were, for the most part, happy years.


I had the satisfaction of seeing and assisting in the growth of the business from around one million annually, to many millions. I look upon the Elsas family, in charge of the business since seventy years ago, as my very dear friends.
Our home in California is only two blocks from the Pacific ocean, at an elevation of about 200 feet. We feel that our lives have been lengthened by coming to this climate, where the weather is seldom hotter nor colder than St. Louis in October, which is generally conceded to be the choicest month of the year there.
Now, dear reader, do not get the idea that this is true of all California. It is only true in a very few miles of the ocean, where the climate is about the temperature of the ocean water. In other words, the great Pacific is our air conditioner


There is of record an interesting document, a pre-nuptial contract concerning grandmother Nancy Oneal Holliday, who some years after the death of her first husband, married John W. Butler in 1850. The exact copy may be of interest to future generations. 
State of Georgia -Wilkes County. This indenture of three parties made and entered into, this 9th day of December in the year of our Lord 1850, between John W. Butler of Columbia county and state aforesaid, of the first part and Nancy Holliday, widow, of the county of Wilkes, and state aforesaid, of the second part, and William D. Holliday of the other part. Witnesseth that the said John W. Butler, of the first part for and. in consideration of marriage to be had and solemnized between the said John W. Butler, of the first part and the said Nancy of the second part, does for himself, his heirs, executors and administrators, covenant, grant and agree that the following property, to-wit: Isham, a Negro man about 50 years of age, Warren, a Negro man about 24 years old, and Matilda, a woman about 33 years old, Lucinda,

a woman about 22 years of age, and her three children, Mariah Ann, Reen Sam and Martin, together with all the interests of said Negroes, and all stock of every description, and all household and kitchen furniture, and all money which the said Nancy may have at interest, or in hand, and all other property or effects, which she, the said Nancy may have, and all other property which may be given said Nancy by any person whatsoever, by will or otherwise, to be her separate property and estate, and shall not in law or in equity be subject to the payment of the debts, contracts or liabilities of the said John W. Butler, or be subject to be sold or conveyed, or in any manner controlled by him, the said John W. Butler, but the right and title of said property shall be vested in said William D. Holliday of the third part, for the use and benefit of the said Nancy Holliday.

The said John W. Butler further covenants and agrees that the said Nancy Holliday may dispose of said property, all of which is now in her possession, by will or otherwise, to any person she may desire, subject, however, to be used by the said John W. Butler, with the approval of the said William D. Holliday during the

continuation of corvertern for the mutual benefit and advantage of the said John and Nancy, and said John W. Butler and Nancy Holliday nominate and appoint said William D. Holliday, trustee of the said property in conformity with this indenture, and the said William D. Holliday consents and agrees to his said nomination and appointment, as trustee aforesaid. Quotation ends.
This document is properly signed, sealed, and witnessed.
It should be stated that the children of Allen and Nancy Holliday had already received their share of slaves and other property, from their father's estate, before the second marriage of their mother.

The following should prove of interest to some of those now living as well as to the coming generations. It is a portion of a letter from my father, Allen T. Holliday, 13. to my mother. The letter is dated Sept. 2, 1864, and tells of the fall and burning of Atlanta, to General Sherman's army. 

{ Gone WIth The Wind - Battle of Atlanta - 1864 }

"Yesterday, last night, and today up to this time, will long be remembered by many a worn-out and broken down soldier. For two days I worked in putting up stockades around Atlanta.  Last night, at dark, we were ordered to march. We traveled all night, all day today until ten o'clock, without food.
Atlanta is gone up in smoke. Today the Yanks are in possession of it. I can give but one reason as to why it was given up, and that is that the Yanks were about to get possession of the Macon road, thus cutting off our supplies. Hardy whipped the Yanks yesterday morning and drove them off the Macon road, and when we received orders to march, we thought we were going to pursue instead of making a retreat. I reckon Atlanta is just about burned up. All of the cars there were set on fire as we were passing through. They were loaded with ammunition, such as cartridges and shells. I thought I had heard noise before, but never anything to equal that. The terrible noise continued all night."
After finishing: my study of the Holliday family in England and America, there is still much speculation in my mind as to what nationality or

blood is strongest in my veins. Some writers say the Hollidays came hundreds of years ago from Normandy, and that's in France, while most of the evidence proves that the old Hollidays did their fighting around in England and Scotland, and  just for a change of scenery, occasionally in Ireland. A bunch of  exceedingly warlike old-timers in the twelfth century joined an expedition to go down and help clean up the Holy Land. 

 Grandmother, on the Holliday side, was named Nancy Oneal, which sounds Irish, but I never heard anyone speak of her as Irish. I know of no way to find out. The only Oneal relative known to me, now living, is Benjamin Oneal, a lumber dealer of Macon, Georgia. I have not seen him since I was a small boy.

On our maternal side, there has been no doubt in my mind, all of my seventy-four years, that Zellars is of German descent, until I read a few days ago in Chalkley's Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, vol. 2, page 314, of the marriage bonds of Jacob Zeller and Barbara Fudge, in Spottsylvania county, Virginia, on October 6, 1794, John Fudge, surety.

Now, there is no doubt that they were my great­grandparents, but if they were German how does it happen that this historian gets them mixed up with the Scotch and Irish?

Right glad am I, that I can tell Hitler, when he comes over to mop up America, what I think of him. I never did think that my mother, or my uncle, John Zellars, had the objectionable traits, that very many Germans do have. 

It does now seem, that we are a mixture of English, Scotch, possibly a little Irish, some French, and the barest possibility that our blood may contain a little of the German. So, let's let it go at that, and just be what we all really are --- GOOD AMERICANS.


Allen T. Holliday married Elizabeth Zellars before she was sixteen. Her father was John Zellars who died in 1855. His wife was Polly Huguley, daughter of John and Rebecca Huguley. John's father was Jacob Zellars, whose wife was Barbara Fudge. Jacob Zeller is listed as a soldier in the War of the Revolution.  Note, Zeller is changed to Zellars.

My information regarding my maternal grandmother is very meagre. She was Polly Huguley, and a daughter of John Huguley of Wilkes county, Georgia. Another descendant claims that her father was George, but I am of the opinion that George was her uncle because John Huguley's will is recorded in Wilkes county, and in the will he mentions other children by name, and "Polly." I remember quite well that grandmother was called Polly. The name Huguley is of French descent, probably from Alsace-Lorraine.

My mother had two brothers, John and Peter. Peter was killed in the Civil war. A sister died in infancy. My uncle John was the only uncle I ever knew, and God never made a better man

-- if so it has never been my good fortune to meet him. He married Mary Florence, and they had six children as follows:
Peter, 1867-1932, married Lucy Nash. Mary, 1870-1918, single. Albert, 1874, married, 1st Texas Brown, a son, Broadus Brown; second Irene Collier, children, Mary and Myrtle. Brantly, 1877 -1900, single. Maggie, 1879, single. Allene, 1882-1918, married W.  Roy Groves, children, John Zellars, F. Coleman, Elizabeth, Edwin R.,and William R. Three of the Groves men moved to Louisville, Ky. 

Peter Zellars was my room mate in college and we graduated in the same class at Mercer in 1886. He spent most of his life as a teacher. In fact, he was a born teacher and the few years he spent in the banking business can be looked upon as misspent years. He had three children, John T., Reid Nash, and Macye Pete.

John T. is also a graduate of Mercer University and is now a Major in the U. S. Army, and is stationed at present at Fort Douglas, Utah. He went through the war college at Fort Leavenworth and later the war college in Washington. He happened to be on duty in


China in 1931, when Japan decided to annex Manchukuo. He was the first American officer to reach the scene of action. I imagine that his report to his government, made at that time, would be good reading just now.
Broadus Brown Zellars, son of Albert, is also a graduate of Mercer University. He is at present assistant attorney general for the state of Georgia. I have never seen him. Clark Howell's History of Georgia pays a splendid tribute to this young man. 


Dickerson Holliday, 1782-1827, was writer's great uncle and he was also the great grandfather, maternal side, of his wife, Rosalie Willet. Dickerson married Rebecca Ragan, 1785­1825. Both were buried in the old burial grounds at Raysville (a dead town), Lincoln county, Georgia. The old marble slabs still stand to memory of Dickerson and his wife Rebecca, and also to both parents of Rebecca.  Dickerson's daughter, Cynthia, 1804-1887, married Billington McCarty Sanders, 1789­1854, as his second wife, in 1824. They reared a large family -(13). Daughter Emily married Joseph Edgerton Willet in 1851. See notes. Youngest daughter of this marriage was Rosalie, 1869, the writer's beloved wife. You can figure it out yourself, but we have always considered that we are fifth cousins.

Cynthia Holliday Sanders was quite a person in Georgia, as was her distinguished husband. One of the old dormitories at Mercer was called Holliday Hall, in her memory. I am not sure that it still stands.


Her slaves lovingly called her "ole miss," before and after they were freed. She was also, "ole miss" to many of the college boys. Some are still living who loved her. Billington M. and Cynthia Holliday Sanders, are the great-great grandparents of Joseph Willet Holliday's (#15.) children. 

She lived at Penfield with most of her family nearby, for seventeen years after the college was moved. At her request the inscription on her tomb is: "She hath done what she could."
Mercer Founder
Billington M. Sanders, Rosalie's grandfather, was a distinguished Baptist minister, teacher and planter. He was successful in all three lines and cared nothing for personal honors. This was emphasized in his handling of Jesse Mercer. History shows that Mercer had accumulated a considerable fortune, and had married some more. Mr. Sanders needed money to enlarge Sanders Institute which he founded in 1839, just 100 years ago. When appealed to for help, Mercer agreed to leave most of his fortune to education with the understanding that the name be changed to Mercer University. Mr. Sanders was much more interested in education of the young men of the south than he was in

perpetuating his own name.  This was the real beginning of Mercer University. Since then many well known men of the south have been educated at Mercer.
  It is interesting to record here that Jesse Mercer married as his second wife, Mrs. Nancy Mills Simons of Wilkes county, Georgia. Her first husband was Capt. Abram Simons, who had been married once and possibly twice before. The wife before Nancy, was Mildred Holliday, widow of John Holliday, hence related to Mrs. Sanders. Simons was a large slave owner and a very successful planter. His wife Mildred, died young, but left four children by her first husband. Her son, Owen Holliday, was remembered in Simon's will with the sum of $1700.
  After Mildred's death Simons married in 1789 Nancy Mills, 1772. Simons died about 1820 and his widow, Nancy, married Jesse Mercer in 1827. Simons old home was only three miles from where the writer was born. The old residence or at least a part of it, still stands, but it is in a very dilapidated condition. It has been occupied by Negroes for many years. Many a story has the writer heard the old ex­

slaves tell of Mr. Simons, who was considered very wicked by them.
One of the tales was that he had horses that could run so fast that they could "outrun the rain." He was buried in a standing position, in a grave prepared by himself, in a hand-made metal coffin, which he had his slaves hammer out. He also had built around the grave a very substantial stone fence about twelve feet high. After he was interred, the hand-made metal gate was cemented in with the stone, so that it could not be opened except by tearing out some of the wall. The Negroes claimed that under
Simons' directions the coffin was locked and the key thrown away-"So that the Devil could never find him." Portions of the old Simons farm are now owned by my niece, Miss Edith Holliday of Atlanta and my son, Joseph, of Kansas City, Mo.
Simons' will was contested by Mrs. Elizabeth (Christopher) Brooks, who was not named in his will, but who claimed to be Simons' daugh­ter, and entitled to half his estate. Evidently she lost out because Jesse Mercer finally married Simons' widow and through her inherited the fortune, supposed to have been considerable.

As intimated above, Mrs. Brooks could have been a daughter by an earlier marriage, or even an illegitimate child. Mr. Simons' old home­site is now owned by Col. Mitchell Burdette.


To do full justice to this line would require more space than can be given here, so I will give only a brief summary of what is already in the hands of some members of the family.
Thomas Willet was the first mayor of New York in 1665. He came over on the Mayflower in 1629. This was not the Mayflower's first trip by any means. He was appointed in 1665 by the old Dutch governor "to serve forever." John Willet lived at Groton, Mass. His son, John, 1727-1819, was a ship builder. His son, Jedediah, 1768, was also a boat builder at Macon, Georgia. His son, Joseph, 1798, also lived at Macon and married Margaret McKay. His son, Joseph Edgerton Willet, married Emily Sanders at Penfield, Ga., in 1851, born 1832, died 1909. The children and grand children of this marriage were Nathaniel L, 1851­1933. Married first, Anne Capen of Boston. No children. Married, second, Jessie Tibbetts of New York state. No children. Laura M., April 18, 1854. Married James Riddle, 1913. No children. Hugh Miller, July 22, 1858. Married, first, Lucy Lester, 1884.

She died in 1922. Hugh M. Jr., 1894-1918. Emily, 1891-1905. Lawrence, 1896. Married Julia Brantley of Georgia. No children. It looks like this branch of the Willet family ends with Lawrence. Hugh M., married second, Mrs. Annie McKenzie of Atlanta. No children.
  Emily S., daughter of Joseph E., married Charles A. Davis, 1850. Children, Charles W., 1880-1919. Married Lizzie May Turner, 1904. Laura, 1901, married first, Harvey Anderson.   No children. Married second, Prince Webster.   No children.

  Tochie, 1883. Married Hudson Moore. The Moores have three sons -- Hudson, Davis and Willet. In 1939 they are all living in Denver, Colo. Hudson and Davis are married and have children.

  Rosalie, 1894. Married Col. Mart B. Bailey. One son, Mart B. Jr. Charles W. Davis had two children, Charles 3rd and Elizabeth Anne. 

   Rosalie C., daughter of Joseph E. Willet.  Married Omar Holliday, Nov. 28, 1889. For more complete information on the Willet line see Bookstaver's Willet Genealogy. 


  Mrs. Emily Willet Davis secured membership in N.S.D.A.R. Nat. No. 34565 on the service of Capt. Thomas Holliday, who served with Georgia troops under Col. Elijah Clark. Thomas Holliday lived from about 1750 to 1800. Later Mrs. Davis secured a higher rating through some Willet who was a colonel or a general.

  Dr. Joseph E. Willet was educated at Mercer University and at Yale. While a student at Yale he was a charter member of the Berzelius Society, and was its first president. In 1938 Hugh M. (his son), presented the society with a handsome portrait of his father, which now hangs in the society's new building at Yale.
click above to enlarge
  Dr. Willet studied law and was admitted to practice, but before he had fairly started on a legal career he was elected, without his applying for the place, to a professorship at Mercer University. He accepted and there he spent practically his whole life. All of the students who really wanted an education loved him, but the slackers did not fare so well. He had a long string of college degrees, a number of them honorary. He was acting president of Mercer for some months before he retired, on account of his health.

He then came to Atlanta and he and Mrs. Willet spent the last few remaining months of his life with us. He passed away in 1898 and his body was taken to Macon, where it was interred in Riverside Cemetery. At her death his devoted wife's body was placed beside his.
When Leland Stanford University was young Dr. Willet was offered the chair of Natural Philosophy, or it may have been chemistry. Conflicting emotions made it difficult for him to decide, but he did decide to remain with Mercer, because of his love for it, and because Mrs. Willet did not wish to go so far away from her mother who was already along in years.
On Feb. 22, 1939, there was dedicated at Mercer University, Macon, Ga., the Joseph E. Willet Biology Building. This building, largely was made possible by a gift from Mrs. Jessie T. Willet, widow of Nathaniel L., with smaller gifts from other members of the family. The mechanical and scientific equipment was provided with funds furnished by the General Educational Fund of Rockefeller Foundation.

Father died before I was one year old, so my mother, Elizabeth Zellars Holliday, was both father and mother to me. She was left a rather young mother with six children, the oldest just twelve. About forty slaves had just been freed. The close of the Civil War left her with these six children, 2000 acres of land and not much else. 

Those of you reading this could not understand the terrible trials and hardships of those first ten years after the war, nor can I, so I will not attempt to tell you. I will only say that my mother made an excellent job of a most difficult one. She had sufficient ambition to see that all of the children had the best educations they would take. 

  I wanted to go to the University of Georgia, but she being a good Baptist, wanted me to go to Mercer University. I had my way through sophomore year. Just before time to return for the junior year, she told me that if I went back to Athens, that I would have to go at my own expense. She agreed to lend me the money, but her wishes and my Scotch blood triumphed. Just think, if I had not gone to Mercer, I might never have met my Rosalie!



  As a young girl Rosalie was beautiful and always charming. As a young mother she was a perfect one. (Ask her children.) When she reached middle age, and daughter Ruth went away to college, her health collapsed, and for the past quarter century, she has suffered much. Her spirit and courage have never faltered. Through it all, she has retained a vivid interest in life, friends, and even politics. Some invalids are hard to live with, but not with Rosalie.

  It is her wish that I may survive her, but if she goes first, I am wondering how I am going to live without her. Regardless of all her suffering, she has grown more beautiful and charming, and her husband is not the only one who thinks so.
  Is fifty years a long time? It has seemed very short to us.



Burke-History of the Commoners, 1835.

Burke---Landed Gentry, 1875.

Burke---General Armory, 1884.

Virkus---Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy, 1931. 

McKenzie, Geo. N.---Colonial Families in the U.S. Vol. 2

Armstrong --- Notable Southern Families 1918. 

Greer, Geo. Cabell --- Earliest Settlers in Virginia. 

Tyler --- Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, 1915.

Tyler ---Quarterly Historical and Gen. Magazine, 1920-1923.

Hayden ---Virginia Genealogies, 1931. 

Munsell ---American Ancestry, 1898.


Virginia Magazine of History, Vol.

Georgia Revolutionary Land Grants, 2 Vols. 

Davidson ---Early Records of Wilkes County, Georgia.

Chalkley ---Chronicles of the Scotish-Irish Settlement in Va. Vol. 2.

  And many other books and magazines, to be found in any first class genealogical collection, such as the writer found in the Los Angeles City Library. In fact, one of the big surprises, was finding the name Holliday in so many publications.



Our home is on a mountain,
A mountain by the sea.
Its beauty is like a fountain,
A fountain joyous to see.

Our garden is on a hillside,
A lovely shaded slope
Filled with blossoms of delight,
Tokens of a gardener's faith and hope.

Our air comes o'er the Pacific sea, 
A wonderful thing to know
It's air conditioned just for us
That healthier we may grow.
Our aim is for charm
Peace and beauty,
With no pretense at show,
That our lives to others may be
An inspiration.


Pictured at their home beside the Pacific Ocean.
click for larger view.
Full Photo

Below is added/interpretated by Lindsay Holliday


.... .. .. . . . .
#10 Elijah William Holliday lived in Virginia and moved to GA

#11- Owen Thomas Holliday 1750-1800
He was granted several thousand acres of land in Wilkes County by the State Assembly in Augusta in August 1781.

12-Allen 1789-1841 married to Nancy Oneal 1798-1864

13- Allen T. 1828-1865 married to Elizabeth Zellars
Allen "T" fought in the Battle of Atlanta for the Confederate States of America

14- Thomas Otis 1853- 1929 married 1st to Katherine Burdette

15- Peter Osborne, Sr. 1887- 1951 married Martha Riley
He sold his farmland to help finance college and law school at Mercer in Macon, GA. During WW1 he tested high in math and was trained in ballistics to aim large artillery. He was half way across the Atlantic Ocean towards Europe when peace was declared and his ship turned back to America. He met Martha while she was a student at Wesleyan. Her father George Riley was a farmer and mule trader from Perry, GA who worked also as Chief of Police in Macon in 1919.

Mr Riley was known to intimidate his daughter's suitors by greeting each one with a crushing handshake. Peter O was the first suitor to pass this test.

Peter loved to read and to collect books. Book purchases became at times a source of contention with his wife who was more interested in the house and yard. The sewing club and the Vineville Garden Club and later docenting the historic Hay House and the Cannonball House were her social outlets.

Peter owned a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun for bird hunting. He and his boys Peter, Jr. and Jackson Riley occasionally dove hunted near Old Camp Wheeler near Macon.

Mercer University had a very successful football team at this time, and when they played UGA, he would ride the train to Athens with his good friend Dr Rufus Harris who later served as president of Tulane and then of Mercer University. These trips were a welcome release from domestic constraints, and the men were free to indulge in cigars and spirits. Tobacco was shunned later in life after he developed cardio-vascular problems. His law practice started with Hall, Block, Harris. Peter left them during the depression to accept appointment as Judge of the Juvenile Court. The family had both a model A Ford and an Essex in 1929. A 1932 Oldsmobile was purchased in 1934, and it was kept till Jack finished high school. [More to come]

16- Peter Osborne Holliday, Jr (1921-2007)  married Mary Lucille Dozier
17- Lindsay Dozier Holliday b1955 married Marie Caroline MacKay on 10-29-77
18- "Faira" Margaret Fairchild Dozier H. b1986

"For if we do not write our own history, then who will do it for us?"

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