The Holleman's came from Virginia. The original ancestor
of the Holleman family was Christopher Hollyman who was in Isle
of Wight, Virginia, on June 30, 1660 when he granted power of
attorney to Thomas Pittman. In 1692 his will was proven in
Isle of Wight County, leaving his wife, “Mary Holleman, my plantation and land during her life.” Christopher had a son, Thomas,
who was predeceased by his son, Joseph, so that in his will,
dated 1732, Thomas left most of his possessions to his grandson,
Joseph Holleman, Jr. The early generations of the Holleman Family and their wills are very adequately dealt with in The Hollyman Family by George A. Holleman (Printed privately, l953).
While the Hollemans were in Virginia relatively early, they
were not substantial citizens until the marriage of Joseph Holleman, Jr. to Elizabeth Wilson, daughter of Thomas Wilson and
Elizabeth Skinner Wilson. Thomas Wilson was Sheriff of Surry
Co., Virginia, having been appointed by the Governor on August
Elizabeth Wilson was descended from prominent 17th century
colonial families of Virginia. She was descended from John
Brewer, well-to-do London grocer who had come to Virginia early,
been a member of the House of Burgesses 1629/30 and a member of
the Governor’s Council in 1632. She was also a descendent of
Major James Powell, who, during Bacon’s Rebellion, was one of
the officers in Sir William Berkley’s army. She was also descended from the Goodrich family of Isle of Wight Co., Virginia.
(“Virginia Magazine of History and Biography,” Vo. 15, 1907-8,
p. 161.) This was an excellent marriage for Joseph Holleman,
Jr., a young man on the make. And from then on, beginning with
Joseph, Jr., the Holleman men were to marry unusually well.
Joseph Holleman advertised in the Williamsburg, Virginia
Gazettes, September 6, 1776 issue, “Surry County near Wall’s
bridge, August 2, 1776--I have a likely fine bay Janus Colt for
sale, just rising seven years old, four feet ten or eleven inches
high, and well proportioned. He is a very good covering horse,
and will make a fine trooper or carriage nag when cut. The terms
will be moderate, and the cash to be paid down on delivery...
The 1782 census said Joseph Holleman, Sr. had 13 slaves, one
dwelling, five other buildings. His will, dated 1786, leaves 19
slaves and several tracts of land. He had ten children, but did
not seem to get along well with his son, Thomas, whom he left
“the sum of five shillings cash.” The Holleman's were never easy
forgivers. To the rest of his children Joseph Holleman was more
Joseph Holleman’s son, Edmund Peyton Holleman, moved to
Old Pendleton District, South Carolina, then a frontier in “the latter part of the 18th century.” Having been trained in the
law in Virginia, he set up a law office in Old Pendleton District. There he married a widow, Katherine Tutt Martin, the
heiress of Captain Benjamin Tutt. It was again an excellent
Captain Benjamin Tutt was an upcountry planter and Justice
of the Peace in 1776. His wife, Barbara Stallnaker Tutt, owned
37 slaves in the 1790 census. Captain Tutt was an officer in
the Fifth Provincial Regiment which became, on the declaration
of independence, part of the South Carolina Continental Line.
A letter from Benjamin Tutt to the Governor of South Carolina is on file in the South Carolina Archives at Columbia. It
discusses some of his services in the Revolution. Edmund Holleman in 1824 petitioned the legislature for some back army pay
owed Captain Tutt for his services in the American Revolution,
and the legislature granted it. At that time Edmund stated
that he was “intermarried with Katherine Tutt, the only heir
known to Captain Benjamin Tutt who commanded one of the Inde-
pendent Companies. (Reference: AA 7970, pp. 7Tb., 8T.) The
duty of the Independent Companies was to guard the frontier.
Benjamin Tutt had to help finance his Company himself.
Edmund and Katherine Tutt Holleman had three sons who lived
to maturity: Edmund, Jr., Joseph Whitfield and Richard. Early
in their married life this lawyer from Virginia and his plantation owning wife, both Episcopalians, became converted to Methodism. They named their son, Joseph, after his grandfather in
Virginia, and Whitefield after George Whitefield, the English
Methodist revivalist. The Whitefield became Whitfield.
Among other prominent families in the area zealous in the
new Methodism was the Gaillard family. Two Holleman brothers
married two Gaillard sisters. Joseph married Sara. Edmund married Anne. The Gaillards were prominent and Methodist. Everyone was happy. A brilliant future was forecast for Joseph and
Sara Gaillard Holleman. He was a young lawyer with political
aspirations. She was five months pregnant with their third
child, the first two died, when he died unexpectedly of “the fever.” The posthumous child was named Joseph Whitefield Holleman,Jr.
Joe Holleman was born in 1841 a few months after his father
died. His mother married again when he was a child. True to
the Gaillard-DuPree tradition of marrying cousins, her second
husband was a cousin, DuPree Gaillard. The boy and his stepfather did not get along. The Hollemans have a stubborn streak. Joe
left home as early as was possible. He struck out on his own.
Young Joe was a handsome adolescent. He was tall, ruddy complected and finely formed, so strong he carried an enormous
china cabinet on his back from the shop to home, a distance of
several blocks. He was nicknamed “Jolly Joe” by his Confederate comrades in the army. One comrade wrote of him. He was always ready for a lark or, if caught, always ready with a
tall tale.” One of his larks was a poker game in which he won
and lost a mountain.
A sergeant in the Confederate army, he often saw the humourous side of war, and he said this really happened to him.
When he was returning from furlough, he found out his company
was in a battle. ‘He hurried on to join the battle and, on the
way, met one of the young soldiers of his company. The young
soldier was running. “Why are you running?” asked Joe Holleman. The soldier looked at him as if he were crazy. “Because
I can’t fly,” he said, and hurried on as the sound of rifles
cracked in the trees around them.
Joe Holleman was captured in the Confederate War and held
prisoner at Fort Delaware. He said he had to walk back from
Delaware to South Carolina. He said his shoes gave out in
Virginia, and he arrived in South Carolina barefooted and
grateful. He was happy to see a home he had despaired of in
Joe Holleman married Emma White, the niece of Elder John
Sharp of Bethel Presbyterian Church, before going away to the
War. Emma died in 1863 and is buried in the church yard. She
left a little daughter, Julia. In 1865, when Joe Holleman returned, he married Sara Sharp, the quiet, deeply Presbyterian
daughter of Elder John Sharp. She had paid attention to her
little cousin, Julia, while he was gone, even when he was in
prison and no one knew what had become of him. He remarked
upon Sara’s many fine qualities. Soon he was in love.
He proudly took his bride to the county seat, Walhalla, a
clean little town nestled in the mountains, newly settled by
Germans in 1850. There they settled.
Joe Holleman was a building contractor and real estate
developer. He built for his bride, Sara, a fourteen room house
shaped like a T. It was a happy architecture, fitting the mood
of a groom and the release of the prisoner, the best frolicking,
bubbling Victorian fountain of a house, with gingerbread verandas running wild all around the sides, coy wooden fans in corners, and places where stick and knobs made lattices and peek-a-boo things. In it was a grandfather clock, high Lincoln beds
and love seats with roses carved on them. The house was on
Main Street, a wide avenue with plenty of trees on each side.
Soon there were eight children to fill it, and Sara Sharp was a hard worker around the house, the very model of domesticity. From her kitchen poured custards, pies and fresh bread
baking. She served on cut glass in the dining room and white
ironstone in the kitchen. She wore long skirts, pleated blouses
with high necks, and a white apron over both. There was always
a broach with a picture of Joe Holleman on it at her throat.
The children called her “Maman.” And to her they would
say, “yes ma’m,” and “no ma’ in,” for she was Squire Sharp’s
daughter and would “paddle them good” if they misbehaved. Bad
manners were considered misbehavior. Sara Sharp remained erect,
quiet and orderly, the calm center of tears, fights, grins,
chases and socks with holes.
Joe Holleman, now Joseph Holleman, grew stout and round
bearded. He carried a cane which he swung when he walked, and
when he wore his hat and swung his cane, he was the very picture
of pomposity. Full of himself and malely innocent. He had a
good wife, eight bright children and a big house. He was the
treasurer of Oconee County and an elder in the Presbyterian
Church. Later on he became judge of probate court and people
began to call him “Judge,” naturally as they called his father-in-law, “Squire.” It seemed to fit.
It was a warm, happy household with plenty of signs of security evident. Altogether it was the sort of domestic life of
pleasantness and happiness that a boy on his own or a prisoner
might imagine. Joseph and Sara Holleman were after something
besides social prominence. They were after a certain quality of
domestic life, which, it is generally felt, they found.
Their children attended school in Walhalla and a daughter,
Henrietta, attended the Walhalla Female Seminary where Neill
Macaulay, the County Commissioner of Education, often lectured.
Henrietta was an attractive child with large eyes and black
hair and a will of her own. She had the Holleman stubborn streak
and, if she wanted a man 19 years older, she would have him. In
this case she wanted the intelligent, bearded Commissioner of
Education, Neill Macaulay.
Joe Holleman said that he did not want an older man and a
widower for her. Henrietta said she wanted a man, not a boy.
They reached an impasse. He sent Henrietta to visit relatives
in Carnesville, Ga. Neill Macaulay came after her, and they
If the Holleman men had any fault, it was that they took
themselves too seriously. When Neill Macaulay married Henrietta
against Joe’s wishes, he never spoke to Neill again. Life went
on as usual, but he used a third person to speak, such as,
“Hettie, would you ask your husband, Mr. Macaulay, to pass the
peas?”--or--”Honey, would you ask your father, Mr. Macaulay, to
send over a book on the Sunday School lesson?”
They got along well together actually and old Joe was devoted to his grandchildren, but he could not swallow his pride.
In this, one is reminded of Joe’s great-grandfather, Joseph Holleman of Virginia, who had a quarrel with his son, Thomas,
and left him five shillings in his will. No Holleman ever
Sara Holleman had to live with this male of no surrender.
She loved Joe and he was worth it, but he was totally male. At
times you could take out the a and put in a u. She was quiet,
deeply Presbyterian. She turned in, to her faith, learned from
her father, Elder Sharp, of the white frame church in the hills.
It deepened her. There was a whisper of the mountains in it:
constancy, simple dignity and a quiet strength.
It supported her through the years of eight children, the
death of her year old baby, Johnny, named for her father, later
adolescent problems, domestic crises, always cleaning the fourteen rooms, cooking for hordes, building a guest cabin in the back for her old parents, moments when the children were crying, the old ones sick, the husband yelling, about to charge
someone or something over God knew what, probably county politics again, and the years of Joe’s not speaking to Mr. Macaulay,
such a fine man. She spoke: it was right, no matter what Joe
said. He was just being male of course, God bless them all.
Through the years she never failed her family, in hard
work or quiet affection ever there. In private her work never
stopped. In public she always stopped to hold out her hand,
gracious and courteous, as befitted “Squire” Sharp’s daughter
and “Judge” Holleman’s wife, but really interested in a neighbor’s sore throat or the plight of a really poor man.
In the community she was often the judge of “tacky parties,”
because she was never “tacky”, dressed in summer silks or black
winter satin, only the gold rimmed picture of young Joe at her
throat, and her cake the prize for the tackiest, the best pound
and coconut cakes in town. Her silver punch ladles, for there
was much “Presbyterian” punch and many parties for young people
at her house, were prized heirlooms.
Her daughters cherished a memory of her behind the punch
bowls of silver and cut glass, calm, unfailingly serene, as the
maid dropped things in the kitchen, the children spilled on
themselves and the carpets, and she heard the snort that meant
Joe was about to charge.
Probably it was politics. Joe was Oconee County treasurer,
relected for sixteen years, and knew the opposition to be
grafters. The idea of crooks in his fairly kept and neat account
books infuriated him. He was scrupulously honest.
To give the devil his due, the Holleman stubborn streak,
when applied to honesty and clean government, was an admirable
virtue. Joe was never badly intentioned, only all man, a Holleman who never surrendered, and thus at times was very trying.
It was then, exasperated, as sometimes with the children or
when he would not speak to Mr. Macaulay, that Sara lifted her
eyes to the hills. She went off for quiet meditation. When
she returned, she was always serene.
Sara Holleman learned to live her own life with the very masculine man she loved, without bitterness or the idea of divorce or shrill assertion of her own personality, becoming the
quiet center of everything around her.. Her character revealed
itself in the way of sterling, through wear. A character emerged distinctly hers: straight lined but not laced, every detail in order, with a sweet, good moral texture. Her personality was from a pattern simple, old and sterling. It impressed
the community as well as her daughters and granddaughters. A
poor man said of her at her death that she was, “a quality
folks’ woman, the type you don’t see no more, damit.”
She was not one to feel sorry for. There was a twinkle in
her eye, as she hung out the wash one day, telling her daughters
not to worry, as long as God preserved the simple, He would take
care of men.
In the end the family felt it was she the trumpets would
sound for on the other side, the one who would be missed, the
calm center of the family. If old Joe, Jolly Joe, full of
laughter, muscle, and stubborn as a mule, made heaven, it would
probably be through something male and direct, like a Confederate cavalry charge.
Sara Holleman wore the broach with her Joe’s picture on it
for the last time in March, 1911. She died, aged 69, at 12:30
on the night of the 14th, in the big house on Main Street Joe
had built for her, and she had made a home.
The local newspaper concluded her obituary: “She will be
greatly missed in church and other circles here, but most keenly
in the home where she had been the center of love and esteem:
exemplifying all those traits in her daily life which tends to
dignify the term wife and mother. To the bereaved ones we join
with hosts of friends in extending sincere condolences in their
hour of sorrow.”
Her funeral was conducted by the Presbyterian and Methodist ministers, for many of both families were Methodists. The burial was in Westview Cemetery, and one of the ministers read
Psalm 121 at the grave, beginning: “I will lift up mine eyes
unto the hills from whence cometh my help.” Sara was laid to
rest there because of its commanding view of the western scenery,
looking out to the hills where the white frame church was, and,
further on, the mountains.
Joe Holleman did not marry again. He and Sara had been
married 46 years. Marriage, he said, was impossible. Nowadays
they all looked and acted like trash anyway. At least, besides
Sara, who wore his boyish picture at her throat. Who could replace a Sara?
Joe Holleman died six years later. On a warm spring day he came home for lunch, sat down on the veranda and began to take off his shoes, mumbling. This odd behavior was the beginning of a stroke that killed him. He died in the house he had
built for Sara, in the high Lincoln bed that was theirs, on May
26, 1917. He was buried in Westview Cemetery beside her.
After Joe’s death, Henrietta Macaulay bought the house on
Main Street. The Macaulays lived happily in it for some while.
Eunice, the oldest daughter, was married in it, in a home wedding and reception of the old fashioned kind. But the Macaulays
had to sell it when they moved to Columbia. Finally, it was
torn down to build a gas station.
N.B. The will of John Brewer of London & Va. may be found in
the “Va. Magazine of History and Biography, 1895-96,” Vol. 3,
page 183. The best write up of John Brewer is found in Seventeenth Century Isle of Wright, Co., Va. by J.B. Boddie. (Chicago Law Printing Co., Chicago 1938) Ch. 21, “Brewer of Somerset, London & Isle of Wight,” p. 403-408.
2. Neill W. Macaulay, Jr. represents Captain Benjamin Tutt
of the South Carolina Continental Line in the South Carolina
Society of the Cincinnati.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.