Copied from the 1946 journal of Graves Blair Blake, Jr

This journal was submitted by Miriam Rone who is generously sharing some of her family information and photos for researchers of Chickasaw Co, MS.

Captain John Christmas Holladay (our great-great-great grandfather on the Baskin side), a native of Kentucky, served under Gen. Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812.  His title of captain may be assumed as was customary in that day but his will as recorded in Chickasaw County Seat portrays him to be a man of some attainment.  At any rate he attended Gen. and Mrs. Jackson at their home The Hermitage, near Nashville, Tenn. as of 1828 where his daughter Sarah Jane was born that year. 
He came with his family and household plunder by wagon from Nashville down part of the Old Natchez Trace and settled on what is now part of the F. Taylor Marion estate, 4 miles east of Old Houlka.  It was then an Indian trading post stationed near Old Rock Springs.  DeSoto passed through on his memorial journey in the 1500’s and went from there to his fatal conflict with the Indians at Pontotoc, 13 miles north.
Several years later Captain Holladay moved to his permanent home site near Houston (on Highway 15.)  There he died in August? 1863.  He came as an agent for Gen. Jackson on behalf of Mrs. Jackson’s son, Stephen, to buy lands from the Indians.  He served Gen. Jackson well and became a prosperous large landowner himself.  Upon his death his sons were all in the Confederate Army but Uncle John Quincy Holladay who had been disinherited.  In the words of his granddaughter, Miss Flounoy Holladay, of 132 N. Bellevue, Memphis, Tennessee (1942), to me in letter form, “Upon my grandfather’s passing, unknown men came forward and claimed his property.”
His daughters, Massey and Mrs. Amanda Bullington, wife of John J. Bullington, were dead.  Sarah and Elizabeth were married and had several small children to care for, their husbands being in the Confederate Army.  His son John was disinherited for marrying a Miss Philpot from west of Houston.  (Her family was of ill repute.)  Andrew Jackson Holladay and Francis Gideon Holladay were killed in battle.  Henry had died of typhoid fever in Houston.  William and Thomas were both under 19 and were in the Southern Forces, their whereabouts unknown.
Captain and Mrs. Holladay are buried at Wesley Chapel Cemetery, Chickasaw County.  Their graves are unmarked except for two gigantic cedar trees planted by their daughter Elizabeth Holladay Flemings.  Their daughter Sarah and her husband are buried to the north and Sarah’s daughter, Missouri Anna Baskin, her husband, Gen. William Henry Griffin and their stillborn son directly to the south.  They are peacefully surrounded by their own and their neighbors descendents. (Their graves are now marked. Miriam has submitted photos of the tombstones and they can be seen at
Wesley Chapel Photos.)

Claiborne Williams (our great-great-great-great grandfather on the Baskin side), his wife, Letitia Shumate and some of their children moved from Kentucky through Tennessee to Colbert County, Alabama and stayed the winter of 1827-1828.  Mrs. Lettice Shumate, Letitia’s widowed mother came with them.  In the summer of 1828 they arrived in Chickasaw County, Mississippi.
Their daughter Anne, who had married John Isbell Thompson, had taken up a very small evergreen when they were coming through Tennessee and kept it wrapped in wet cloths during the journey.  She planted the tree at her home near Houlka.  It was a beautiful tree at the time of her death 60 odd years later. (Standing 1975)
Sarah Letitia (Mrs. Lewis Isbell), Daniel (who married Nancy, daughter of Nawsworthy Hunter, the only Territorial Governor Mississippi ever had,) and Joel  (who married Hester Smith,) composed the rest of the family who came from Alabama.
Joel, accompanied by his brother Daniel, Lewis Isbell, Francis M. Harris, Andrew Hedgepeth, son-in-law of Aaron and Augelet Fisher May Harris, and several others were on a bear hunt in Schoona Bottom west of Houlka.  Joel shot a bear and thinking it dead went forward to bleed it.  The bear, only wounded, turned on him and killed him.  He was carried home strapped on his horse.  He was buried in the yard and also his grandmother Eleanor Williams, at her death a few hours later.
Thus began Isbell Cemetery, Chickasaw County, Mississippi.  (Now called Holladay Cemetery.)

During the years of 1852, the year of her marriage, until 1865,the year Grandfather (William Philo Baskin) returned from the war, Grandma Sally (Holladay)Baskin ( our great-great grandmother) lived in Houston, Mississippi.  She had inherited her portion of her father’s property in 1863 at his passing.  Her portion was two plantations, a farm and tollgate, and 3 gins in and near Houston.  Three days before the Union Forces arrived in Houston, she sold all her property except her residence in Houston, her farm and tollgate for Confederate currency.  These were worthless after the surrender and she papered a fire screen with them.  It was 4 feet high and 6 feet in length and completely covered with $500.00 Confederate bills.  The money was placed at the time with a gentleman for safekeeping.  (Probably, Simeon Myers of Houston or her husband’s uncle, Jacob Longbridge of Okolona.)
Upon entering Houston they found all the Courthouse records had been removed and they began to scour the countryside.  They overtook the circuit clerk with a wagon of hay—underneath were all the records.  They burned everything except one book he managed to throw into the bushes.  It is the only one left for our reference today. 
The Yankee soldiers began to ravage the houses searching for valuables much to the terror of the women and children who feared they would burn the town.  My great grandmother (“Sallie” Sarah Jane Holladay Baskin) had all of her daughters dressed with all the clothes she could get on them and hidden under the beds.
John W. H. Baskin, her only son, she held in her arms.  Her cook was in the yard kitchens, a cabin in the back yard not adjoining the house, cooking the midday meal and baking the next day’s bread.  The soldiers came in, beat the cook, threw the dough and batter into the yard and trampled it through the house.
Grandma was an Eastern Star.  In hopes of help and highly indignant, she sent for the commanding officer.  Upon his arrival, she curtsied and gave the Eastern Star sign.  He was a Mason and after surveying the damage, cursed and knocked about his own men who were responsible and still on the premises.  He placed a guard at the gate and assured Grandma that her household would be molested no more.  The Yankees soon left on account of rumors that a Confederate force of some size was coming to Houston at high speed.  Grandma or Houston were not bothered again during the war.

Cousin Massey Holladay Ingram, first cousin of my grandmother, Mrs. Allie  (Baskin) Harris, always began her audible prayer with the words of the following hymn:
Oh Thou, by whom we came to God,
The Light, the Truth, the Way
The path of prayer Thyself hath trod
Lord, teach us how to pray.

At one of the protractive meetings at Holladay Methodist Church Aunt Mag Holladay (Margaret Jane Craig, 2nd wife of James Henry Holladay) was sitting by her sister-in-law, Mrs. John H. M. Craig.  “Aunt Jenny” held her little baby Jothanon in her lap. 
All of a sudden Aunt Mag began her high ptiched shouting.  The child was so frightened he held his breath and had to be passed down the bench and out the window to his aunt, Miss Ella Williams, who beat him in the back until he could breath normally again.

Thomas (Jefferson) Holliday, the youngest child in Captain John Christmas Holliday’s family of ten children, married Elizabeth Philips.  He called her “Bett.”
Aunt Betty had a sister, Millie, Mrs. Joe Waldrop, who was nursing her uncle during an illness.  Seeing Uncle Tom coming up the hill to the house with Cousin Pope and Cousin Alice Foster.  (The Fosters had a drinking problem.), she called her sister and begged Mrs. Waldrop to pour out the jug of “corn” Uncle Tom had in the side room.  Reluctantly, she did so and when Uncle found it out he never spoke to his sister-in-law until 1910, two years before he passed on.
The reason for more that 40 years of silence and contempt for his wife’s sister was that she had caused him undue embarrassment when Mr. and Mrs. Foster took their leave immediately upon finding no liquor.

Adam Craig, uncle by marriage of my great-grandfather, William Philo Baskin, left his home in the Territory of Missouri sometime around 1820.  His mother was dead and his step-mother was not to his liking so he began to ramble.  He was floating logs down the Chaloochee River in Georgia and met Catherine Loughridge.  The were married in a short while.
Uncle Craig borrowed an ax and Aunt Kate a skillet.  They built a cabin and started a family—Mary Anne Craig was born, the first child, before her mother was sixteen!
Catherine’s father, James Jacob Loughridge, had been converted under Charles Wesley’s preachings to the Indians at Pulcheuria, an old Indian village on the banks of the Chaloochee River in Ga. And had moved in to the Spanish Territory as a Methodist missionary to the Chickasaw Indians.
His wife and a few slaves accompanied him.  The rest of his househound remained in Ga.  They were Ollie, my great-great grandmother, then Mrs. Baskin, Catherine, Mrs. Craig, Emily, later Mrs. Foster, Melinda, later Mrs. Doss, Wilford and Jacob.
The brothers followed their father a few months later and Ollie died, her husband remarrying soon after.  She left two sons, Thomas and William Philo (my great-grandfather) and a daughter, Fannie (Frances Isabella Baskin).
Adam and Catherine came west and brought Fannie, a small child with them.  That was in 1843.  William Philo hated his step-mother because she made him help with the carding and spinning on rainy days.
He ran away when his aunt, Mrs. Craig, was two weeks on her way west and hid in a wagon among the bed clothes until he overtook her train.  He joined her family and made his home with his grandfather upon arriving in Mississippi some months later, shortly after his 14th birthday.
Melinda and Emily with their families followed and were settled in Houston or there about by the year of 1846.
This is a complete account of my people on that line coming to our present home county as I have had it by word of mouth by my grandmother and her sister, S. E. Gregory and of their cousins, Anna Craig Kennedy and Ada Craig Hill, the two youngest of Adam and Catherine Loughridge Craig’s fourteen children.
The Fannie Baskin mentioned here married John Quincy Holladay.

Francis Gideon Holloday, son of Captain John C. and Sarah Trantham Holliday, married Anne Lyon and had three children:  John Wesley, William MacDonald, and Anne.
Mrs. Anne Lyon Holliday died and Francis Gideon married Jane, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Moses Robinson of Houlka, MS before 1860.
F. Gideon and Jane R. Holladay had one son, Vincent before the war.  Aunt Jane was pregnant when Uncle Gid left so she lived with her parents.
William was not quite three years old when his father remarried and lived with his step-parent until he was about five.
One day his grandpa, Capt. Holliday (a burly red-faced man of better than 6 feet in height and weighed more than 200 pounds) rode up to Mr. Robinson and asked for William, evidently convinced that his grandson was not receiving proper care.  He left empty-handed.
Several days later, Mr. Robinson gave 5 year old William a pillow case containing his clothes and sent him the 7 miles to his grandfather’s home at Holladay, alone.  There he remained from 1861 until 1863 when his grandfather passed on.  Sarah had died in the winter of 1861.
Cousin John Wesley had been in his early teens when the war broke out and had accompanied his father to GA where their regiment was stationed for a time.  This was caused in part by his open contempt for his step-mother and her people.  The boy was large and extremely well-developed for his age—he was perhaps 14.
The tale goes that Cousin John did something he should not have done and his father, a major, punished him by a thrashing.  Cousin John went to the commanding officer and reported his father for brutality of an officer to an enlisted man.  Uncle Gid was in serious trouble until the officer preferring the charges found out the truth of things.
As stated before, Jane Robinson Holliday was pregnant when her husband left.  She bore the child, a daughter, Margaret Matilda, later Mrs. W. T. Brown.  Uncle Gid never saw Cousin Maggie for upon hearing that she was born, he received a furlow and set out home with Cousin John W.  They neared Atlanta, GA, and were engaged in a skirmish.  Uncle Gid was hit in the heel by a minnie ball, gangrene set in and in spite of all the care Cousin John Wesley could give him, died.
Therefore Cousin Mag Brown never saw her father and her mother remained a widow the rest of her life.  Gid’s daughter by his first wife died shortly before he married the second time.   She is buried in Houston.

Cousin John Wesley Holladay, son of Maj. Francis Gideon and Mrs. Anne Lyon Holladay, married Virginia, daughter of Daniel and Nancy Hunter Williams.  They lived on the North side of Isbell Cemetery.
After the Civil War the carpetbaggers and scallywags practically took over the country causing the people to go about in large companies when they took their produce, usually cotton, to market.  On one occasion, Cousin John was with a group of gentlemen taking their cotton to Pontotoc for sale.  A Yankee in a lovely surrey with two painted women met them.
Before he could demand any of their possessions, Cousin John threw his saddle into a wagon, sat crosslegged on his mule’s bare back and began bleating like a billy goat.  He road circles around the buggy while its occupants looked on in bewildered fear.  He continued his circling and bleating until the wagon procession was past; saluted the ladies with a “Good day, ladies,” nodded and smiled to the man, turned and galloped off after his friends.  Thus they were spared paying a portion of their cotton in toll to the despised Yankee.

From 1934, the year of Cousin Robert Laffette Holladay’s operation, preceding his death the following spring, I began spending a great deal of time at his home.  Cousin Nellie and Bobby were full of the past and kept me well entertained.  Cousin Nellie remarried for some 2 and a half years at “The Pike” before going to live with her nephew in Pontotoc County after Cousin Bob’s passing.
She gave up her home and most of her property before leaving The Pike but carried quite a bit of household plunder with her.  Her nephew, Robert Starks, she claimed, “beat me out of practically everything I had.”  Then she moved to her step-mothers in Houlka,  Mrs. Warren (Mollie Flaginin Alexander’s.  Miss Mollie, always termed “Ma” was well in her 90s and had never boasted as being easy to get along with.  This ended after much dissatisfaction on the part of both ladies when Bobby’s sister-in-law and niece, Marnie Holladay and Gladys Holladay Hunter paid a visit from Brownsville, TN in 1939.
Gladys proposed to build a cabin on her little farm she inherited from her grandfather’s estate.  Her father, Addie, Dr. A. U. Holladay had passed on in her childhood.  It was in this cabin I spent many delighted hours and acquired much family data and added color to our past life in Chickasaw County, MS.

Uncle (James) Henry, Bobby’s pa was a first cousin of my maternal grandmother and was twice married into our family.  His first wife was Ollie Craig, first cousin and foster sister of my great grandpa, W. P. Baskin (1828-1902).  Aunt Ollie was the mother of 4 children—Willie, Mrs. Walter Alexander of Houston, MS, Johnnie, died during early childhood and buried at Wesley Chapel, Addie and Bobbie.  It will be noted that Nellie and Walter were brother and sister.  There mother was a Hightower.
Uncle Henry was called to preach shortly after his first marriage and Aunt Ollie objected.  “Henry, it’s no fault of yours, but you have no education and I’ll not have you up butchering the English language in public.”
Despite Auntie’s protests, Uncle Henry applied for a license to preach and was to be ordained at Wesley Chapel.  The morning when he was supposed to go Aunt Ollie took her butcher knife and cut the harness off the mule.
Some 2 or 3 months later, she died.  For convenience, he married her elder sister “Mag” who was old enough to be his mother.  He and Aunt Mag built a useful life for themselves…Augt Mag shouted when Uncle preached.
But on with our tale…Aunt Mag came to Nellie one evening and asked her to take care of Henry when she was gone and made her promise she would.  Shortly afterwards, Aunt Mag had a stroke and died.
Uncle Henry, having always enjoyed a pleasant home life, soon tired of living with Bobby and Nellie although they were congenial.  He simply wanted to go home.  He met a widow, Mrs. Jennie Bell Winters at his church at Mt. Zion and began keeping company with her.  All of the family objected and many took the pains to enlighten or renew his acquaintance with her family’s social status in the past.
Uncle Henry and Miss Jennie Bell were married and moved to “The Pike.”  Uncle Henry had a general store and post office across the road from his home.  The post office was called Holladay.  Miss Jennie Bell had an old Model T and when Uncle Henry would eave to preach or even to go to town, she would load up with his stores and take them to her kin in Pontotoc County.  Finally, Uncle told her he was going to Houston and she promised him she’d stay at home and work the garden.  When he came home, she and the Model T were gone and the house locked.  Uncle had to key and had to go to Bobby’s.  He took sick and stayed there.
Nellie and Bobby slept in his room to be able to wait on him if he wanted anything during the night.  Uncle had a bad cough and Jennie Bell still had not showed up three days later.
Cousin Nellie was bad to want water during the night and one night during the first week of Uncle Henry’s illness at their house, she went into the open hallway for a drink.  She told me, “And I saw Aunt Mag cross the ditch, black dress, stockings, gold bar pin, everything just like we laid her away.”
“I knew if she was coming back to haunt anybody, it wouldn’t be me, for God knows, I’ve done all I could because I loved Daddy and Bobby.”
Aunt Mag crossed the ditch and came up the path.  When she stepped in the shadow fo the veranda, I didn’t see her anymore.  I stood and held the door and the screen open.  I was scared and after a few minutes went in to bed closing the door behind me.
The next morning Daddy Holladay got up and came to breakfast, graced the table and looked at us with the happiest look I’d seen on his face in years.   “Bobby,” he said, “I know you’re an old man but if you laugh at me I’ll whip your ***.  Your ma spoke to me as plain as last night as before she passed on.  She seemed to be standing at the foot of my bed.  “Henry,” she said, “turn over on your right side and you won’t cough anymore.”  Uncle slept with pillows bracing him so he wouldn’t roll over and he never coughed again in the least.
Cousin Nellie had dropsy at the time she related all this to me and many in the family had accused her of always having had a roving fancy.  Never-the less, Uncle Henry’s never coughing again is verified by the entire family who lived in that vacinity.

Aunt Fannie Baskin tells this one in recalling Uncle Henry Holladay’s funeral and burial.
“Mrs. Sales, Bobby, and Nellie and I were the first car that followed Henry’s corpse.  The funeral was held at Bobby’s and a ceremony at the Church (Wesley Chapel).  Just as we were going by Henry’s old place, Jennie Bell was in that Model T with that Max of hers driving.  They tried to cut in between us and the hearse.
Bobby pulled up all of a sudden saying he’d kill us all before that woman got between him and his pa’s body.  All the possession followed suit so Jennie Bell’s was the last carriage in the line. 
At the church there was a huge gathering—you know everybody loved Henry---and Willie, and Massie and Bobby and Nellie and Mrs. Sales and me all went in and sat down.  The service was short but touching.  Jennie Bell and her crowd had to sit in the back of the house.  No mention was ever made of her one way or the other.”

Uncle Tom Holladay, here-to-forementioned as being blind was at Uncle Henry’s once and there were several on the veranda.  Someone passed on horseback and somebody commented that the horse was unusually fine.
Uncle Tom said quietly, “Ain’t he fat!”
“Why Uncle Tom, you can’t see.  How’d you tell whether he was fat or not?”
“Honey, did you ever see a pretty horse that wasn’t fat?”

John Quincy Holladay, eldest child of Captain John C. and Sarah Trantham Holladay, married Fannie, daughter of John and Ollie Loughridge Baskin.  Their youngest son, William Philo Baskin, married Sarah Jane Holladay, John Q.’s sister.
Aunt Fannie was the mother of two children, John and Fannie, and died at or soon after the youngest’s birth.  Fannie was the baby.  Uncle John is said to have become mentally deficient from grief and left home for the flatwoods.  He was said to be keeping company with a Philpot woman and his father rebuked his thoroughly.
Some weeks later, Uncle John drove up to his father’s with the woman with him and said they were married.  Grandfather had been highly displeased because during the war his sons, Gideon, jack, Will and Thomas had taken an active part in the fighting, the first two being killed while Uncle John said he’d not stick his head out fo no damn Yankee to shoot at!:  The only other son was Henry, a Methodist preacher in poor health who lived in the Prospect community and who died during the war.
Grandfather told Uncle John in his new wife’s hearing that if he’d stoop so low as to marry that woman, he could not under any circumstance “cross my threshold.”
Uncle John took his son and daughter and went to Oklahoma.  We never heard of any of them until 1943 when Cousin Flounoy wrote Uncle’s granddaughter, Mrs. Cruchfield in Oklahoma.

Cousin Willie Alexander, nee Willie Louisa Holladay, accompanied her aunt, Rebecca Craig Fleming to Okolona when a child too small to enter school.  They had tintype pictures made and afterwards Aunt “Beck” stopped to price some lace.
Cousin Willie didn’t know that Aunt Beck had stopped so went quite a way down the street before she missed her.  Upon finding herself alone, she didn’t know how to find Aunt Beck so ran into the middle of the street and began singing her grandfather Adam Craig’s favorite old harp song, “Oh bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home.”  Some gentleman who know Uncle Craig picked her up and found Aunt Beck.
“This is some of Squire Craig’s folks,” he said, “for nobody but his own flesh and blood could sing his song so well!”

Keith Moffatt Holladay, son of William MacDonald and Lula Fant Holladay was going to school to his cousin, Evie Sue Holladay.  He was into much and she had to give him constant attention but still he would not study or take interest in his studies.  Finally, one day she told him, “Keith, you’d just as well go on home, you aren’t learning a thing—I don’t believe you’ve one grain of sense.”
“Yes, Eva, “ he replied smiling innocently, “I’m ust like the rest of these damn Holladays—aint none of us got any sense!”

Keith’s mother, Cousin Lula was endeavoring to make her daughter, Annie White, want to go to school.  Cousin Lula told her how she’d wanted a daughter who was cultured, ladylike and had made her mark in the educational system of the day.  As Cousin Lula had excelled in her studies during college days, she expected nothing less of her daughter.
Annie’s only reply was, “Ma, why did you marry a Holladay if you wanted a daughter like that?”

Keith also tells the story that Uncle Tom Holladay, blind brother of his grandpa, F. Gideon Holladay, would visit them occasionally and smoked a cobb pipe.  Keith would lead him over a log and Uncle Tom would loose his pipe.  According to Keith, he couldn’t find it anywhere and away he’d lead old Uncle Tom—Keith smoking the pipe.

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