Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Holderness Brothers

Another of my husband's great, great grandfathers was Robert Charles Holderness, born 11 Oct 1827, in Caswell County, North Carolina.  He was a physician, having attended the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Holderness, his widowed mother, and all but one of his siblings moved to Calhoun County, Arkansas, just after the 1850 Census.  Robert married Virginia Elizabeth Thomas there in Calhoun County, 2 Nov 1854, but he had known her family back in North Carolina.  In October of 1863, Robert and Virginia along with three young children and a six-week-old baby [Elizabeth "Bettie" my husband's great grandmother] left Arkansas for Hopkins County, Texas.

Dr. Holderness joined the Confederate Army in Black Jack Grove (Cumby), in Hopkins County, and was attached to Company K of the 9th Texas Cavalry (Ross Brigade). However, because of the great need for medical service, he was assigned to civilian practice at Primm Hill (another small town that would be part of Cumby) and did not see any actual military service.

From Civil War Shadows in Hopkins County, Texas, by June E. Tuck, 1993:

p.38 "The 4th of March 1864, the County exempted the following doctors from military duty: Robert Holderness of Tarrant .... The Commissioners thought they were needed at home more than the military needed them.

p.90 "On June 24, 1893, Col. Dillahuntz of Mt. Pleasant, TX, met with ex-Confederates at Black Jack Grove (Cumby) Hopkins Co, TX to organize a new chapter to be known as "Dud Jones Camp, U.C.V. Dr. R. C. Holderness [was elected] Surgeon."

However, Robert had six brothers. 

His eldest brother William Henry, had bought out the shares of his mother and siblings and remained in North Carolina.  Documents on Footnote.com reveal that William worked as a sub-agent for the collection of taxes for the benefit of the Confederacy and received reimbursement for office space, pens, paper, glue, and the labor of a slave. 

When Presidential Pardons [Amnesty] was offered, William Henry Holderness was quick to reply:
"Case Files of Applications from former Confederates for Presidential Pardons [Amnesty Papers] 1865-67 M1003, NARA

Caswell Co NC
June 17, 1865
Dear Sir,
I was a citizen of Caswell County NC about 45 years. I was appointed Title Agent for this county which office I accepted for the Sole purpose of avoiding conscription in the Confederate Service As I was not able or willing to go into the Army.
I was very anxious to have Civil Government established in the State & see peace, prosperity reign over this Country, and I am now Very anxious to take the oath proscribed by your Amnesty Proclamation and to become a good true and loyal citizen of the United States. Upon a statement of the above facts I ask your Excellency to grant me a full and free pardon.
Very respectfully your,
Obet. Servt.
W. H. Holderness

A copy of a printed form with the blanks filled in:
I, W. H. Holderness, of Caswell County, State of North Carolina, do solemnly swear or affirm, in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder; and that I will in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the existing rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves. So help me God.
W. H. Holderness
Sworn and subscribed to this the 23 day of Augt, A.D., 1865, before
A. A. Pattillo, J.P.

Two of the brothers, James and Thomas, born between William and Robert, seemed to have avoided involvement in the War.  James suffered from rheumatism for many years and may have not been physically able.  The next to the youngest of the Holderness boys, Jonathan Iverson, born 1832, also seems not to have served in the War.  All three of these men were Texas ranchers, James & Jonathan in Palo Pinto County, Thomas in Jones county.  None of them ever married.  It is always possible they did serve in the War and their records have been lost to time - none of them would have needed to apply for a pension, nor did they have widows that would have done so.

George W. Holderness was two years younger than Dr. Robert.  Chances are excellent his middle name was Washington, but that is not proved.   George was a merchant in Monticello, Arkansas, a single man.  He had remained in Arkansas when several of his brothers had moved to Texas.  He was enlisted in the Confederacy by Capt. J. A. Owens at Monticello on 8 Feb 1862 for one year, later extended to three years, or the War.  George served as Sergeant Major in Owens Battery or Monticello Battery (Light Artillery) of the Arkansas Volunteers.  This unit served East of the Mississippi throughout the War.  On 19 Oct 1864 he was admitted to Ross Hospital in Mobile, Alabama.  He died there on Nov 19th of acute diarrhea.  His effects were listed simply as "sundries" and he was owed back pay of $91.75.

The youngest of the Holderness brothers was Algernon Sidney Holderness, born a few months after the death of their father.  He, too, was a physician, also receiving his degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  Like his brother George, he remained in Arkansas.

Confederate records from National Archives state A. S. Holderness was enlisted 16 June 1862 by J. M. O'Neill at Hampton, AR to serve three years or the War, in Company B of the 1st Regt. Arkansas Cavalry (Monroe's Regt.)  Apparently following the battles in northwest Arkansas, A. S. was left at the hospital in Fayetteville to care for the wounded.  On 18 Apr 1863, he was detailed as Asst. Surgeon and left at Fayetteville with 1 horse. His papers include a Parole for A. S. Holdiness (sic) of Calhoun Co, Ark. aged 29 years, 5' 9 1/2 " high, eyes blue, hair light, complexion fair; dated 23 Apr 1863 at Fayetteville, Ark. He promises not to give information to the enemies of Government of the United States or harbor any spies of the so called Confederate Army or communicate to any members thereof. Handwritten on the parole is "and that I will not go beyond the Hospital Limits of the Town of Fayetteville, Ark., nor bear arms whilst on duty". Signed with his signature: A. S. Holderness, Ass. Surgeon, CSA, Monros Regt.

A biography in Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas (1890) The Goodspeed Publishing Company, pp. 723-24, states this about Algernon Sidney Holderness's Civil War Service:   "He was nearly all through the war, in the Confederate army, as assistant surgeon of the First Arkansas Cavalry, and operated in Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Texas. For a short time he held the rank of first lieutenant of Company B. He was discharged in Texas, May 27, 1865, and the same year was married..."

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