John Holladay (1755-1800)

Notes on John Holladay (1755-1800)

John Holladay, Zacharias’ elder brother, is believed to have been born in Orange County, Virginia, in 1755. His parents were Joseph and Winifred Holladay.

John was one of the very early settlers in Kentucky. He was present at the siege of Harrodsburg led by the Shawnee chief Blackfish in March of 1777. In 1780 he was issued a certificate of settlement by the Kentucky Land Commission based on “settling in the Country in the year 1777 and residing there ever since”. Virginia land records show that he received a 400-acre settlement grant and a 1000-acre preemption. The 400-acre grant was surveyed in 1783, the year his brother Zacharias came to Kentucky, and his patent (grant) issued in 1785 was signed by Gov. Patrick Henry.

One of John Holladay’s associates at this time was John Muldraugh, for whom the well-known geological formation “Muldraugh Hill” is named. In 1787 John Holladay sold his 400-acre grant to John Muldraugh for 500 pounds. The following year he bought 200 acres from John Muldraugh, also for 500 pounds. The deed says this land was located on the south side of Rolling Fork at the mouth of Town Lick Creek. John’s new property was located in Nelson County.

A muster roll for the Nelson County militia taken in the summer of 1789 shows that Captain William Wilson’s company included John “Holaday”, Zachariah Holladay, and John “Mulder”. Similar muster rolls for 1790 and 1791 show John “Holaday” and John Muldraugh; by 1791 John Muldraugh had become captain of the company.

In 1792 Kentucky was granted statehood, and the area where John Holladay lived was split off from Nelson County to become Washington County. John Holladay appears with various spellings in Washington County tax lists from 1792 to 1797, but not later. In 1793 the first grand jury in Washington County was empanelled, and its members included John “Holaday” and John “Muldrough”.

Washington County records show that on 30 March 1794 John “Holloway” married Margaret (or Margery) Gustavis. Permission for Margaret to marry was given by her Guardian, James McWaters. John “Holloday” and his wife Margaret sold the balance of their property on the Rolling Fork to Samuel McElroy on 19 October 1797, and the deed shows that Margaret surrendered her dowry rights. Five days later on 24 October, John filed a survey for a 300-acre grant in Hardin County on Green River. He is recorded in the Washington County tax roll as paying tax on this land in 1796, and he received a grant for this land in 1799.

John and Margaret’s first child, Margaret, was born in 1795/6, and their son Zachariah was born in 1798. At about this same time, 1797-1798, John and Margaret appear to have moved to Christian County, Kentucky. New lands had opened up in this part of southwestern Kentucky, and the county had been formed in 1797. John Holladay appears in the Christian County tax roll in 1798 only. Also appearing in that county’s tax rolls during the period is James McWaters, presumably the same person who was Margaret Gustavis Holladay’s guardian in 1794. By 1799 there are several McWaters listed in the tax rolls. John and Margaret’s daughter Winiford was born in Kentucky in 1800, presumably in Christian County.

Sometime in 1800 John and Margaret moved their family to the Natchez area in Adams County, Mississippi Territory. John Holladay disappears (presumably he died) in Adams County, Mississippi, in about 1800. The story of Margaret and her children will be told in a subsequent post.

A Few Words about Surname Spelling

As shown above, John Holladay’s name is spelled in several different ways in the early records. Beginning genealogists soon learn this is true of all surnames – often the same person’s name will be spelled two or three different ways in the same document. This is certainly true in the case of the Holladay/Holliday surname. The surname of John Holladay, subject of these notes, is most often spelled either Holladay or Holliday in the records. Other variations include Holaday, Holiday, Holloday, and others. This John’s brother Zacharias, my ancestor, preferred the Holladay spelling, and almost all of his descendants have retained that spelling to the present day. The surname of our subject John Holladay seems to be spelled Holliday more consistently in the few records this author has found covering the last part of his life. The name of John’s son Zachariah, who later married Delilah Anderson, is also spelled Holliday fairly consistently in the early records, and today his descendants are known by that surname.


2 Responses to “John Holladay (1755-1800)”

  1. Lauri (Holliday) Pierce Says:

    Thanks for all your efforts in tracking down the mysterious John Holliday/Holladay. Being a descendant of John who is just beginning her own genealogical journey, your blog has been an inspiration and great source of data.
    From all the “Holliday” clan, thanks again!

  2. John Holladay Says:

    This is interesting, I’m just beginning to research my family history and find it amazing. I do know that my father and grandfather (I’m the III) were from Mississippi.

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