John Holladay (1800-1843)

John Holladay (1800-1843)

John HOLLADAY, second child and eldest son of Zacharias and Catherine Anderson Holladay, was born in Green County, Kentucky in 1800.[1] He died in late 1842 or early 1843 in Adair County, Kentucky,[2] and is buried in the Holladay Cemetery.

In terms of family lore, John is the least-known, and in some ways the most interesting, of the four adult children of Zacharias and Kitty. Unlike his brothers, John did not become a farmer, but he does appear to have been a man of affairs in early Adair County. Very little information about him has been handed down to later generations of the Holladay family. One reason may be that John died at a fairly young age and his sons later joined their Creel and Reynolds cousins in the migration from Adair County to Carroll County, Missouri. This occurred in 1855, soon after the death of John’s wife, Mariah. They seem to have lost contact with their Adair County cousins, so little news of their branch of the family was passed on the other Adair County Holladays. Fortunately, a considerable amount of information about John is available in the public records of Adair County, and a great deal of information about his sons and the Creel and Reynolds families has been found in Carroll County, Missouri.

Even John’s birth order has been incorrect in previously published information on Zacharias’ family, which lists John as the third son, born in 1806. By analyzing Adair County tax records and U.S. census records, this author has shown that John was born between 2 June and 5 August 1800.[3] He was born at his father’s farm on Sulfur Creek in that part of Green County which in 1802 was split off to become Adair County. The town of Columbia was founded in that same year.

In early February of 1827 John married Mariah Creel, eldest child of Simeon and Matilda Waggener Creel. She was born on 27 January 1807 in Adair County. John and Mariah’s marriage bond was made on 9 February 1827 by John Holladay and Simeon Creel.[4] The Creels and Waggeners were both prominent families in early Columbia, and it is likely that John also had some sort of business relationship with Simeon.

In the 1830 census John and family are shown as living on property adjacent to Simeon and his family. Simeon Creel was also the census taker for that area of Adair County. At the end of December, 1832, Simeon died leaving ten children age 20 and under. In his will, made on 10 December 1832, Simeon names John Holladay as one of his executors. John subsequently relinquished his right of execution, but later in 1833 the Adair County court appointed him guardian to Sarah Ann (then age 20), Ermine (18), Elsey (13), Henry C. (7), and Rosannah (4) Creel, “infant orphans of Simeon Creel deceased.” One of the securetors for the guardian bond was Samuel Morris. In 1834 Morris petitioned the court to release him from this obligation, and a new bond in the sum of $3,000 was executed with Allen D. Patterson, Zachariah Holladay, and William Holladay as securetors.

It is not known when Simeon Creel’s widow Matilda died. Ermine Creel married Joseph Sallee Reynolds in 1835. Sarah Ann Creel married sometime during the same period, but this author has conflicting information about her marriage which must be resolved.

John Holladay died some time in 1842/43, leaving no will. His daughter Elizabeth married James Henry Reynolds on 3 October of 1844; their marriage bond was made on 2 October by James H. Reynolds and Elizabeth’s uncle, William Holladay. Elizabeth was then only 16 years of age, and her mother Mariah certified her consent on 30 September in a statement also signed by Joseph and William Holladay in which Mariah states, “She has no other guardian but myself.”

John’s sudden death left Mariah with the task of raising their four children along with the three Creel children still under John’s guardianship. Her daughter Elizabeth would have been about 15, and the three Creel children were all teenagers. Their elder brother Elzy Creel, then 23, may have moved back into the household at about that time to help. The 1850 Census shows Mariah’s household included: Mariah Holoday (age 42), Sarah A. Holoday (14), Zachariah Holoday (17), Farmer, John W. Holoday (12), Elzy Creel (30), Farmer, R. M. Waggener (27) and Rosannah Waggener (21)

Mariah died in 1853/54[5] and is buried beside her husband in the Holladay Cemetery. In 1855 Elzy Creel, Zachariah Holladay and his brother John W., moved to Carroll County Missouri.

Children of John HOLLADAY and Mariah CREEL:

1.  Elizabeth HOLLADAY (born 1 Jun 1828). Elizabeth Holladay married James Henry Reynolds, son of Henry Reynolds and Nancy Ann Sallee, on 3 October 1844. They had twelve children. After James H. Reynolds death in 1893, Elizabeth moved to Carroll County, Missouri, to be with her many children and family who were by then living there. She died in Carroll County on 24 October 1901 and is buried there.

2.  Simeon HOLLADAY was born about 1830 in Adair County, Kentucky, and died on 6 December 1831. He appears as a male under age 5 in the 1830 census. His name and death date are given in a letter from John Holladay to his uncle, John B. Miller, then living in Tennessee. John B. Miller was married to Kitty Anderson’s sister, Susanna.

3. Zachariah HOLLADAY (born 11 Dec 1833). Zachariah Holladay moved to Carroll County, Missouri, in 1855. In 1856/58 he married Elizabeth A. Emmons. They had five children. During the Civil War Zachariah enlisted in the Union Army and served in the 23rd Missouri. After the war he moved his family to the Indian Nation (now Oklahoma) and later to Texas. He died on 5 November, 1906, in Wills Point, Van Zandt County, Texas.

4.  Sarah A HOLLADAY was born about 1836.  Nothing is known about Sarah after her listing in the 1850 census.

5. John Waller HOLLADAY (born 12 May 1840). John Waller Holladay moved to Carroll County, Missouri, in 1855. He married Helen Darr Creel on 8 July 1865, and they had four children. During the Civil War John Holladay enlisted in the Confederate Army and served in the 3rd Missouri Infantry. He died in Wakenda, Carroll County, Missouri, on 3 May 1917 and is buried in Big Creek Cemetery in that county.

Prepared by Jay A. Holladay, P.O. Box 815, La Canada, CA  91012    e-mail:   Last update 10 January 2009.


[1] This date is based on U.S. census records and Adair County tax records; see note 3, below.

[2] Adair County, Kentucky, Tax Books, 1824-1844. FHL microfilm 7852. In 1842 John is listed on p. 18 (second listing) as John Holiday and paid taxes on 70 acres on Russell Creek. He does not appear in the 1843 tax book but Mariah appears on p. 10 as head of the household, paying taxes on 40 acres on Sulpher Fork, a tributary of Russell Creek.

[3] John’s birth date can be determined fairly closely from his listings in the U.S. census records and Adair County tax records. In the 1810 census (census day 6 August) he is listed as age 10-16 and in the 1820 census (7 August) he is listed as age 20-29. In each case there is only one male in that age range. That this  is indeed John is proven by the tax records which show only one male over 21 (Zacharias) in 1821 and previous years, and lists John Holliday in 1822 and subsequent years. Beginning in 1830 the census day was moved back to 1 June and this date was used for many decades. By 1830 John is a head of household and is listed as age 20-29, indicating he had not yet reached his 30th birthday, and in 1840 he is listed as age 30-39. Thus the evidence is consistent and rather conclusive that he was born between 2 June and 5 August of 1800.

[4] Adair County, Kentucky, Marriage Bonds, County Clerk’s Office, Columbia. Photocopies of originals in notebook, “Adair County Marriage Bonds”, compiled by Margie Coffey, at Adair County Public Library, Columbia. The Holladay-Creel marriage bond is dated 9 February 1827 and names John Holladay and Simeon Creel as sureties.

[5] Adair County, Kentucky Tax Books, 1845-1858. FHL microfilm 7853. Mariah appears in the taxpayer lists for 1852 on p. 19 and 1853 on p. 18, but not for 1854 or 1855.


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